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The day after my mother-in-law received a brand new heart, I was lying in bed, praying out loud (it helps me stay awake), “And please God, be with Mom. Give her peace as she waits. . .” 

It was not until that very minute that it hit me: I had not yet acknowledged, to God, the answered prayer. The show-stopping answered prayer. 

For the past four years, since the day my young and healthy mother-in-law suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, a type of heart attack, we had been praying. The damage to her heart was irreparable and severe. In fact, she’d need a new one to survive. 

And so we prayed, prayed, prayed. Some nights we thanked God she was alive and (mostly) well. Other nights we voiced our frustrations, our fears. Most nights we probably did a little of both. 

I guess it’s not surprising, then, that these words came out of my mouth no more than 24 hours after she came out of surgery, brand new heart beating inside her chest. When you pray some version of the same prayer for 1455 days, give or take, it happens. 

In the days that followed, I found myself outwardly praising God: I posted updates on Facebook, proclaimed God’s faithfulness in conversations with coworkers and friends, and blinked back tears as we sang songs in church. 

And I was praising God. For this reason it came as somewhat of a shock when, after a couple of weeks, I found this answered prayer dropping off in my conversations with God. Certainly I had rarely, if ever, forgotten to ASK God for help. And that was over a span of four years.

Upon closer inspection, I found something else uncomfortable: I’m really good at pointing out to God what needs to be fixed, what is being overlooked, or what I am waiting on. “Please, God. Please, God. Please, God.” 

What am I not so good at? Letting God’s mercies, big and small, permeate my own actual heart. 

I think, maybe, it will always be this way. And I think God already knows this about me, about us. Remember the Israelites, after all? 

But I want to do better. I want to give God's mercies, of which there are many, more staying power.

And so here is my new prayer: Dear God, please help me to grow in my awareness of the good and great things you are doing. And help them to stick. Amen.

“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Psalm 34:1 


So happy and thankful for your mother-in-law's new heart. Amen to your thoughts here! Thank you for this beautiful piece.

Praising God with you for your mother-in-law's new heart! What a wonderful blessing! You say it so well, Staci - we pray so long for answers and healing, and I, too, taper off the prayers of praise after the answers. With a relative waiting for a heart, my prayers also go out to the families who make the decisions to donate these hearts and other organs of their loved ones. God bless you all! 

Yes, we all need to be more grateful and remember when God grants our prayers.  But when it comes to praying, I find that writing my prayers works best.  I write them in a journal because that way I can go back and check the date of a prayer request and see if it's been granted or if anything has happened since.  Also, I find that I don't repeat myself so much and am less prone to have my mind wander off.  Of course, if you write you have to do it with your eyes open, but praying orally never worked well for me, so I stick to writing.  

Some years ago, we had a prayer meeting in church and my elder sitting next to me asked God for help with her prayer life.  She felt she needed more focus, so during a pause in the meeting I suggested she write her prayers, and when I asked her how that was going she said much better.  If you need to pray out loud to stay awake, maybe you should consider writing your prayers too.

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