Saturday, August 18, 2018

Day 6: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God

If you're just joining us on the journey, "Welcome!" I'm so glad you're here, and I'm praying that God will speak to you like never before while on this 14-Day walk with Him.

For the next few installments, we will be talking about ways to hear from God. I want to provide you  as much practicality as I can to show you how to tune your ear to His voice. We've learned that we hear from God through...
  1. spoken (taught) word from preachers and teachers of the Word / church
  2. reading and studying God's Word
  3. talking to God and quieting ourselves to let Him talk to us (prayer)
  4. convictions (the tugging at our hearts, the push and pull in our spirits)
  5. fellowship with other believers
  6. warning and foresight, spoken directly to our spirits 

Today's focus will be talking to God and quieting ourselves to let Him talk to us.
This is PRAYER.



In yesterday's post, I shared a couple devotionals that I use in my quiet time. When I shared Drawing Close to God: 365 Days of Daily Devotionals & Prayer by my sister-friend, Nicole Atkinson, immediately, God told me to ask her to be our special guest blogger today to talk about prayer. I didn't hesitate! My sister prays! And I know her. I know she sits before the Lord. I know He speaks to her and through her. And I trust her to hear from Him to share with us today.

Help me welcome Nicole!

My, my, my! I could say so much about prayer because I just love it so! Our big brother Jesus tells us “my temple will be called a house of prayer” (Mark 11:17). We are the temple of God. Therefore, we should be a house of prayer, meaning prayer should be a natural part of our daily routine. I often say prayer is the gateway to heaven.  It gives us direct access to God. We have to think about the original intent God had for mankind. When God thought to create the earth and place humans in the earth, He did it in a manner where we would have open access to Him. Just like with any human relationship, without communication there is no relationship.

The very first thing God taught me to do as a young Christian was to PRAY. He literally would tell me to turn off the radio every time I was in the car and He would say, “Open your mouth and speak to me.” Of course, I obeyed, and what a benefit it has been even until this day.

Prayer is a gift from God.

Just think about it like this: God knows every day of our lives before any of them appear. He has predestined us for greatness. How, then, are we supposed to know what is on the heart of God if we don’t commune with Him? I'm so happy you asked. The bible commands that we pray. My pastor says all the time, "God is not going to waste His time in telling us to do something that is not beneficial." (God doesn’t waste time).

There are benefits in prayer, like I stated before. God isolated me and literally taught me how to pray. There is something special about getting quiet before God. You’re going to have to set aside time to just sit and talk with God.


SILENCE is key.

I know, I know... We are all busy, but as the saying goes, “We make time for what we want.” So ask yourself, "Do I want what God has for me, which yields kingdom purpose, or do I want what my flesh wants, which yields vain things?" Prayer will have to become a choice that you make on a daily basis. I believe you want to know how to pray and to pray effectively, hence the journey you are taking to hear from God.

To begin your journey in hearing more clearly from God through prayer is to follow the example Jesus gave in the Bible. 


Did you know that Jesus' disciples asked Him many questions but they only asked Him to teach them one thing, and that was how to PRAY?

I believe they saw the power associated with prayer and wanted to be like Jesus, and so they asked. When Jesus walked the earth He prayed at times for 40 days straight, all night and in seclusion.  (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 6:12; Luke 5:16).

When Jesus would come out of prayer, miracles would take place. He stated, Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19). Jesus was so focused on kingdom business, and He knew apart from talking to God on a consistent basis, He could not fulfill His kingdom purpose. This is the call for each of us, to commune with God for our kingdom purpose.



Here’s how Jesus taught His disciples to pray: 
Matthew 6:9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.11 Give us this day our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

(v9) Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
·         Always open your prayer with honor and thanksgiving to God as our Father and ruler of the universe. This shows reverence (respect) and it acknowledges Him as Supreme ruler of all things (keeps us humble).
(v10) Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
·        God’s will is perfect for our lives. He tells us to pray daily at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:17). When we ask Him for His will to be done in the earth as it is in heaven, we are saying “God, do what you have already planned for my life this day.” That’s a perfect place to be, as we know His plans for us are for our good. We are dying to ourselves and allowing God to have full control and use us for His glory (our reason for living).
(v11) Give us this day our daily bread.
·         We are asking God to prepare us for the day ahead. Spending time in God’s presence through prayer will allow God to reveal things to us that will equip us for the day. For instance, God knows the challenges we’ll face day to day. So, if on a particular day He knows we are going to get fired from our job, He will have us to study and read about faith. When we receive news of being fired we are anchored in the Lord because we would have spent time with God. Through our communion, He revealed to us that our faith is in Him and the blow of being fired is not devastating. Our faith will sustain us. He loads us daily with benefits (Psalm 68:19.) If we don’t ask, we miss out.  (DON’T MISS OUT!!)
(v12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
·        This keeps us humble before the throne of grace. None of use are perfect in the sense that we will never make a mistake. God is loving, kind, and patient and willing and waiting to forgive us of all of our sins. It is imperative that we come and ask Him for forgiveness and to give us the will power to forgive others.
(v13a) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
·         We know evil is all around us. We need God to keep us from the evil one. He will do it as we seek Him and put on His entire armor daily (Ephesians 6:11-18). The devil looks for opportunities to trick God’s people, and one of the ways he has easy access is in the lives of believers who don’t commune with God. God has delivered us from the snares of the enemy. We have to accept it and talk with God daily to know what lies ahead, and we must use our spiritual weapons to combat the enemy's tactics. One of these weapons is prayer. 
(13b) For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
·         We close out the prayer believing God has all power, and we receive what we ask in prayer.  God created us for His glory and made a covenant with us which includes over 6,000 promises in the bible (not to mention the things He reveals to us during our secret time with Him.) He intends for us to walk out our purpose in life and we do this through believing and receiving His divine Word.
Amen by definition means “So be it.”

The Lord’s Prayer, found in Matthew 6 and Luke 11, is a guide for praying and hearing from God. Everything we will ever pray can be summed up in the manner in which Jesus teaches us to pray:
1.      Give Honor to God.
2.      Seek His will. (LISTEN TO HIS VOICE)
3.      Ask for provision, supplication, make requests.
4.      Ask for forgiveness/forgive others.
5.      Pray for protection to be kept from evil/ preparation for the day.
6.      Believe God’s will, will be done/ Receive what you have asked for.

God has answered EVERY prayer I have ever prayed. This is not because I have some kind of special power. I follow the commands and principles taught in the Bible. God wants to commune with us. Just as in any relationship without communication, the relationship will lack tremendously. We have to spend time with God.  As I was learning to pray and hear from God, I would attend every prayer service there was at my local church. This taught me how much God loved me and wanted to hear from me. The more I prayed, the more God revealed Himself to me, and I found delight in being in His presence.

Some Practical Was to Hear from God in Prayer

1.      Pray the Word in faith.
God’s Word will never return to Him void (Isaiah 55:10-11). There is a scripture for every situation we will ever encounter in life. We live in the age of Google. If I am dealing with a challenge in finances I will Google scriptures for finances and pray those scriptures. openbibleinfo.com and biblegateway.com are great resources for topic-based scriptural references. Have faith that what you pray for God will provide according to His will.

2.      Listen to the Spirit.
The Spirit sounds like your voice. When you hear that pull on your heart that something is out of balance, it's time to talk to God. It doesn’t matter if it's 2 seconds or 2 hours! Open your mouth and pour your heart out to God. Jeremiah 12:1 tells us that God is righteous when we plead our cause to Him. It doesn’t matter how big or minute the concern may be, God is available to listen and will provide insight.

3.      Study the life of Jesus.
When Jesus prayed, He got results. Countless miracles took place. He was determined and consistent in prayer. He went to God and received God’s plan and then walked it out in the earth. We are no different. There are things God wants to get us to do in this earth and the only way to know what those plans are requires us to talk to God through prayer. Prayer is a lifestyle. Just think about it, you are praying to the God who created all things. What a privilege and honor! There is nothing too hard for Him.

4.      Incline Your ear to hear.
Isaiah 55:3 says,  "Incline your ear, come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." Isaiah 55 talks about the blessing that is promised for those who seek God.  Incline in Hebrew means to listen, or pay attention. That means as we listen and pay attention to the voice of God, we will be blessed. This requires us to sit before God in silence and listen to what He is pouring out. (There is something so special about silence.)



5. Talk to God like the Friend He Is.
For me, I talk to God in a personal manner. For instance, if I’m having a bad day I’ll say, “ God I need you right now. This person is getting on my nerves,” or I tell God exactly how I am feeling. No formalities, just open communication. When we cultivate this type of relationship, prayer becomes natural. God is not looking for formality; He is looking for intimacy. We must be open and honest. The great thing about this is God does not condemn us. He listens with care and then responds with the best possible guidance to help us in every one of our cares.

Communicating openly with God (talking to Him and expecting Him to respond) gives you a new perspective. For example, one time I was faced with an issue with someone who I felt disrespected me and I was completely in my feelings and ready to do things that were unholy. I’m not talking about years ago, but recently. Thank God I knew how to pray. Instead of responding in my flesh, I kneeled down and said, “God you see this situation. I am about to react in my flesh. I am hurt and I want to act out of character.” Immediately He lead me to a specific scripture in Jeremiah 12:5 NIV. "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" 

In that moment, God was saying, “Nicole, you are tripping.” Hahahaha!! I immediately felt His peace. This scripture was telling me that if the insignificant things in life overwhelm me, how would I be able to handle the real issues of life? I was focused on something minute when there is more to life than worrying. We have power!! Jesus died so we can have victory over our emotions. Giving our cares to God in prayer helps us deal with life’s challenges with a God perspective.

The Assignment
  1. For 5 days, set aside 7 minutes of uninterrupted time to spend in silence listening for the voice of God. You can maybe use the first or last 7 minutes of the time you set aside each day for this 14-Day Journey to Hearing from God. Literally set your stopwatch for seven minutes and sit in complete silence. Listen for the voice of God to tell you what to do. This will help you learn how to listen for the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He’ll show you what to do next.
  2. After 5 days, increase your time adding in time for prayer and watch God move.
This intentional time set aside to hear from God will be so beneficial that it will become natural for you to spend more time with God in prayer, where you listen to His prompting. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear anything at first. Just wait. God is perfect and supreme. I know for me, if I don’t hear from God right away, He’ll show Himself through nature or through other forms of revelations throughout the day. God is near and He desires to speak to each of us DAILY.

Lastly this is how important prayer is to God. Before we even form our lips to pray God has an answer. Isaiah 65:24 Even before they finish praying to me, I will answer their prayers. WOW!!! How awesome is that? Now image all of the things God has stored up for His children who are too busy to pray or who make excuses. God wants to bless us and it comes through relationship. We cannot have intimacy with God without prayer. Prayer requires that we listen and obey His commands. God has you on His mind. Seek Him daily. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Iantha is praying for you. I'm praying for you too.

-Nicole

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