Until a couple of weeks ago, I rarely, if ever, reminded God of anything. Why should I? It’s not exactly like He’s forgetful!
But I was reading Psalm 25 one afternoon and came across an interesting set of verses that used the word “remember” not once, not twice, but three times! Here they are:
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good (6-7).
Obviously the psalmist—David—would have known that God didn’t need reminding. Clearly, it was David himself who needed the reminding of God’s attributes and character. Still, I was intrigued.
I decided to apply that pattern to one of my frequent prayer requests—the needs of kids and young adults who have no fathers. I pray this request year round, but it’s especially important at Father’s Day, I think. My son is one of these young adults who has no father. His dad got sick when he was 8 and died when he was 19. Probably it’s because of his loss that I have compassion for and often am called to pray for other fatherless people as well—people who lost their dads through death or divorce and who feel deeply the effects of his absence.
The effects of losing one’s father vary from person to person. So when I pray for these children, teens, and young adults, I usually pray pretty specifically, for whatever wounds seem to be closest to the surface. But, because I was following the model of Psalm 25:6-7, I made my prayer much more general this time. It became less issue-focused and more God-focused. I prayed something like this:
Remember, God, that You are Father of the fatherless. You love the orphan and widow. You show compassion and kindness to them. You protect them.
Please do not remember any mistakes or bad choices these dear ones may have made either willfully or in the pain and confusion that comes from losing their fathers.
Instead, according to your faithfulness and mercy, remember them, for You are good.
It was interesting how this Remember-Don’t Remember-Remember prayer affected me. By focusing almost entirely on God and not on the troubles—sometimes huge troubles—of the people I pray for, I felt hopeful. My faith grew. My heart felt more peace.
That’s not to say that I won’t still pray specific prayers for these special people I’m called to intercede for. But from now on I want to remember to ask God to remember, too . . . because ultimately He knows far better how to care for them than I do. And it’s perfectly in character for Him to do just that!