I love the answers I get when I teach Children’s Church. The younger kids usually blurt out “God!” or “Jesus!” because you have a pretty good chance of getting it right in church with those two answers, right? Well, the last time it was my Sunday to teach, I asked the question, “Does God forget?”. There were several guesses, but a ten-year-old boy answered, “Well, he’s God, so, He can forget if he wants to.”
I loved that answer! And he is exactly right. God’s knowledge encompasses eternity, but there are some things God chooses to forget. I will forgive their wickedness and I will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12. That must be one of the best verses that testifies to our forgetful God. He forgets our sins when we believe in his Son who was sent to the cross to forgive them.
But do you know what he chooses to never forget? Your prayers. If you are like me, you might pray about something diligently for a long time, but then the prayers come few and far between and then eventually cease altogether. Over time, I forget I even prayed it, but then the prayer gets answered and I am reminded of all the prayers I offered up in the past concerning a particular need. Or, my prayer doesn’t get answered and down the road it is revealed why it was not it my best interest that it went unanswered.
Not only does God remember our prayers, He holds on to them. Revelation 5:8 is a beautiful image I keep in my mind of where all those prayers are kept, never to be forgotten. Each of the twenty-four elders had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Isn’t that a lovely picture of where your prayers are stored forever?
If your prayer life feels like hot air lately, be reassured that God never forgets a prayer. One by one, they are filling up golden bowls in heaven that are testaments to God’s faithful people. Many times, people call upon “Prayer Warriors” to pray for a need in their life. We could change it up and begin to call upon “Bowl Fillers”… those saints responsible for filling up bowls in heaven!
Hebrews chapter five tells us that in Jesus’ lifetime he offered up many prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death. God heard him, but even though he was the Son of God, he learned obedience from what he suffered. It is difficult to accept when God does not answer our prayers. We know He hears us and cares for us and hurts when we hurt, but still some prayers go unanswered.
Jesus experienced the same difficulties in his prayer life. Many of his prayers were not answered. Aren’t you glad his prayer to be spared the cross was not answered? Let’s not forget that the unanswered prayers that often times bring about suffering may be near to Christ’s own unanswered prayers within the bowl Revelation speaks of. Though they may not be answered, they are never forgotten. Praise God He is forgetful when it comes to sin, but He can never forget a prayer!