I love to hear from God! There have been times when He has spoken to me so clearly that to doubt would be sin. Sometimes He speaks to me through a verse in Scripture. It will almost literally jump through the pages at me. I remember one time when I sensed God was speaking to me concerning a particular chapter in the Bible. It was a mighty word of blessing and favor.
I asked, “Lord, are you really speaking to me through this chapter? Can I really claim these words?” I recorded all of this in my prayer journal. That evening we visited a church service and the pastor preached a sermon based on a verse-by-verse study of the very chapter I had read that morning. I sat in tears as I was ministered to by God in a powerful way.
Some of His words have come through others, maybe through a sermon or a song. There have been times when others have shared a “word from the Lord.” How I appreciate it when brothers and sisters have obeyed the leading of the Lord and shared these messages with me. But I can honestly say that the times I’ve heard the Lord’s voice the most was in the quiet of my prayer times alone with Him.
Sometimes the words come with a sense of His presence so strong that I don’t want to move. I hardly want to breathe. Other times His voice is just a knowing, an awareness. I don’t hear from the Lord every time I pray, but when I do, it is more than special to me. When He speaks to me it’s often through what people describe as that “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). It’s an awareness of information. I just know that I know! Scripture teaches that “His sheep … know His voice” (John 10:4). I recognize His words, be they ever so soft!
I remember when we first moved to Houston. We were doing church planting, so needless to say our money was more than tight! About a quarter of a mile from our house was a small strip mall with a large corner room for rent. The Lord began to minister to me to claim this place as our place of ministry. I remember arguing with the Lord that it was impossible. “Are You sure I’m hearing You? Are You sure?” I have to confess that I doubted God in this. It was so far beyond what we were able to do. However, I shared this information with my husband and we began praying for this place and claiming it as ours. For the first few weeks I regularly drove into the parking lot, either alone or with others, and thanked the Lord for it, praying for protection for the building and blessing for our future ministry.
As the weeks turned into months, my times of prayer for this possible opportunity began growing farther and farther apart. Soon I was barely praying and in several months, I gave up. One day, as I drove by, the Holy Spirit spoke as clearly as if He was sitting next to me: “When did I tell you to stop praying for this building?” I confessed my sin of unbelief to Him and began claiming it again. Within six months we were renting this property. What a blessing it has been in our ministry! I have to tell you, the best part was not the building, but seeing the miracle of how God provided and knowing He spoke it into my life! What a joy to hear from the Lord!
There are times when we need to pray in faith without constant reassurance from God that what we’re praying for is in His will. As I pray, I ask the Lord for guidance. Many times He confirms His leading through Scripture, agreement from another Christian brother or sister, or another way of His choosing.
There are those times, though, when I need to pray solely according to how I sense He’s leading me. During these times, I trust Him to redirect me if I’m not praying on the right path. I remind myself that His strength is made perfect in my weakness, that He knows my flaws and human boundaries, and that His ability to work things together for good far outweighs any of my human limitations. The important thing is that I want His will, I’m fully surrendered to Him, and I understand my role is that of a tool in His hands. My desire is to completely follow His leading. The answer depends on Him and Him alone!
It’s as if we’re coming before the Lord with our prayers and leaving them at His throne. We’re saying, “God, this is what I believe You want done in this situation. I trust you to answer as You see fit. I trust You! Show me if there’s something I’m not seeing. This is all about You.” That, my friend, takes both faith and hearing from Him, as we lift our requests to the Lord.
I believe every person who serves Christ should hear from Him. I have seen this principle misused, however. I was in one meeting where “the voice of God” spoke through nonbelievers giving direction for the church. This was not only accepted but encouraged. I’ve been in other meetings when a person was “spoken to from God” and frankly humiliated in front of the church body. There have been times when a brother or sister has shared a “revelation” they’ve received from God that I knew was not His voice. I knew this either from the content of the message or because of the details I knew about the person’s life. I have to tell you I seriously doubt the validity of these “messages from God.”
Does God answer prayers today? Does He answer your prayers? You can have your prayers answered—and the results can be dramatic!
According to a Barna Research poll: “More than four out of five [U.S.] adults (82%) pray during a typical week.” That may sound impressive, but how many pray every day? Remember that in the “outline prayer,” Jesus taught us to pray daily (Matthew 6:11).
Does prayer actually change things? According to Barna Research, “Americans believe in the power and impact of prayer. Four out of five (82%) believe that ‘prayer can change what happens in a person’s life.’ (1994).” Do you personally believe that?
The Bible gives many examples of God’s intervention in the lives of those who seek Him and trust in Him! Note the example of the prophet Daniel: “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, but God rescued prayerful Daniel and preserved his life (vv. 11–12)!
Your Bible also reveals the power of prayer. Many recall that Jesus’ prayer raised Lazarus from the dead (cf. John 11). But His disciples also experienced such power in prayer. When the Apostle Peter was in Joppa, he saw a dead Christian woman, much beloved by the widows who mourned her death. We read that “Peter put them [the mourning widows] all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord” (Acts 9:40–42). Yes, the Apostle Peter raised a woman from death!
“But these were great men of faith,” you may say. “What if I don’t have that much faith?” God’s Word gives us the good news that we can have faith. Throughout the Bible, God gives many principles, or “keys,” to effective prayer. If we use these keys, we can have our prayers answered.
Key #1: Pray Sincerely to the True God
Many people use memorized prayers. As a boy, I prayed the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer, but my parents also helped me to pray for others in my own words. When you pray, speak to God in your own words, and be sincere.
Remember that you must speak to the true God! There are many false gods, and many people do not believe in any God at all. You need to prove to yourself whether God exists! God is the Creator. He is the lawgiver, both of natural law as Einstein saw it, and spiritual law as the Bible reveals. Nobel prize winner Albert Einstein could see the design and awesome intelligence in the creation. He wrote that the scientist’s “religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.” (Einstein: A Centenary Volume, ed. A. P. French, p. 305)
God has given us overwhelming evidence of His existence and purpose. Still, some vain, egotistical, arrogant and ignorant people claim that there is no God. Do you know what God calls atheists? “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1). Although some “intellectuals” may ridicule faith in God as foolish, it is they who are revealed as fools.
God is ready to have a conversation with all who truly seek Him, even in the most desperate circumstances. When Nebuchadnezzar had taken the people of Judah into captivity in Babylon, Jeremiah explained that they still had hope. “For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:10–14).
That same principle applies to you! You can have a conversation with the Creator of the universe! He says that you can find Him, if you seek Him with your whole heart. You can pray or talk to Him, and He says: “I will listen to you!” How wonderful that is!
Key #2: Study the Bible
As you read of how God helped people, and delivered them from great stress and trials, you can have more faith. Read the account of the ancient Israelites’ escape through the Red Sea, of Daniel’s deliverance from the lions’ den and of Shadrach, Meshech, and Abed-nego being saved from Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. Read of the miracles that Jesus performed—healing the diseased, the blind, the deaf and the lame. The Apostle Paul wrote that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Bible is the Word of God. Read it every day! Understand what the Creator God has actually accomplished in the past—and what He promises you today!
God gives us promises that money cannot buy. One of my favorite scripture verses gives a wonderful perspective on what God can do: “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21).
What kind of problems do you have? Health problems? Financial problems? Employment problems? Family problems? Academic problems? Mental health problems? God can solve any problem you have! We have to do our part, of course—He cannot solve our problems if we are actively working against His help—but we can be comforted in knowing that He can work miracles for us, “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” As you study the Bible, you will find examples of answered prayer, and encouragement that your own prayers will be answered, as God has promised.
“Come!” say the Spirit and the bride. “Come!” let each hearer reply. Come forward, you who are thirsty; accept the water of life, a free gift to all who desire it. Revelation 22:17, NEB
Lord our God and Father in heaven, be with us and let your face shine upon us, for we are your children. In the midst of all human planning we are your children who seek you alone, who seek your will, your kingdom, and everything you have promised to humankind. Fill our thoughts and feelings with your power so that our lives on earth may belong to you, so that with our whole will we may put every thing we have and are into your hands. For we want to be your children, to have one will with you, Almighty God. We want your kingdom. This is our will, O Lord our God, and it is your will too. Therefore it must come to pass, to the glory of your name. Amen.
PRAYDIO PRAYER SCHOOL 1 … PRAYER OF FAITH
PRAYDIO PRAYER SCHOOL 2 … PRAYER OF PETITION
PRAYDIO PRAYER SCHOOL 3 … PRAYER OF INTERCESSION
PRAYDIO PRAYER SCHOOL 4 … PRAYER OF FELLOWSHIP
PRAYDIO PRAYER SCHOOL 5 … DESPERATE & IMPORTUNATE PRAYERS
PRAYDIO PRAYER SCHOOL 6 … PRAYER FOR DEMONIC DELIVERANCE
PRAYDIO PRAYER SCHOOL 7 … PRAYER FOR SICKNESS & DISEASES
PRAYDIO SPIRITUAL WARFARE 1 … THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD
PRAYDIO SPIRITUAL WARFARE 2 … SPEAKING AS THE ORACLES OF GOD
PRAYDIO SPIRITUAL WARFARE 3 … WITCHCRAFT & POWER OF THE CROSS
PRAYDIO SPIRITUAL WARFARE 4 … OVERCOMING THE STRONGMAN
PRAYDIO SPIRITUAL WARFARE 5 … PULLING DOWN STRONGHOLDS
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 1 … LESSONS FROM THE PATRIARCHS
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 2 … LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME UNTO ME
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 3 … LEARNING THE ORACLES OF GOD
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 4 … SPIRITUAL WORK BEFORE THE MIRACLES
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 5 … THE PROSPERITY OF JESUS CHRIST
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 6 … INEXPLICABLE FINANCIAL EXPLOSIONS
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 7 … SECURING CELESTIAL COLLABORATION
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRET 8 … UNDERSTANDING SPIRITUAL DIMENSIONS
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 9 … SECURING MARITAL BLISS
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 10 … DETECTING THE EVIL FIANCEE
PRAYDIO PRAYER SECRETS 11 … SALVAGING FAILURE IN MARRIAGE
PRAYDIO PRAYER ACTIONS 1 … OVERCOMING ASTROLOGICAL
“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” –Andrew Murray
Before we decide who our prayer lives should focus on or what they should look like, we must ask ourselves: what is prayer? I like to think of prayer as a conversation between me and my Heavenly Father. For a conversation to take place, there would need to be two people involved. For two people to be involved in a conversation, there must be give and take… listening and speaking.
When we have a conversation with a dear friend, we learn what it means to wait and truly listen with our hearts without trying to think of what our next words should be. Sitting in the stillness with the God of the universe. Reading His Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you and speak to you. Listening and waiting is a big part of prayer. When we wait on God and when we listen for the soft, gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit, we are focusing our hearts and prayers on God.
We may think that prayer is taking our wish list or “needs” list to God. And make no mistake, I believe God knows the desires of our hearts and longs for us to pour our hearts out to Him regarding those needs that we have. He is a gracious Father who loves to hear the hearts of His children being poured out to Him, much like we, as parents, long for our children to share their hearts with us. However, I think a huge part of prayer is God creating in us a clean heart. A big part of prayer is placing our heart in God’s hands and allowing Him to mold us and shape us.
We cannot be full of God and full of ourselves at the same time. Prayer is a beautiful time of emptying ourselves and asking God to fill us up with more and more of Himself. We empty ourselves by surrendering to God’s perfect will and not always seeking to control the circumstances and situations in our lives.
Prayer is an act of humility and surrender. It simply can’t be all about us or we miss the point entirely. And when we are walking closely with Jesus, we don’t want it to be about us, we will want it to be all about Him.
Prayer allows time for God to continue making us into new creations. If we sit in the presence of God and talk and talk and talk about what is happening around us, we are not choosing to focus on Him. If we are more concerned with the trials of today than hearing from God Almighty, prayer will not have its way in us. God’s Word tells us that He is making all things new. This is a process, not a one-time deal that happens when we accept Christ. Thank goodness that He isn’t finished with me yet!
When we start with worship, prayer takes our focus off of ourselves. Spending time thanking and praising God, adoring Him for who He is, and worshiping Him is a sure way to get our mind off of ourselves and onto Christ. I don’t know about you, but I want more of God and less of me. We must take our gaze off of ourselves and our problems and look to Jesus to gain more of an eternal perspective on things.
When we pray, we are asking God to take control. Let’s face it, God already is in control. I don’t know about you, but I try to take that control all the time. Or I try to figure out how to fix things. I want things to go how I think they should go. So, when we surrender before the Lord, in His presence, we are acknowledging that we don’t have the control that we think we do. And when we really think about it, we don’t actually want it. It’s freeing to think that the Lord has the whole world in His hands and He doesn’t actually need us to help fix the problems we see around us. I love the act of actually sitting in prayer with God with my hands open before Him, saying, “Not my will but Thine be done.”
When we wait on Him alone, He strengthens us. We can wait all our lives on a person to change or our circumstances to improve or for a situation to go away. But, when we sit in the presence of Almighty God and wait on Him, wait with Him, we are strengthened and we are changed. Being still with the Lord and allowing Him to have His way in us, allowing Him to speak through His Word and mold our hearts is actually more productive than if we were to do all the talking and fixing. Being still and waiting with God is almost always what my heart truly needs.
Worship. Adore. Praise. Wait on God alone. Seek Him before you seek the answers to your problems. Make Christ the first of your prayers and the end of your prayers. Take yourself out of the equation. Thank God for your blessings. Name them one by one. When we spend time worshiping and praising God, prayer isn’t so much about us as it is about our faithful God and His character. And then, all is right in my heart and in my world. Through the act of prayer, God gives peace and joy and more of Himself… just what I need more than anything.
Prayer is conversation with God; the intercourse of the soul with God, not in contemplation or meditation, but in direct address to him. Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant, ejaculatory or formal. It is a “beseeching the Lord” (Ex. 32:11); “pouring out the soul before the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:15); “praying and crying to heaven” (2 Chr. 32:20); “seeking unto God and making supplication” (Job 8:5); “drawing near to God” (Ps. 73:28); “bowing the knees” (Eph. 3:14). Prayer is frequently commanded in Scripture (Ex. 22:23, 27; 1 Kings 3:5; 2 Chr. 7:14; Ps. 37:4; Isa. 55:6; Joel 2:32; Ezek. 36:37, etc.). Pray, noun: “To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy” (Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1914). “Prayer is like the dove that Noah sent forth, which blessed him not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth, but when it never returned at all” (Robinson’s Job). Prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, his ability and willingness to communicate with us, his personal control of all things, and of all his creatures and all their actions.