Prayer

“Its like no matter what I do, I can’t hear God.”

“Well, have you ever considered that maybe you’re so used to God having to yell at you to get your attention that you just haven’t learned to hear Him in the whispers.”

A few years back, I was having a whole entire imaginary life crisis. I was speaking with a mentor of mine about how stuck I was feeling and how I was begging for a word from God. I was desperate for this crazy revelation, some big flashing lights pointing me in the direction of what was next in life. Nonetheless, I heard nothing.

When my mentor called me out like that, I was a little taken aback. I played her words over in my head and decided she was right. My whole life had been so hectic, chaotic and traumatic that the only time I had undoubtedly heard God was when he had to shout at me to get my attention for my safety. Then, silence. It had truly never occurred to me that He had been talking to me the whole time and I was just oblivious to the sound of His voice. I was determined to learn to hear God, even when He was whispering to me.

The unfortunate truth is, I didn’t know how to hear His voice because I was not talking to Him enough for him to even have a chance to talk back.

My prayer life was nearly nonexistent.

We as Christians love to talk about prayer. We love to say things like “I’ll pray for you” but never actually do it. Or we shout loud Amens when the pastor prays at church on Sundays, but we never talk to God any other time. For a long time, I was one of those people.

I think sometimes we are just overwhelmed by the idea. What do we say a all knowing, all powerful, God? Do I have to sit a certain way? Use certain words? We are so confused on how to pray we just don’t do it. It is because no one ever took the time to teach us!

I remember a coworker of mine once telling me that she stopped praying because every time she prayed for something, God did the opposite. I was saddened by the idea that this girl was so off put by the idea of prayer she never spoke to God. All because somewhere along the lines she was taught prayer was no different that rubbing a magic lamp waiting for genie God to grant wishes when it is so much more.

So, let me start with putting it this way. How do you get to know someone that you’ve never spoken with? We (church goers specifically) sometimes get fooled into thinking we know God personally because we encounter His presence in a Sunday service. Encountering His presence is just a glimpse into God’s nature, what His personality is like. But knowing who someone is takes more than an encounter, it takes conversation.  Enter prayer.

I did not know how to hear God in the whispers because I did not talk to Him and it is impossible to know the sound of someone’s voice if you never speak with them. And truth is, I spent many years after that profound revelation still trying to follow the voice of God with absolutely no idea what he even sounded like. But a few years later, during another completely imaginary life crisis, I decided something had to give. I was sick of claiming to follow a God when for all I know the voice I was following was Satan himself guiding me straight into the pits of hell. So I got some accountability, and ya girl started praying. Like pray praying. Daily. Multiple times a day. Long prayers. Short prayers. Silly prayers. Serious prayers. Prayers about what to eat for dinner. Prayers about absolving world hunger. I was talking to God about everything. And somewhere, in the midst of all those prayers, something happened.  I learned to recognize the sound of God’s voice.

My church is about to enter into our third and final week in what we call 21 days of prayer. For 21 days straight, we join together and worship and pray. In celebration of the move of God that has been happening, I thought I’d share the knowledge I’ve gained about prayer over the years.

1)There are many kinds of prayer.

1 Timothy 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.

There are prayers of faith, agreement and worship, just to name a few. And that is scriptural folks. (This website describes them wonderfully. https://www.gotquestions.org/types-of-prayer.html).

All the times you started to pray, and you thought you were “wrong” because it was not like the prayers you heard before. Well chances are whatever you were trying to accomplish was different than those prayers you are used to hearing. It sounded different because it was different. That brings me to my next point.

2)Prayer does not have to sound a certain way.

Most people think of prayer and automatically think of big, extravagant words. Sometimes people pray in ways that literally sound like poetry. Beautiful words, intricately woven together. That is great. But when you pray, pray HOWEVER is comfortable to YOU. Pray how you talk. Use the words that are normal and comfortable. I recently had a friend of mine tell me that when he prays, he sometimes calls the devil a bitch ass. I know you’re shocked and appalled, aren’t you? Its real life. No, I am not encouraging you go cursing all the time. But if that is how you talk and the only way you know how to express yourself I PROMISE you God can handle it if a few F bombs accidently slide out while you pray. At least you are talking to him right? (which smoothly brings me to point number 3. Man I am good at transitions).

3)Its just a conversation.

Sure, there are many prayers designed to accomplish different things.  But first and foremost it is a conversation with you and God. You know what the means? You can literally talk to Him like you would your best friend and about annnnyyythingggg. He cares about anything and everything. I can say man, God I am hungry right now. God I am frustrated. God I am really happy. God I really love these new shoes. Anything that you feel the urge to express to whoever it is you call at the end of the day to gossip about your day, say it to him instead. That is prayer. If you have no idea how to tackle things like prayers of spiritual warfare, don’t. Just start by talking to Him. He’s listening.

4)He talks differently to everyone.

This was probably the most important thing I ever learned. This is a conversation remember, so God will talk back. I spent so long thinking I was only going to hear Him a certain way. I thought if I was not having dreams or miraculous visions, He wasn’t talking. Or I thought when I heard Him, it would come in pretty, extravagant words, just like those prayers we are used to hearing. In actuality, He is such a personal God that he talks to you in ways that you will be able to respond to. I am a creative always pulling from the world around me for inspiration. I can look at a tree, feel inspired to write a poem and understand that is God speaking to me. I also have this petty sense of humor so when he’s trying to tell me something or give me life instructions, I hear it Him in the same way. Like “girl, you done yet?”

As you keep praying, you will begin to understand the voice of God and know that how he talk to you might not be how he talks to anyone else.

5)The more you do it the easier it gets.

Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. More importantly, the more you do it, the more you get to know Him so the easier it is to talk to Him. You may start with “God, I am hungry” and before you know it you are praying down spiritual strongholds for strangers in third world countries.

6)What you want to pray for changes.

What you want to pray for changes because you change. Remember my coworker who said God did the opposite? The harsh truth is she was probably always praying for things contrary to the will of God for her life. He wants the best for us and we can’t always see what that is. The scripture says He will give us the desires of our heart. That does not mean that He will automatically grant us our wants. That means that as we stay steadfast in prayer, He will shift the desires of our heart to match His will.

Well folks, I hope that helped. But I am just a girl trying to figure out the best way to love Jesus. My pastor, the awesome Daniel Floyd, however, really loves Jesus and is super smart. He put together this really handy prayer guide with some great prayer models and scripture to pray. Its put together in a way that can help people who have never prayed a day in their life and those who have been saved their whole life. Check it out here https://lifepoint.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/12-06-18_MH_21-DOP-Journal.pdf.  And joins us for prayer here https://lifepoint.org/21days/.

Still need more? Check out https://myjanaetime.com/how-to-be-a-christian-series-prayer/

Ok, love you bye!

-Kristen

 

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