by Juvy Lou Tamanal
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people…” 1 Timothy 2:1
It was a fine spring day, my first-day class with the middle school students. When I entered the classroom, the students quickly halted their conversations. With a big smile pasted on my face, I greeted them enthusiastically. I asked them to bow their heads, when a girl named ‘Catherine’ defiantly said in class, “I don’t pray and I don’t want to pray.”
Shocked by her words, I immediately asked her to close her eyes, and that she needed not to really pray. “JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES!” Those were the words I struggled to say while I was still contemplating on what to do next. After I offered my prayer to God, I decided to ask each student about their beliefs. Most of them answered, “I don’t believe in God.” “There’s no God.” “We are descendants of apes.” “I only believe in myself…” Dumbfounded by these young souls’ view of our beloved Creator, it was difficult for me to sleep that very night. I was troubled! I grew up as a Christian. I was raised to obey and love God. “How come they don’t believe in God?” I asked myself. Feeling restless that night, I hit my sack with a heavy heart.
Did God see what happened that day in my class? Was He upset by this young people’s defiance against HIM? Ah, my mind was clouded with questions. All I could think was to ask God’s intervention.
Still searching and waiting for something to happen, I found a book that was so inspiring. I felt blessed by this book which is all about the power of intercessory prayers. I decided to write each name of my students in a notebook. I had not done such a thing in my life. I just used to pray for myself, my family and those people who asked me to pray for them. Well, if the writer of that book believed in praying for others would bring miracles, then, it was the right time for me to give it a try.
Nightly, I prayed for each student. Sometimes, I would fall asleep while holding the notebook on which the names of the students were listed. I prayed for their families, their pursuit of English language learning, and that they would open their hearts to listen about God. I prayed that they would see the LIGHT!
I continued to say out loud the prayer before and after each class. Gradually, the students started to pray with me. I slowly brought up the topic of God’s love particularly the creation. At first, silence enveloped the four corners of the classroom. However, day by day, I could see how our loving God was leading these young people to know Him. They began to ask questions, and I patiently answered them.
I was happy with the vivid result that God had shown me. However, it was not that long for Catherine quit coming into my class. I was saddened by the sudden news that the very girl who had a special part of my prayers was gone. I erased her name from my list. After all, a new student had come.
One day, there was a knock at the door. When I opened it, Catherine was standing in front of me. It was almost a year since the last time I saw her. We hugged and smiled to each other. I was glad to hear that she had come to attend my class again. So, I was quite excited that I started to ask her a lot of things when she politely said, “Teacher, let us pray first.” I was speechless!
That night, my heart was filled with thanksgiving and praises to the Lord. He remembered Catherine! He remembered my prayer! Indeed, I learned that God remembers our prayers in the past, our prayers for tomorrow and our prayers even now.
Today, whenever I encounter some doubts and fears in my life, Catherine’s voice is like a sweet melody that keeps its tune helping me cling on Him and His promises. YES, THIS IS A PRAYER TO REMEMBER!
Heavenly Father, we’d like to thank you for always remembering our prayers, though there are times when we fail to recognize your will and love for us each day. Help us to never cease trusting and loving You. Amen.