To recap, we were discussing how much our loving Creator loves to communicate with us, not just listen to our hurried prayers (our “to-do” lists). We were getting ready to have our special time with Him in Part I, and now as we are remembering who God really is, and how much He loves us, we continue.
As you are beginning to think about God and remembering when you first met Him, talk to Him about what you are feeling. Talk to Him about how grateful you are that He saved your life. That Jesus died for your sins though He did no wrong. Tell God how you are grateful because of all that He has done in your life. Remember all the bad times He brought you through and all the prayers that He’s already answered. And, if He has not answered any (yet), thank Him that He is taking the time to listen to you today. Express your confidence and faith in God. Tell Him how you know that He is capable of solving any problem you might bring His way; that you know that He is God, alone, and though your problems seem so big to you, remind yourself that they are just tiny specks in the huge kaleidoscope of this thing we call life. And, remind yourself that since He created the heavens and the earth and all that is within these two realms, you know that He can easily remedy your little situation. Remind yourself of how big He is and how small your problems are compared to His Greatness. Tell Him again how grateful you are that He is going to provide an answer to in response to your prayers.
Ask For Forgiveness
As you praise God, you will begin to be reminded of your own unworthiness. And it’s okay, because we are all unworthy. It is simply impossible to be in the presence of such a Holy God and not think of every word, conversation or deed in where you said or did the wrong thing. It is impossible not to remember the times when you disobeyed God or clearly did things you knew He would not approve of. Reflect (momentarily) and then repent of all those things. Try to be detailed in your recount to God and offer Him complete access to your heart to clear up any wrongdoings on your part. It’s very important at this point that you do not try to hide or minimize your sins to God. He knows all you that you have done – He just requires that you admit to those things to Him so that you can understand the significance of what you’ve done. Ask Him to forgive you for all that you remember and for all the things that you cannot. Accept His open-handed forgiveness of your sins and let those issues go!
Tell Him Your Problems
Now you are ready to share your problems, issues or concerns with God. You have prepared your heart and your mind, you have been cleansed of your sins and can boldly approach the throne of grace. You can feel confident at this point, knowing that He will hear you and that He will answer your prayers. So, talk to Him. Tell Him about everything that’s on your mind. Yes, He already knows about it all, but it helps you to get it all clear in your mind. Take as long as you need to tell Him your story, to talk about who did what, what was said and why you have a problem with it. Clearly ask Him for what you would like to have happen in this situation, but always with the provision that you are more than willing to let His will override yours. Say something like, ‘God, I would like to get that promotion, but if it is not Your will, then I accept that I will not get it.’ And remind yourself at this point that everything God does is for a reason (even if we don’t understand why) and, if He says no, there is a reason for that as well! You have to remember that He sees so much more and so much further than we ever could. So, if He says yes, no, maybe, maybe later, or never, accept it! Know that He only does things for our good and faithfully accept His decision as such. And then thank Him again for listening to your prayer.
This is the most overlooked part of prayer. Listening to God. We talk and talk and talk and talk and never take the time to listen to what He has to say. How should you listen to God? You stop talking. You stop talking, you wrap your prayers up, you thank Him and then you stop everything else. Sit tight, because this is where it sometimes gets tough.
Now, you listen! And you wait. And you hope that this is the time He chooses to respond. And, in your waiting, you think positive thoughts and remain in good spirits. Don’t try to think about too much, just maintain an internal silence into which He can speak. Hum a little if you want, think a bit about what He has done, but, mostly – wait. And in your waiting, know one thing with confidence – God will answer, though it may not be when you expect it to be.
Wait at least 10 minutes for God to respond. And, if you wait and wait and wait and still don’t ‘hear’ anything – don’t lose hope! Worship Him and Praise Him as outlined in the last two steps and come back later to try again. And, if that doesn’t work, come back later and try again. And, if that doesn’t work, well you get the point, right? Keep trying until you ‘hear’ from God.
And how do we ‘hear’ from God? God communicates to us in many different ways in one-on-one prayer. He will sometimes put a thought into your head. He sometimes places a song within your spirit. He will sometimes give you a scripture that will send you straight to the bible to dig out its deeper meaning.
He sometimes gives you a vision or a sudden picture of something or someone in your mind. It’s very important that you take away exactly what He says or exactly what is in that scripture, picture or vision – don’t add or take away anything. Many times people ask, does God speak in an audible voice? Scripture tells us that this very rarely happens, but don’t let that discourage you. God did and does indeed speak, but it may not be the way you expect it to be. So be open to however He chooses to ‘speak’ to you.
After God has responded to your prayer, take time to reflect on what He has said or shown you. Be sure that it was God. How can you be sure that it is God? There are a few good clues. Know that God will never contradict anything that’s in His Word, so you need to have a good working knowledge of the Bible.
He also will not tell you things designed to tear you down or make you feel worse about yourself, without any directions about how to improve or do better. God is a God of comfort, love and peace. He will not say anything that contradicts these characteristics. If He tells you that you need to work on some things, He will also tell you that He will be there to support you in your efforts. Rest assured – He will never leave you alone with your problems. At times, you might receive news that is not so good, but even with this news, He offers comfort – Himself. He has promised you that the Holy Spirit will provide you with comfort in your time of need to lead, guide and to teach you.
It’s also good to reflect because it cements in your mind what God has just told you or shared with you. You don’t want to forget or misplace one single word that comes out of the mouth of God or forget any insight that He has given you Lastly, thank Him for sharing His wisdom and time with you and accept whatever He has told you faithfully and with an obedient spirit.
Last, but not least, make sure you spend the last few minutes of your time with God in worship. What is worship? First of all, only a true believer can worship God. It says in the bible that you must worship God ‘in spirit and in truth’. Worship, then, is a spiritual exercise. Worship can best be described as an intimate communion with God. It can be wordless, it can be done in dance, it can be in song or it can be done with outstretched hands, with your fingers upward, palms facing God (indicating that you are magnifying God, not in the receiving mode). It is an adoration of God above and beyond your everyday, normal experience. It is a beautiful, uplifting experience that fill your spirit with enough of His love to face any problem you might be having.
You have thanked Him many times during this time or in these multiple times of prayer – but make sure you thank Him one last time. Thank Him for answering your prayer, for listening to your prayer, and for whatever else your heart leads you to thank Him for. He is worth it and it helps you to have an attitude of gratitude towards God.
So, in closing, remember: God is a communicator, not just one big ear. He wants to talk to you – to whisper into your spirit those private truths that will make a difference in your day.
Remember: He gave you two ears and one mouth, and while He loves to hear from you, He loves even more for you to want to hear from Him!
2009 April Lorier