Archive for ‘Prayer’

May 8, 2011

In Due Time

My pastor gave an amazing sermon today. He preached on 1 Samuel 1 – where Hannah fasted and prayed for a child. She probably prayed a hundred prayers and implored God to move. I can identify with Hannah – I’m sure many of you can too. Do you ever feel like you pray a prayer a thousand times and when you say “amen” you wonder if you were even heard?

Well, He heard you. I promise you, He did.

1 Samuel 1:20 says, “and in due time she gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, for she said ‘I asked the Lord for him.’”

You see, God hears our prayers. He’s just waiting for the right time to reveal his plan.  

This past year I have personally wrestled through letting go of my plan and seeking the Lord’s direction with my life. For an entire year (if not more) I’ve wondered why every step I’ve tried to take has failed and have felt stuck.

Has this ever happened to you?

But what happens when He calls? Are you ready? When your number is drawn and you’re asked to fight, or assigned an unexpected challenge can you do it?

God has given me Joshua 1:9 as my battle cry.

Joshua 1:9 “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

We are commanded to have courage and to be strong. Whether we are waiting in our current circumstances and yearning to hear God’s voice or direction or if after a season of quiet, you are quickly given a challenge – we must rely on Him. He is with us always.

In due time He will reveal himself. We can trust that.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

May 2, 2011

Dear God, Are You There? It’s Me, Traci.

Ignored – much like this blog for the past month. That’s how I’ve felt. Surely I am not alone. I think each of us comes to a point (multiple times) in our faith walk where you feel like you’re at a crossroads. It may not be anything dramatic but there you stand clueless about where to go next or how to take one step forward.

If you’ve been there for any significant length of time you may begin to feel like living at the crossroads is normal. The danger in that is that we can forget to pray or seek the Lord. You “know” the right answers that God will come through and reveal in His timing but do you really believe it? Have you gone to Him and asked? How often do you and God have a heart-to-heart?

I was convicted when I read Isaiah 65.

“The Lord says, ‘I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name.’” Isaiah 65:1

“…For when I called, you did not answer. When I spoke, you did not listen. You deliberately sinned – before my very eyes – and chose to do what you know I despise.” Isaiah 65:12

How convicting! God wants to give us an answer. He may be waiting with clear directions but instead we forget to ask! How many times do we confide in friends and self-help books but forget to go the One with the plan? In our impatience, we run ahead and take matters into our own hands – often deliberately sinning in the process. We also then run a risk of damaging God’s perfect plan for us.

It is not easy to wait – but in the process, talk to the Lord. He is ready to respond. He’s anxiously awaiting your attention. Run to Him.

Image Source: Google Images

November 29, 2010

On Faithfulness, Glory, and God’s Character

God blesses faithfulness. How do we know this? Faithfulness brings God glory. It is in the very character of God to bring himself glory. It would go against his very nature if faithfulness were not honored. Don’t misinterpret me, dear reader. This does not meet we can expect God to honor our faithfulness by what our limited minds deem just and appropriate for our labor and toils. But we can expect God to show up in our lives. In fact, we can plan to be surprised by joy. God will give us joy in himself. He is enough.

It has been written that the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever. John Piper writes in Desiring God, “what could God give us to enjoy that would prove Him most loving? There is only one possible answer: Himself” (p. 47-48)! The joy of loving God fully brings glory to God. Our faithfulness and obedience to him are the fruit of a deep love and enjoyment in our Creator – lest they not be borne from legalism or perpetuated by a sense of duty to earn favor (contrary to Eph. 2:8-9).

We may not see the hand of God clearly or find ourselves waiting on him to enjoy his favor. Be encouraged to continue walking in faith, serving and loving God.  God is most glorified when we are satisfied in him. Remember that God works for those who wait for him. Faithfulness requires us to wait on God because in seeking and waiting for God’s help we give him the occasion to glorify Himself.

We have often stopped short of understanding the full extent of Jeremiah 29:11. To accurately appreciate this passage we must read a bit further. Jeremiah 29:12-13 reads, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (emphasis mine).”  The Lord will give us plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us a hope and a future but we must seek him will all our hearts. This should be read as a call to faithfulness to seek God and cry out to him. In doing so, He will be glorified and guide us to plans for our future (possible future blessing).

So take heart my friends, God will bless your faithfulness because it brings glory to Himself.

 

October 28, 2010

Confederate Prayers

I stumbled upon this prayer that is believed to be written by an unknown Confederate soldier during the Civil War.  I found beauty, strength, and wisdom in the soldier’s words.  Do you ever think back to some of the prayers you prayed and think, what was I thinking? Thank goodness that God is merciful in how He answers our prayers. Many times our prayers are misguided and misinformed. If we had all of the facts we would likely pray in a different manner.  A wise person I know frequently quotes, “God’s refusals are his mercies.” Praise God that he has a plan for our lives and desires the best for us – even when this means saying “no” to our misinformed prayers. God’s purposes for our lives are greater than our feeble minds can comprehend. It seems this Confederate soldier understood something of what it meant to pray one prayer and receive an answer he did not anticipate.

 

I asked for strength

That I might achieve;

I was made weak

That I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health

That I might do better things;

I was given infirmity

That I might do better things.

I asked for riches

That I might be happy;

I was given poverty

That I might be wise.

I asked for power

That I might have the praise of men;

I was given weakness

That I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things

That I might enjoy life;

I was given life

That I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I had asked for –

But everything that I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself,

My unspoken prayers were answered;

I am…most richly blessed.

 

September 22, 2010

Praying the Impossible

Lately, it seems the topic of prayer follows me where ever I go (so yes, this is another post on prayer). I don’t think I will ever fully grasp the power and extensive nature of prayer. Because I don’t fully comprehend prayer and because I am lazy, I often stop praying for things I determine are “impossible.” I know I am not alone in this.

But one day recently, I saw God move. It was a faint movement but it stirred hope. Could something I had prayed for 20 years really happen? Then I realized how long it had been since I prayed in a manner that confidently proclaimed God’s power to accomplish the impossible. This thought was humbling. Where was my faith?

Mark 6:1-6 reveals how Jesus was rejected in his hometown because the people did not have enough faith. Jesus could have easily performed many miracles among his own people but he couldn’t because of their unbelief. Our faith in Him is an essential component to allow God to accomplish miracles in our lives. In Matthew 17:19-20 we learn that faith, even as small as a mustard seed, is necessary in order for miracles to occur. This leads me to a terrifying thought. What is God not doing in my life because I do not have enough faith? Did I stop praying because I lost faith that my infinite God could accomplish the impossible?

What about you? Have you stopped praying for the impossible? What is God not doing in your life because you don’t have enough faith? Have you given up on that lost family member? Do you think your job won’t ever change?  Have you given up on the deep desires of your heart? Surely the God who performed miracles, walked on water and rose from the dead is able to accomplish what we mere humans deem impossible. Do not lose faith; keep praying.

September 7, 2010

Prayer Is Not A Traffic Light

I often think of this old children’s song I learned in Sunday school when I think about prayer. Strange perhaps, but it equated our prayers with a traffic light. Green meant God said yes, yellow meant we must wait and red of course meant no. The song went something like this:

Sometimes God answers yes when we pray.

Sometimes God answers wait when we pray.

Sometimes God answer no, just because He loves us so.

Sometimes God answers no when we pray.

The idea of immediate and clear answers to our prayers is an appealing thought but often not reality. Do not get me wrong, I believe there are many, many times in our lives when prayers are answered immediately and clearly. We often can point to a situation or concern and speak to how God worked in to make Himself and his will known.

But what of unanswered prayers? What of confusing situations where you thought the answer was a “yes” but then turned to a “wait” and then a “no?” What if the point of prayer is just so we lay down our requests to Him and surrender our will to ever know what God has in mind? Do we not trust that God has a good and perfect plan for us (Jer. 29:11-13)?

Beth Moore wrote about prayer in a study I did this past summer that made me think about our finite minds and God’s infinite wisdom:

“…He’s answered you above and beyond what you asked on some of the very requests you assumed He answered negatively. If time and opportunity have passed, we assume God said no. Sometimes we are right. Sometimes we’re wrong. Our finite minds simply cannot grasp God’s infinite ways of answering prayer. You have no idea how many times you’ve prayed and God’s answered affirmatively but is awaiting the proper time for its revelation.” Beth Moore, Stepping Up: A Journey Through The Psalms of Ascent

Our job in prayer is to be faithful to take our concerns, requests, and honest cries to Him. This is sweet surrender. It is difficult to relinquish control over situations that pain us or the desire for God to clue us in on His plans. Yet, I’ve come to understand that my job is just to pray. His job is to take care of the rest. Deuteronomy 29:29 confirms this in my heart.

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of the law.”

It is thrilling to think God has secrets. There is something about this that excites me. It’s a great mystery for Him to unfold in my life. While the secret things belong to Him alone, my responsibility is to continue to pray. Isaiah 62:6-7 says to “give the Lord no rest until he completes his work.”

Isaiah 62:6-7 “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your wall; they will pray day and night continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the LORD. Give the LORD no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.” (NLT)

If we are to fervently pray in a way that gives the Lord no rest until His work is done, this can only mean our task is to continue to pray and seek Him with every breath we take. I encourage you to join with me in surrendering our need to understand God’s will for us by providing clear answers to our prayers when we do not seem to find one.  Take no rest; continue praying to the One who has secrets to unveil in your life. May God take you on an amazing adventure where he will one day reveal secrets and shape your life in ways that you cannot even imagine because our minds are too finite to understand his infinite wisdom in how he responds to our prayers.

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