I started to make a prayer note 15 years ago. At that my husband was working for an electronics manufacturer and attending church as a lay member. My daughter was in fifth grade and my son was in fourth grade. We were thinking about what to do about my daughter’s junior high school education. She had been in a large public elementary school with seven classes in each grade, and the public junior high school she was planning to attend was even larger, with 11 classes. There were some unfavorable rumors about the new school as well. I wondered if my daughter would be able to survive in this school. Would she be able to keep the Sabbath? Concern weighed heavily on my heart. I wanted to send my daughter to an Adventist church school. But I had to face the reality that with my mortgage, it was financially impossible to send my daughter to private school. That was when my “prayer note” started. The prayer read, “Dear Lord, please let my daughter be able to receive San-Iku (SDA Church School) education in junior high.”
Selected Messages described my feelings at that time: “We do not know of our future, so let us put our hand in Christ’s, and trust Him. This is the only safe passage in life.” If you really think about it, it was an impossible request, especially without any plan. But a miracle happened five months later, and my prayer was answered.
One day my husband said to me, “I think I want to become a minister. What do you think?” He claimed he heard a voice saying, “Become a minister.” At first I thought it was an illusion or maybe I was tired, but I also began to hear the voice on many occasions. When I heard that, it brought chills to my body. I loathed the word “minister.” I told my husband that I was not up to the challenge and that there was no way that I would be able to become a minister’s wife. I also told him that I was comfortable being the wife of a company worker and lay member. Most of all, what were we going to do about our daughter’s school and tuition?
My husband is the type who is adamant about his decisions. He asked me day after day, “Have you made a decision?” and put pressure on me. He would tell me that “God is asking us to serve, and if we do not, it is the same as denying God.” I understood, but I was filled with worry and needed assurance from God. Every day after my husband and kids had left for the day, I prayed, “Dear Lord, show me the way. Is it your will for my husband to become a minister?” A week later, I began to hear God’s voice saying, “I will bless you, and this is for you.” I also felt the warm hand of God moving me forward. I realized that there was nothing to worry about—I was free! And I could follow my husband to fulfill God’s will. The Bible tells us “to rely on the power of God. If we do so, there will be peace in our heart.”
Now the preparation for seminary began. My husband passed the entrance examination, although he barely made the application deadline. Then we moved to San-Iku College, and life on campus began.
I wrote many “prayer notes” during this preparation period. “Please help my husband to resign from his company without any trouble. Please help my non-Christian parents to understand our decision. Please help us sell our condominium quickly and at a high price to help our budget.” Everything worked out with God’s blessing.
My husband started seminary at the age of 35. My children were able to attend an Adventist school. As I look back 15 years later, I am filled with thanks and happiness. My children have been able to receive San-Iku education through all levels of their education. We have been able to come up with money and to pay the tuition without delay throughout the academic year. Now I can truly understand what the minister used to tell me: “Mineko, a minister’s family seems poor, but we are blessed and wealthy with Christ.” I also remember God telling me that it was for me, when my husband became a minister.
My prayer notes have addressed many issues: personal requests, the church, my children’s education, college choices, marriage and so on. I used to write everything in one notebook, but I decided to separate my prayers into four notebooks. They were titled “For Myself and My Husband,” “For My Church and Its Members,” “For My Daughter,” and “For My Son.” It is easier to look back now since my lists have been organized.
My prayer notebooks contain many simple requests about family, church, and whatever else comes to mind. I have been writing to Christ, talking to Him just like a little girl who wants to tell her mother everything. Small prayer or big prayer, I tell Him everything. As I do, I can feel my heart is lighter. And when my prayer was answered, I use a red pen to write down details of how the prayer was answered. My prayer note books are filled with prayers and answers, and I can relive the moments later on.
My prayers are like little dirty pebbles in the sand, but Christ polishes the pebbles one by one and returns them to my hand. That is why these notes are our family treasures. These notebooks show me why we should take everything to Christ; they strengthen my faith in God. They remind me to follow Christ in every situation.
Here are some lessons I have learned from my prayer notes:
- Writing in the notebook is a prayer in itself and helps me concentrate more than if the prayer was spoken.
- It helps me to remember what and how I prayed.
- I can look back and see how my prayers were answered.
- I can see how I have grown in Christ.
- It makes praying fun and strengthens my relationship with Christ.
In the beginning, my prayers were demanding, selfish prayers, but I can see that God answered even these prayers. I believe that God is happy with my method and blesses my prayer and my notebooks. I know now that God is waiting for my prayer. I have learned the steps of prayer. I start with demand and move on to repentance, asking for His will to be done, and then include a prayer of thanks. I am learning the prayer that God wants us to pray.
Here are some hints on how to write prayer notes:
- Put dates before your prayers.
- Include details, but write freely and ask for an answer that you can understand.
- Leave some space on the bottom of your prayer so you can note how your prayer was answered.
- When your prayer is answered, use a red pen to write the details. Then write a word of thanks and praise to God.
Our hearts will always be filled with worries and sorrows. Take everything to Christ. God is always there to listen to you and your prayers.
Proverbs 16:9 says, “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” I pray that you will prosper through prayer and become closer to Christ.