I learned to pray in a way that God answers

IMG_7047I felt a warm feeling of anticipation of meeting a close friend for coffee.  It caught me off guard because I was about to sit down and have my quiet time with God.  I couldn’t help but wonder, “when did this happen?” “I’m not one of those people who loves their quiet time THAT much!” and then I realized, that, “yes, I do!” Things had changed. For the first time in my life, I have learned to really pray in such a way that I’m experiencing deep relationship with God and seeing results…even miracles… take place! Every single day, God has a special message for me that I’m eager to hear and often share with others.

Prayer has been a part of my life as long as I remember. Most often, they were quick “help me have a good day” or “help! I’m in crisis” type of prayers.  However, as my relationship with God deepened, so did my prayer life. The list got longer. I prayed for more people and more things. I read encouraging devotionals and experienced God’s strength and comfort.  But, then more recently things changed for me.  It happened on January 9, 2014.  I wasn’t even aware that a change was happening.

God’s promise

It was a cold winter day and I was nearly done my run. Suddenly, an almost audible voice said “stop”.  I was standing by a tree adorned with a dried smattering of frozen berries. Then I heard, “Prayer of Jabez”.  I was quite puzzled. I didn’t even remember how that verse went.  I took my phone out of my pocket and looked up the verse.  “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.” 1 Chronicles 4:10.  I was just about to resume running, when I sensed, what I later knew to be God, saying, “I have four promises for you”. He then clearly gave me four key promises. After awhile, I ran back home.  This experience continued to impact me, so the next day, I wrote these promises in my prayer journal.  Little did I know what was to happen.  Each of these areas was tested by fire.  Each promise seemed to face a place of near-death, including the life of my son (he was later miraculously healed). As I learned to pray intensely through each of those areas, I saw God do the miracle that He promised me.  The promises are not completely fulfilled yet.  There is more to be seen, but God has assured me over and over that He will do exactly what He promised and that I need to stay the course.  At times, I actually deleted the promise and edited it thinking I might have written it incorrectly, but then God so clearly reminded me to go back and leave the words as He gave them and continue to pray.

You may ask, “how can you say God is answering when those promises are not yet complete?”  Well, I learned that God will give me an area to pray for, but then it is as I ask the Holy Spirit to show me specifically what to pray that He answers those specific prayers and they are all part of the layers and steps towards the ultimate promise and answer to prayer that I’m seeking.   If you recall, Moses encountered many obstacles and miracles in his journey towards the promise land. He sought after God, obeyed God, and experienced miracles.  This is what I’ve begun to do over the past year. I have never seen so many answers to prayer! I’ve gone through incredibly difficult times and through it, God has never abandoned me, but continues to meet my family and I as we prevail in prayer and seek Him.

Ways that you can experience God’s power in prayer

1. Prepare your heart. Spend time in the Word, read powerful devotionals to stretch your learning, ask the Holy Spirit to show you anything you need to prepare your heart to be right before him.  Ask Him to help you forgive those who offend and hurt you. Bitterness and unforgiveness hinder your prayers.  “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours, and when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  Mark 11:24

2. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to pray for.  It’s this point that has completely changed how I pray.  I’ve tried to make sense as to why there are so many verses on prayer that are similar to “ask and it will be given to you” Luke 11:9.  I couldn’t figure out why God promises to answer our prayers and then there is so much silence.  I spent a fair bit of time reading John 15 and thought there might be a key in this. “If you remain in my and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you.” John 15:7   I decided I would try this. I would start asking the Holy Spirit to show me what to pray for.  That meant, I would have to be still and quiet enough to hear God.  As I did this, I started to get a sense of what to pray.  If I was praying for healing, God might show me to pray for that person to find a new doctor.  So, I began to pray for steps and layers in the context of the larger prayer request.  It was incredible to start to see those requests become answered.  I asked the Holy Spirit more and prayed more. I saw more things happen!

3. Apply Scripture and God’s promises to your request.   As I began to pray for the things the Holy Spirit was laying on my heart, I received Scripture and words that aligned with those prayers. God gave me promises that assured me I was on the right track. I wrote these verses down. They gave great assurance that God is in control even when the results take longer.

 4. Be vulnerable and ask others to join you in prayer.  I’ve been brave to ask people to pray for big things, like when my son was sick, but it is harder to be vulnerable and ask someone to pray for emotional healing and for promises that God gives.  But, I decided to try it.  I listened to their feedback. It shocked me how often it aligned exactly with the promises God was giving me.  One day, someone approached me and asked me about a situation and told me what God was telling them.  I had never told this person the story and yet, God had.  What an assurance of His promise.  “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:20

5. Keep a prayer journal.  As I wrote down the requests, together with the promises and verses, then wrote the answers beside them, my faith began to grow! Wow, God wants to do great things.  He cares about the small things – as to guiding me when to talk to someone and giving me words to say.  Then, He does great things through my obedience in the steps towards the miracle.

6. Celebrate and praise.  God wants to be glorified for what He is doing. I celebrate His silence, I thank Him for His timeline – even when I do NOT understand it.  I like to do things fast – God has His own way.  He wants me to cling to Him, to walk with Him, to be eager to spend time with Him while He shows me every single step in the journey.   “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

I see God at work every day. I’ve been astounded at the words He has given me.  I marvel at the miracles. Sometimes I think that this will be the day He won’t have anything to say, and then I ask Him to speak and He has the perfect words to guide me through that day.  Yes, it is hard; yes, I get impatient; yes, I wonder if He will ever fully fulfill His promise … but then, He meets me in a deep and meaningful way once again!  God is faithful.

Take a look for yourself!  I’ve simply shared my experience with you.  As I’ve been telling others this new way that I’ve seen God answer prayer, they’ve tried it and are amazed at what God is doing, so I thought I would share it with you.  There is no journey the same, but what I do know is God wants to talk with us as we walk with Him.  Here are some fabulous verses on prayer that you may want to check out.  Enjoy!

Luke 11:9; John 14:13-14; John 16:24; John 15:7; Mark 11:24; Matthew 7:7; Matthew 18:18-20; Matthew 21:22; Mark 9:29; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6-7; James 5:14-16; John 11:40; John 11:22; John 16:13; Colossians 4:2

 

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