What does prayer have to do with hearing God’s Voice? Everything.
“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Want to grow with God? Pray.
Want to learn to hear His Voice? Pray.
Want to learn to pray? Pray.
When do many people really grow in faith and their relationship with God? When they are in trouble. I know I did. At that point, you either lean in to God, or you pull away. I don’t know about you — but my most real prayers were in desperate moments when I actually surrendered and accepted that only God could help.
Pastor Gabe is teaching a powerful series about hearing God’s Voice. Prayer builds your relationship with God as much as anything in the universe. To pray is to begin a dialogue with God that grows and grows, “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18) for the rest of your life. In God, you have a trusted Friend, Advocate, Father, Advisor, Provider, Protector, and so much more. Praying is not another “chore” or “to-do”. It is your life! Prayer is pure comfort and joy. Prayer and praise is what God created you for; it’s why He chose you!
There are many things that I don’t think any of us can fully know about prayer, until we see Jesus face-to-face. However, there are a few things that I’m fairly sure of:
1. Some things will not happen unless we pray. “You do not have because you do not ask.” -James 4:2b
2. Some things are going to happen with or without our prayers and actions — but God specifically wants us involved, and we can be if we choose to obey Him. Mordecai told Queen Esther in Esther 4:14, that God would deliver the Jews with or without her. Pastor Gabe has said, “God is doing something, and we want to be a part of it.” I don’t want to miss it, do you?
3. Prayer is not like having a spiritual temper tantrum until God does what you want. Sometimes God’s answer is no. Sometimes He will redirect your prayers. “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” -1 John 5:14
4. Prayer, like any conversation, is a two-way street. If my “prayer” is only a quotidian list of my wants and needs, I’m not really sure that’s prayer at all. Would you have a flat, “wants and needs” conversation with any person with whom you have a real relationship? True prayer is heart-to-heart. True prayer is listening, as much as it is speaking. Like any good communication, silence is allowed between the two parties. Sitting in silence before God, when He has your full attention, is a powerful thing. Let Him speak to you and minister to you. With words, and deep heart-to-heart without words… He made you; He doesn’t need a translator. You are safe. And He will not be rushed; this is on His terms. We miss so much when we hurry in prayer.
5. Sometimes the most eloquent prayer is a tear. It’s a language that God knows very well. I think that tears are part of the “groanings too deep for words” -Romans 8:26. I believe that those tears, heart-cries and wordless moments are love languages in His eyes. God is attracted to pain, vulnerability, desperation and naked honesty.
6. Prayer is fragrance before God. It is kept as bowls of incense in Heaven; that’s how precious our prayers are to God! (Revelation 5:8)
7. The Holy Spirit leads us in prayer. There are times on the Prayer Team, when we minister to people with devastatingly complex problems. God really doesn’t need my list of sequential how-to’s, to handle it. He’s got it; our part is simply to cry out to Him. Many times, the Holy Spirit will just lead me to pray the name of Jesus. God tunes His ear to any desperate soul who acknowledges that He is God and is the only one who can fix it!
8. Aim to praise God (that’s a strong type of prayer) twice as much as you ask God. Don’t we all tune our ears when we receive praise? We are made in His image, and from Genesis to Revelation — it is clear that God loves praise! A heart of gratitude always begets more things to be grateful for!
9. Why corporate/group prayer? Corporate prayer does not replace personal prayer, and vice versa. Jesus says that there is power in corporate prayer (Matthew 18:19-20). He would not have said that, if it was enough to pray individually.
We are praying people at The Point. This church exists because Pastor Gabe and Kari fasted and prayed to seek God’s direction, provision, and confirmation that this was what God was telling them to do. Let us continue in prayer, individually and as a body. Every Sunday, and in many groups all across town, just like we do.
Every Thursday night, Greg Webber and I are leading a prayer group from 6:30-8pm, at the church office. We seek as many miracles, healings, returned prodigals, careers, restored marriages, direction, guidance, spiritual growth, babies born, freedom from addictions, hearts changed, forgiveness given and received, salvations, building projects, favor, mission trips, financial provision, and on and on and on, that we can possibly have. Let us ask together, and see what God will do! To learn more, please visit thepointva.com/groups.
Father, if You never did another thing for me in my entire life, I will never be able to thank You enough for all You have already done! I pray that You continue to quicken my heart to turn to You more and more with praises, needs, and basically everything. Father, guide me in how You want me to pray the things that You want me to pray. In Jesus’ Name, amen.