When I go to the Dr. I share what is going on and after I am done sharing; I give him an opportunity to speak and give me advice on how to tackle the issue at hand. It would be silly if I just went, told him what was going on, and then got up and left his office before he gives feedback. We at times take this approach in our prayer life. We tell God all, but after we are done talking, we get up and leave. We don’t pause long enough to let Him respond. The point of bringing our issues to God is so He can give us direction. We should see prayer as a dialogue, not a one-sided conversation.
Whatever our issue, the Dr. normally prescribes something. If we are stressed, he may recommend that we get more rest. If there is an ailment in our body, he may prescribe a specific medication. The same is true for our time with God. He tells us what we should do to address our specific situation. He expects us to fill the prescription so to speak. If we choose not to, we cannot expect change. God gives us directives, but many times we don’t like what he prescribes so we walk in disobedience and pursue our own remedy. Then we lament about feeling spiritually stuck. When God speaks, it is always in our best interest to respond in obedience. He knows best.
Are you in the habit of listening to God in prayer or are you always the main one speaking? Is there something God told you to do that you have not followed through on? Has disobedience brought you any progress? I encourage you to continue to bring your issues to God in prayer but be sure you are not the only one speaking. Don’t become so obsessed with hearing your own voice that you drown out the voice of God. Make room for Him to speak and then respond in obedience to whatever He tells you to do.
I’m learning more about God. There are so many facets of His character that I didn’t understand, but the more I learn the more I want to know. I desire to go deeper in Him! I’m experiencing the tenderness of His heart, and I’m blown away because I didn’t know. I understand more. I see and feel it. This knowledge and first-hand experience compel me to weep and worship.
No keyboard in the background. No praise and worship team encouraging me to lift my hands. Just me and God kind of worship. I sing songs that have never been sung, they just flow from the deepest parts of my heart and they reflect my gratitude. Worship where I can “feel” His presence and I am undone!
I used to mourn over my problems and unanswered prayers; not anymore, because they are the tools that were used to give me a greater revelation! I am certain the answer will come, and the promises will be fulfilled-and quite frankly, I want them to. But I am content, truly content because I have attained even more. I now have greater intimacy with the one who has loved me with an everlasting love!
Psalm 27:4 NIV
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.
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.