Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
Would you like to have a consistent prayer life but find that when you go to learn about prayer or to learn how to pray it is presented as something only the spiritually deep can do and hard to achieve? Or, are you like some whose hope is dwindling in prayer because you haven't been receiving many answers? Well, good news! The information provided below not only offers insight and understanding to what prayer is but provides practical tools to aid you in recognizing answers to your prayers. Notice I said recognize and not receive. This is because in order for a prayer to be received it must first be recognized! Just like with hearing from God, you must first perceive what He is saying before you can receive it! Sound interesting? Continue reading below!
Many question what the will of God is. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us that having a consistent prayer life is apart of God's will for our lives. Simply put, prayer is our lifeline to God. It is our primary way to stay in contact with Him. Prayer is important because it keeps all lines of communication open between us and Heaven. Jesus encouraged us to pray and not give up. Many struggle to maintain a healthy prayer life because they often don't see the answers to their prayers. This in turn can cause their faith to dwindle. However, like with hearing God, we may be receiving answers to our prayers, but are unable to recognize and identify them as answers because we don't take time to listen.
As we previously learned, we hear God by learning His language so we can recognize when he speaks. With praying and seeking God the key is to remember that God is relational. This means your answers will be connected to what you have prayed. For example, If you asked a friend how her dog is doing she wouldn't respond to you by telling you how her Mom is doing - atleast we hope not. Her response would be in connection to the question you asked her. In like manner, God answers prayers in the same way. The difference is, you wait for your friend to respond and you listen when she does. We don't always give God this opportunity.
To watch means to look at or observe attentively, typically over a period of time. In knowing God's language you must also learn about God's timing. Accept that God's ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and that our timing isn't God's timing (2 Peter 3:8). Watching in this context is a form of listening. When we watch for God we are actively listening, looking, and engaging him for His answers.
Doesn't sound too difficult does it?
Things that may hinder you from receiving answers to your prayers:
1. Failure To Remember Your Prayers: How can you actively seek an answer to a prayer you have forgotten about? God has answered, but you may not have received the answer because you forgot what you asked or inquired God for. Try journaling your prayers and when you recognize a response, record it in your journal.
2. Failure To Actively Seek God: To seek means to attempt to find something. Sometimes our problem is that we don't pray at all. I won't say you can't receive answers to prayers you haven't yet prayed because scriptures tell us God can answer us before we even come to Him being that He knows what we have need of (Matthew 6:8), but I will say, that in praying we are made more conscious of what we have prayed and it makes it easier for us to remember our prayers. Knowing what we have prayed makes us capable of looking for answers connected to what we have prayed.
Ways To Seek God Include:
Remain Immersed In Him: It's important that we remain immersed in Him that our hearts wont be hardened when He speaks (Hebrews 3:15). An example of this would be meditating on scriptures related to a topic or situation we're facing in order to keep God's perspective on things. This way, we aren't consumed with our own thoughts and opinions which lead to pride which in turn will make God oppose us (James 4:6).
Research: Scriptures tell us to ask, seek, and knock (Matthew 7:7). This means we are to actively pursue our answers and in doing so we'll run right into them. How do we know this? Because God has promised to lead, guide, and direct our paths (Proverbs 3:6). God has promised to lead us into the way everlasting(Psalm 139:24). God has promised to show and teach us His paths of righteousness (Psalm 5:8). The key is to find what testifies and bears witness with our spirits, the thing that reasonates with us, brings confirmation and what aligns to what we know about God and His WORD.
3. Failure To Attentively Observe: To observe means to notice or perceive something and to recognize it as significant. When you begin to see and hear answers to your prayers the key is to see it as a vital part of the message God is releasing to you. By acknowledging what you have seen or heard God will then move on to what He has to say next. Your job is to see each piece as significant.
In learning God's language I myself have learned that God releases His message over a period of time - piece by piece (Isaiah 28:10; Exodus 23:30) we are to take these pieces - write them down, store them in our memory- and put them together in order to get our message. We watch - by remaining attentive - to things that come our way that are in connection or relation to what we have asked God.
For example, your book club has a trip coming up and you desire to assist with traveling fees, so you inquire of God on how much you should give and in what ways you can contribute. A week from then you have a dream where a small boys catches the bus to a store, purchases an item as a gift that costs $150, and ships it to a friend in another country. After the dream you keep noticing that everytime you look at the clock it's either 1:50 am or 1:50 pm, not only that you receive a bill in the mail in the total amount of the bill is $150. You have a conversation with your friend and she tells you she went to the store and spent $150 on a new pair of shoes. You take each piece - the dream, the clock, the bill in the mail, and the price of your friends new shoes, and put it together. God is answering you in direct relation to what you prayed so you contribute $150 towards the trip for your book club and you find out that $150 covered the entire trip for a book club member who couldn't afford to go!Jeremiah 42:7, shows the prophet Jeremiah asking God a question on behalf of some of the most elite men during the time of exile. The scriptures say Jeremiah inquired of the LORD and didn't hear from God until 10 days later. However, it is my humble opinion, that during this time Jeremiah remained close to God, held his prayer in his heart by remembering it, and attentively looked for and observed God's answers to his prayers over a 10 day period. In like manner, we are to do the same.
42 (1) Then all the army officers, including Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah[a] son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest approached (2) Jeremiah the prophet and said to him, “Please hear our petition and pray to the Lord your God for this entire remnant. For as you now see, though we were once many, now only a few are left. (3) Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.”
(4) “I have heard you,” replied Jeremiah the prophet. “I will certainly pray to the Lord your God as you have requested; I will tell you everything the Lord says and will keep nothing back from you.”
(7) Ten days later the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.
The key is to find what testifies and bears witness with our spirits, the thing that reasonates with us, brings confirmation and what aligns to what we know about God and His WORD. (Click Here To Tweet This)
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