The answer finally arrived. My husband, daughter, and I had been praying for the job she wanted -- a dream job that combined her skills, was located one mile from her home, and provided many opportunities for advancement. We asked (Matt. 7:7), we agreed (Matt. 18:19), we reminded God that his word does not return to him void (Jer.1:12). It seemed to take forever (in reality just a few weeks) but yesterday our daughter called to tell us the company had offered her THE JOB!
Of course, we said a silent prayer of thanks but I wanted to thank God properly, with special prayers and an offering of thanksgiving. There were examples in the Old Testament where offerings were brought when God answered prayers that were important to the people.
Building altars of remembrance seemed to be a popular way to commemorate answered prayers, but I couldn't get a handle on how that practice would translate into 21st Century America. Mary Magdalene poured out costly perfume on the feet of Jesus to show her love for what he had done for her, but Jesus is not physically present for me to do that today.
What would be appropriate, I asked myself and God. Certainly a gift of money to a ministry beyond our normal giving - a love offering - would show my gratitude. Yes, I decided. I would do that. And then the prayers of thanksgiving. What would they look like? How many times can you say "thanks" and in how many different ways?
I thought about the direction in scripture to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. This is close to God's heart, so if I honor God by praying for what he commands us to pray -- for the peace of his holy city -- would not that show my appreciation?
I did a little research online to find good resources with prayers for Jerusalem and the peace of Jerusalem. Mike Evans has a ministry devoted to helping and instructing people to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. I downloaded a free ebook. It began with this lovely prayer written by Israel's Chief Rabbi in 1948, which is prayed in synagogues the world over:
“Our Heavenly Father, Israel’s Rock and Redeemer, Bless the State of Israel, the first flowering of our redemption. Shield it under the wings of Your loving kindness And spread over it the Tabernacle of Your peace. Send Your light and truth to its leaders, ministers and officials, And direct them with good counsel before You. Strengthen the hands of the defenders of our Holy land; Grant them deliverance, our God, And crown them with the crown of victory. Grant peace in the land and everlasting joy to its inhabitants....Unite our hearts to love and revere Your name And observe all the words of Your Torah....Appear in Your glorious majesty over all the dwellers on earth, And let all who breathe declare: The Lord God of Israel is King And His kingship has dominion over all. Amen, Selah.”
Praying this prayer and others in the downloaded ebook filled me with joy. I came to bring prayers of thanksgiving to God for hearing and answering our prayer for our daughter, but left my prayer time with a sense of peace and well-being myself. But isn't that always the way God works? We come to bless him and he blesses us. Praise be to Him who gives us more that we could ever ask or think.