Recently I bought a new car, a 2008 Maroon Ford Escape. I’m sure this has happened to you too, but after I purchased the Escape I see other cars exactly like mine everywhere!
I never noticed maroon Ford Escapes before mine, but now I can’t not see them. I’m not crazy, it’s neuroscience, it’s called “The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon” coined by Alan Bellows.
In a weird way, I think Faith works a lot like that. Let me explain. Every day, I don’t see a thousand blessings and answered prayers in my life. Like the fact that my legs or eyes function, or the fact that I can breathe because of photosynthesis. I don’t recognize all the answered prayer in my life because after God answered them, I moved on to other prayers. When I look at my wife, I forget she’s an answer to a prayer my mom and dad prayed. When my baby poops in another diaper, I forget I asked God to give me a healthy child, and healthy children poop.
But once you see an answered prayer you start seeing them everywhere. You can’t not see them.
I pulled out my journal from 2015 the other day and found a list of prayers I wrote down on August 9, 2015. There were 16 prayers written down, and I knew God had answered some of them, but I had forgotten some of the prayers I had prayed. I took a highlighter and highlighted every prayer God had answered. To my surprise 13 of the 16 prayers had been answered, and the other 3 are still a possibility.
A pair of psychologists conducted an interesting study a decade ago. They asked volunteers to wear a helmet that allowed researchers to analyze brain activity while the volunteer won and lost during a computer-simulated wagering game. With each wager, the frontal cortex of the brain showed increased electrical activity within milliseconds, but what surprised the researchers was there was much greater brain activity after a loss than after a win. They came to the simple but profound conclusion: losses are more memorable than wins.
If you had asked me what percentage of prayers God answered in my life, I would have said maybe 30-40%. I only remember the big prayers, and I especially remember the prayers that aren’t answered, the prayers that feel like a loss, but on Aug 9, 2015, God answered over 80% of the prayers I prayed, and counting. Looking at my journal reminded me of something, God answers more prayers than I give Him credit for. I’m almost positive your APP (answered prayer percentage), ok I just made that up, but it sounds like a great fantasy football stat, is higher than you think it is.
My grandfather used to say, “if you want to double your money just fold it in half and put in back in your pocket.” Let me steal the premise. If you want God to answer more prayers take better notes. He already is, you just don’t realize it.