Have you ever prayed to hear God’s voice? Have you been stuck, uncertain of your next moves and you need the Lord to speak to you? I have. I go and pour my heart out asking the Lord to provide clarity. However, when He gives me an answer I don’t want, I go back with the same prayer request, “Oh God please let me hear your voice!” But what I am really saying is, “God I heard what you said but I don’t like that response. I don’t want to do it! Can you please come up with some other alternative?” He is God and I am not. Even though I don’t always like what I hear when He speaks to me, it is always in my best interest to respond in obedience. Deuteronomy 28 lists all the blessing that follow when Israel obeyed God’s instructions. We love to shout about those promises, ‘blessed going out blessed coming in!’ But before you get to shouting, don’t forget to read that passage in its entirety. The latter verses share the consequences of disobeying God. This passage reminds us that God does provide direction for His people and tell them what He expects of them. However, the ability to hear His voice demands a response of obedience from the hearer.
God speaks to us in many ways. It may be in a dream, from His word, through another believer, or just a strong inner knowing, among many other ways. Don’t take for granted that the creator of the universe speaks to you! Even if it is not what you want to hear, you know He won’t lead you in the wrong direction. As we prepare to enter a new year, do you find yourself with unfinished God tasks? You know, the things the Lord told you to do when you asked to hear His voice. The things you did not want to do. Yeah, those things. The start of a New Year does not mean that God will change His mind. I encourage you to not only pray to hear God’s voice but to also pray for a heart to obey when He does speak even if it is not what YOU WANT TO DO. His grace is there to attend you!
Many of us pray to be more like Jesus. We pray to be perfected and to be patient. We pray to have hearts of humility and obedience. These types of prayers sound wonderful but do we really understand the implications of what we are praying? Have we thought about the reality that trouble and not comfort is often what brings an answer to these requests?
Perfection and patience doesn’t come from a steady stream of comfort but more from various trials that come our way. Read James 1:2-5 for a good dose of this truth. And for obedience, the scriptures tell us in Hebrews 5:8 that “even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things he suffered.” Yikes! You want to be humble you say? Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus was humble because He gave up His rights and left His place of comfort in heaven. He became a servant and took on punishment He didn’t deserve by dying on the cross for our sins. He didn’t die a dignified death. Instead, He died a criminal’s death on the cross.
We should pray to be like Jesus. As believers, this type of prayer is very much in order. However, be sure that when the trials come you don’t complain but instead begin to rejoice, knowing your prayers are being answered!
Last night in corporate prayer, I witnessed something that brought me to tears. I heard the prayers of someone who had experienced deep pain intercede on behalf of another who was going through something similar. I cried because her past pain allowed her to intercede from a place of love. In that moment I realized that her pain was not wasted, it was being redeemed.
Jesus is the greatest example of an intercessor. The pain He experienced on the cross was a form of intercession for me and you. His death purchased my redemption. My salvation proves that His pain was not wasted. His intercession for me did not stop at the cross because the scripture tells me that He is now sitting at the right hand of the father making intercession on my behalf.
We all have stories of difficulties we have had to endure. THose stories can either leave us bitter (wasting our pain) or push us to another level of intimacy with God and making us powerful intercessors (redeemed pain). I leave you with the following questions; what are you doing with the pain you have endured? Are you wasting it or allowing the Lord to redeem it through your prayers of intercession for others.
I pray and then what? Do I doubt or do I wait in expectation for God to answer me, for Him to speak to my heart? (Psalm 5:3). Prayer is the easy part, but waiting with expectation, well that can prove to be a challenge.
I expect from those I trust. If I am worrying instead of expecting after I pray then there is a trust issue going on and I have some backtracking to do in prayer. The first petition should then be to have a heart to fully trust God. How do I get to this place of trust and expectancy? It begins with a knowledge, appreciation and acceptance of the love God has for me. Romans 5:8 says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” That’s extreme love and anyone willing to die for a wretch like me is worthy of my love and my trust. I am afraid that the term “Jesus loves me” has been reduced to just a simple song and not an extravagant life changing truth. When I really get this, I can pray with boldness and wait with expectation for my loving trustworthy God to speak to my heart and show up. Reflect on the following questions and use the answers to direct your prayers.
I think about the woman with the issue of blood in Luke 8: 43-48. She bled constantly for 12 years and could find no cure. But when she pressed through the crowd and touched the hem of Jesus’ robe, she was instantly healed. The same is true for us when we press to meet Jesus in prayer.
Prayer is a press, but it’s necessary. It’s my lifeline. I continue to be amazed at what God does as a result of prayer. I can’t allow life and the crowd to keep me away from praying. I must press.
Read my thoughts below and reflect on the following questions: “Have you been pressing to touch Jesus? Have you made prayer a priority? Are you desperate enough to press to prayer? I also encourage you to visit my youtube channel to view my series on how to pray.
PRESS TO PRAY
I show up to pray
And you are already there
You were there waiting for me
I am in awe that when I press to get into your presence
You meet me
And you tell me like you told her
Your faith has made you well
But to touch you, to see you
I have to press through the crowd
The crowd of my circumstances
The crowd of my own thoughts
The crowd of my pain
The crowd of the internet
Crowds can distract and discourage me and make me believe that the press is not worth it
But I see my need for healing on so many levels
I see that I will always NEED you
I can spend my resources on things that guarantee that they will fix me
But these temporal things can’t stop the steady flow of my issues
The pain doesn’t go away
But when I press
I touch you
And in an instant I am healed
I feel the weight lift in your presence
I see my faith affirmed in your presence
I see curses broken in your presence
I see miracles performed in your presence
I see me being transformed in your presence
So while the crowd will always be there
I will continue to press to meet and touch you
I WILL PRESS TO PRAY
We pray. Then we wait. And wait. And wait. We become impatient. Then we come up with the clever idea that God needs our help so we create a plan to answer our own prayers! Ever been there? Confession: I have, more times that I would like to admit. Thankfully I am becoming a little wiser and learning that waiting on God is worth it.
Are you still waiting on God to answer your prayers? What are some things you have done to help you as you wait?