I am often reminded that hearing God’s voice is not always convenient. I got up at 3:00 yesterday morning and it was not by choice. Initially, it was irritating because I was tired. As I laid in bed longing to go back to sleep, I began to quietly lift my heart to God and guess what? He spoke to me. I did not hear His audible voice, but in the stillness of the early morning, I had such a deep impression on my heart, and I knew it was God speaking. He provided clarity for a specific question I had been asking for many months in prayer. I was happy for the answer, but my flesh thought it came at an inconvenient time. Can you relate? Many of us pray to hear the voice of God, but we want to hear it on our terms and when we think it most appropriate. It doesn’t work like that. Hearing the voice of God is not always going to be convenient. His voice may come to convict when we are finding pleasure in doing wrong. His voice of conviction in that moment may be viewed as inconvenient because many would prefer to enjoy their sin and not have to think about how wrong it is. We may be in a season of comfort and established routine, and God’s voice comes to give us directives that disrupt our comfort. And again, our flesh may resist the inconvenience. Pray to hear God’s voice but be sure to not ignore it when it comes at a time that we deem disruptive to our flow of life. That approach can prove detrimental. It is prideful to expect God to submit to our schedule and convenience. We as the created beings should rejoice in knowing that God wants to speak to us. We must conclude that while hearing God’s voice may not always be convenient, when He speaks we should be thankful and respond in obedience, no matter how inconvenient it may seem.
The last few days have been very demanding, and I am exhausted. But my exhaustion is not an excuse to skip prayer. Times like theses are reminders that I should pray in all seasons and at all times. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to, “Never stop praying!” I should not base my consistency in prayer on my feelings but on the realization that I need to daily commune with God-even when I do not feel like it. My prayer may not “look” the same every day. Some days, I may not speak any words because I feel so overwhelmed and all I can do is sit in His presence and cry. While there are no words, I believe my willingness to bring my tears before God is a prayer He accepts. Some days I may just have to whisper my prayer and lift my heart to God because that is all I have the strength to do. Other days my prayer may take on a more demonstrative and robust form. Some days I may pray longer than others because my schedule allows for it and I feel God leading me in that direction. But it is not about how long and hard we can pray, but more about the sincerity of our hearts when we go before God. He understands the seasons and days we are in, and wants us to come to Him regardless of how we are feeling. It is easy for us to skip prayer because we feel like we cannot “perform” at the same level we did the previous day. These expectations are self imposed and not from God. If we have fallen into this trap, I pray we will get the revelation that prayer is not a performance but more about daily pursuing intimacy with our heavenly Father-regardless of the day we are having.
My heart is heavy God. My heart aches for my black brothers and sisters who have allowed their pain to make them take their eyes off you. My heart aches for my black brothers and sisters who have become convinced that this praying thing is not enough. My heart aches for my black brothers and sisters who are choosing to stray from you because of the oppression of black people. They have loss sight of the bigger narrative. God, I don’t know how to fully convey what’s in my heart, but this burden is overwhelming. We are allowing anger and bitterness to overtake us. Some of us have exalted our blackness above our God! Father I know it must hurt your heart to see how in this pain we are doubting your love for us, we have forgotten that you sent your son to die for our brown skins too. We have allowed our anger to cause us to tune our ears to the lies of the enemy and fight a spiritual battle with carnal weapons.
Teach us God to guard our hearts. Help us understand that choosing to repeatedly forgive the ongoing offense of racism doesn’t make us lose our black card, it just helps us to maintain our kingdom citizenship. Help us understand that our willingness to guard our hearts against roots of bitterness and refusing to sit and stew in the offense doesn’t mean we are excusing the sin of racism it just means we are more interested in imitating Christ and His humility and His willingness to forgive. God help us realize that you see the injustices. You have not turned a blind eye to our pain, and that we should run to you and not to those in the world who look like us for comfort and strategy! God let us mature and not use our pain as an excuse to remain in a place of immaturity and respond to racism in our flesh. Help us remember that this is a perfect opportunity to let our lights shine beyond our pain so you can be glorified in our response and racist souls be drawn to you through our actions. Help us remember that despite our pain, we still have a responsibility to carry out the ministry of reconciliation-your way! God, let us remember what is at stake. Let us remember that this world is not our home. Let us live with eternity in mind. Help us realize that as your children you are calling us to a higher plane.
In Jesus’ name, I pray amen.
Many of us know to pray. But many times, we run to prayer because we want God to change our situations and not our hearts. What good would it be if God answers our prayers for deliverance from bad situations but we remain in a place of rebellion and we have not surrendered to Him? God is merciful and He sometimes answers the prayers of those who are not serving Him. The scenario with King Ahab in1 Kings is a great example. The scripture lets us know that King Ahab was a wicked king and the last straw was when he had his hands dirtied in shedding the blood of an innocent man. In 1 Kings 21: 21-22, God used the prophet Elijah to let Ahab know that he would cut off his descendants because he had done so much evil in the sight of the Lord. When Ahab heard this, he humbled himself in fasting and prayer and asked God to have mercy. God heard the prayers of this wicked king and told him that the cutting off of his descendants would not happen in his lifetime. Ahab, however, ended up dying a very horrific death. The sad part of this story is that Ahab did not have a change of heart. His repentance was an external one. He prayed because he wanted his situation to change, not because he wanted to surrender to God. How tragic!
Should you come to God in prayer? Absolutely, He invites us to cast all of our cares on Him. However, above all, God desires our surrendered hearts. We should not restrict praying to only when we are in a bind, yet we remain distant from God. He does not want us to view him as a genie and come to Him only for what He can give us. Instead, He is a loving Father who desires intimacy and total surrender from his children. So yes, absolutely come to God in prayer, but make sure at the top of your request is the prayer for a surrendered heart.
Hello there! I am so excited to share that I just published my second book, “The Prayer Habit.” It is another 40 day devotional with a focus on prayer. This book was a special one for me to write because I dedicated it to my 92-year-old grandmother. I have watched her over the years and her life testifies of the fruit that comes from having a prayer habit. Click on this video to get a small sample of this humble woman of God.
If you would like a copy of this book, you can click on this amazon link. I would also appreciate it if you shared the link with others. Please and thank you!
In Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream. He asked his wise men to both tell him his dream and provide an interpretation. The wise men thought this an impossible request. No one, they stated can tell a person their dream, except for the gods and they do not live among humans. The King was furious and ordered that all the wise men in Babylon be destroyed. Daniel, a servant of the true and living God heard the news. He asked the King for more time to get a revelation of the dream. Daniel went home and asked his three friends to pray and ask God for mercy and reveal the mystery to them. That night, in a vision, God revealed the dream to Daniel. Daniel could then tell the king both the dream and its meaning.
This is a powerful passage of scripture because it reminds me that prayer reveals mysteries. How many times do we find ourselves at a loss and we are not sure which direction to turn? Life can be complex and present many “mysteries.” We may have questions such as, “what should I do in this situation, who should I marry, is this job for me, what should I be doing in this season of my life, what is my purpose?” Prayer to the true and living God unveils the unknown and gives clarity. The question then is, how many of us consistently use this powerful weapon known as prayer? Do we go to God like Daniel and his friends when we need an answer? How many of us remain stubborn and try to fix and figure things out on our own? Are we quick to run to everyone else to give us the answers instead of running to God? God knows all, and He has an open-door policy. We can come to Him anytime, and anywhere. What a privilege that is!