Tag Archives: pray

Intimate Conversations

Whenever I travel for work, it’s important to stay in contact with my wife. Sometimes when we end up talking I’m at the airport or I’m at dinner or while I’m with coworkers. It’s hard to have good conversations in those places. It’s often noisy, people are trying to get my attention or I’m trying to find where I’m going so I’m somewhat distracted. The best conversations are when I’m away from all the noise in the quiet of my hotel room. Only then can we truly have interruption free conversations where it doesn’t have to be quick snippets.

Luke 5:16 says, “As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer” (MSG). Having intimate conversations with His father while He was here was important to Him. People were constantly vying for His attention and needing a miracle. Often, He just wanted to have a quiet conversation. Many times He had those quick conversations in front of people, but very often we read where Jesus went to a desolate place to pray. If it was important for Him to do that, how much more important for us?

At one point, Jesus told us to go into our closet to pray. I don’t know that He meant that literally. I think what He was saying was that we need to find a quiet place where we can have some uninterrupted prayer time. We can’t always go to an out of the way place to pray, but we can find space to get alone with Him. It may be a closet or it could be before everyone wakes up or after they go to bed, but we each need to find time to get alone with God so we can have intimate conversations with Him. I believe the quality of our relationship with Him hinges on it.

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Praying With Confidence

When I was working on the final edits for my book, my friend, who was helping me with it, suggested that I get our pastor to write a review. That made me nervous. I was scared and uncomfortable to ask him to read it and to write a review even though I know him. My friend, who is on staff at the church asked, “Would you like me to ask him?” Still worried, I asked, “Are you sure? I don’t want to bother him.” He said, “Yes! I don’t have a problem asking him.”

So many times you and I approach God the way I approached my Pastor. We are nervous and scared to ask Him for anything because we either feel like were bothering Him or we don’t know Him enough. We’d rather share our request with someone else and let them talk to God for us. However, if you are a Christian, you don’t have to be that way. You are God’s child and have full access to Him with all the privileges of being His kid no matter how well you know Him.

Ephesians 3:12 says, “In union with Christ and through our faith in him we have the boldness to go into God’s presence with all confidence” (GNT). There’s no need to feel nervous in going to Him with your requests. In fact, you can be as bold as my friend was with our pastor when you go to God with your needs. Remember that God can’t answer what you don’t ask. He’s ready, willing and able to go above and beyond all you could ever ask or think, but you have to ask first. Pray with confidence today because God loves you and wants to hear from you.

(By the way, My Pastor was happy to read and write a review. My Fear was unfounded. Yours is too.)

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Selective Hearing

If you have ever been a kid, or if you have a kid you know what it’s like to ask for something over and over to the point that it’s annoying. As a parent (maybe because I’m a guy), I’ve learned how to have selective hearing. I can tune that voice out, and my kid can ask for days without me hearing him. Selective hearing is about the only thing that keeps a parent sane because kids are always asking for something. The great news for you and I is that God doesn’t have or use selective hearing.

Psalm 116:1 says, “I love the LORD, because He hears [and continues to hear] My voice and my supplications (my pleas, my cries, my specific needs)” (AMP). God doesn’t tune you out when you’re struggling with something and are having to pray nonstop for your needs. Your voice doesn’t fall on deaf ears because He cares about you, your specific needs and your desires. Just like a parent though, God doesn’t always give us as His children everything we ask for. He knows more than we do and sees ahead in time the consequences of the answer we are asking for.

We still need to make our specific needs and requests known to Him, but we also need to pray like Jesus prayed – not my will, but yours be done. God’s “yes” is as good as His “no”. We, like children, don’t like to hear His “no”, but that’s why we pray for His will. He has something better in mind for us in those times. We don’t stop praying in the waiting though. Keep praying. Keep making your specific needs and requests known to Him. He will answer His way, in His time, with His answer because He never stops listening to our prayers. He’s a good Father who gives good things to His children.

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When God Answers Prayers

One of the stories on the Bible that speaks to me every time is in 1 Samuel 1. Hannah wasn’t able to have a child so she was ridiculed, taunted, bullied and shamed. Year after year this went on. One year she had enough. Instead of attacking her bully, she went into the Sanctuary to pray. She wept bitterly before God, crying out in prayer for a long time. As she prayed, her lips were moving, but the words were coming from her heart. She wasn’t leaving until God answered her prayer for a son.

Verse 10 says, “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord” (NLT). One of the first questions that comes to my mind is, “When is the last time I prayed with that kind of desperation?” Most of our prayers are simple ones with little emotion. I believe one of the reasons God answered Hannah’s prayer, and will answer ours, is because it was fervent and came from deep within her soul, not just her mind.

Verse 12 says, “Hannah continued to pray to the Lord for a long time” (GNT). I’ve heard the saying, “Don’t pray until you’re through. Pray until you’ve prayed through.” This is where it is applied. Too many times, we ask God for something and when He doesn’t answer right away, we quit praying. Hannah didn’t just pray for a long time, she prayed a long time for years. God uses her internal torment to develop a life of prayer. She wasn’t going to stop until she got her answer. One of the reasons God answered her prayer, and will answer ours, is because of persistence.

After the Eli, the priest, had told her God would answer her prayer, verse 18 says, “Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad” (NLT). Hannah believed God would answer and acted accordingly. She didn’t let the years of God not answering prayer create doubt. She held onto the promise and acted in faith before God answered. She quit believing the words of the bully and held onto God’s Word instead. One of the reasons God answered her prayer, and will answer ours, is when we act in faith.

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All Access Pass

Have you ever met a person that you respected or admired, then got to have a real conversation with them? Then, at the end of the conversation, they gave you their number and said, “If you ever need anything, reach out to me.” I’ve had that happen a few times. I still have their cards, but I can tell you I’ve never called them. I’m too afraid that I’ll be seen as someone who abused the privilege of having access to them. I don’t want them to think I’m bothering them with a stupid request. So I hang onto my key to access them without ever accessing them.

The crazy thing is that many of us have that same attitude when it comes to accessing God. We think He’s got bigger problems to solve than ours. We reason that He doesn’t want to be bothered with our needs. We then try to justify, “He probably wouldn’t answer anyway.” So we hang onto our access to God, but we rarely access Him. I’m here to tell you that Jesus didn’t rip the veil between man and God for us to sit back. He invited us to come boldly into the Throne Room.

1 Corinthians 4:8 says, “You already have more access to God than you can handle” (MSG). Think about that. You and I have more access to God than we can handle. Access that He expects us to use. Whatever failures you point to, God can forgive. Whatever wisdom you need, God can give. Whatever problems you’re facing, God can resolve, but you have to access Him. You can’t just sit back and do nothing. Use your “All Access” badge, get into the Throne Room of Heaven and let God know your request.

God is able to handle the toughest problems of this world and your greatest need at the same time. You don’t need to feel ashamed or timid in approaching Him. His ways are not our ways and His wisdom is not our wisdom so He may answer in an unexpected way. Present your needs to Him without telling Him how to solve them. God is deeply concerned about the things you’re concerned about, and He has the power to resolve them. Don’t believe the lie that you need to leave Him alone. You have the access, now use it.

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God’s Timing

Earlier this year, my son got a 3-D puzzle of Big Ben, the famous clock at Westminster Palace. This particular puzzle has a working clock on one side. After we built the clock, he asked if we could set the clock to London time. I then moved the hour hand six hours ahead. He said, “Wow! London is six hours faster than us?” Now, whenever he goes by the clock, he announces what time it is in London so we’ll know the difference in their time and ours.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that God has a different time than I do. It’s not as simple as a six hour difference though. He doesn’t look at time by the hour like we do. He looks at circumstances and how they line up to tell time. Whenever I pray for something, I’m typically looking at my circumstances and ask God to intervene in that moment. God’s timing doesn’t just look at what I want in that moment, he looks at the ripple effect and how that affects other moments.

Like a child wanting something at the store, I often demand that God answer right now! To me, what I’m asking for is urgent, but I’m learning that God has a plan and will answer in His time and in His way. In Psalm 69, David is praying desperately for God to answer him. He felt like he was drowning in his circumstances and he cried out to God to save him. Then in verse 13, he changed his tone. He prayed, “Answer me, God, at a time you choose” (GNT). He understood that God’s time was different than His and He trusted God’s wisdom over His desires.

I’ve been learning a lot about prayer this year so I can better communicate with God. When I read this verse, it changed how I pray. I’ve got to learn to trust His timing and His answer. I can’t just look at my life through and circumstances through my lenses. I need to learn to see things the way God does so that I can better trust what He’s doing and when He’s doing it. If I trust Him for my salvation and as my provider, then I need to learn to trust His timing too.

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What God Wants

I’m doing a 40 day prayer challenge with a friend as we lead up to Easter. We both made visual lists of the things we want to pray over daily. As we were discussing them, he mentioned that he wants to pray God’s will into his life. I thought it was a great idea, and I added a blank page to my visual. I pray over the things that are near and dear to my heart, but then I pray, “God, these are the things I desire for my life. What do you desire to do in me? What do you want to write into my life? I give you permission to do what you want.”

I’ll be honest, that’s a dangerous prayer, but I believe it’s a necessary one. We all have our own ideas about what’s important to us, and we have things we pray over. At the same time, there are things God is trying to do, and we need to submit to His will. I feel that many times the things we pray for are more our will than His. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus taught us how to pray in these instances. In Matthew 26:39 Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me! Yet not what I want, but what you want” (GNT).

We can ask God for the things we want, but I believe it’s import to turn around and give God permission to do what He wants. It’s not so much about giving Him permission as it is that we are submitting to His will. God answers the prayers we pray that are in accordance with His will. He also has great plans for your life, but we have to learn to submit to them instead of insisting we get help accomplishing our own. Prayer shouldn’t be just about what we want. It needs to be about what God wants too.

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