Tag Archive: prayer

Waiting Period

waiting-periodsAbout a week and a half ago the Lord told me, “Good things come to those who wait [on Me].” This soft spoken word of encouragement came as an answer to the cry of my heart, when I was at point giving up on receiving (seeing) the answer to a prayer. This was not the first time He chose to encourage me throughout the last year and a half while I’ve waited to receive the answer to my prayer. But this word was different; it reminded me what my responsibility was during this period…to wait on Him.

Doesn’t He understand the wait is “killing me”? Yes He does, and that is His point. During these periods of waiting we are forced to choose to either surrender our wants and will to Him (“die to self”) or go down our own path and try to make it happen our way. This is where a test of our faith happens…Will we stand on His word and trust Him, believing what He has already told us? Or will we doubt Him and/or ourselves, wondering if we really heard Him correctly, and try to find another answer or another way to our answer?

I chose to stand in faith on the words He has already given and He did not abandon me in my time of weakness. Instead, He came under me, lifted me up and gave me strength. He rewarded my faithfulness by encouraging me through the remembrance of other times of waiting, when great answers to prayer and blessings came only after very l-o-n-g periods of waiting. If we had given up on those prayers when all hope seemed to be lost, then we would not have seen the awesome power of the Lord manifested in our lives.

And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up. – Galatians 6:9 (TLB)

In most states there is a “waiting period” when someone purchases a hand gun. During this period the person is given the time to “cool off” and consider the motive, the real reason, they are purchasing the gun. God does the same thing with some of our prayers; He gives us a chance to work through the motives behind our prayers. I believe He also takes this waiting period to kill off parts of our flesh and mature us in the Spirit, until we are able to receive and walk in the blessings that will come through the answer of our prayer. If a child is always given what they want when they ask and are never forced to wait, they will never learn to appreciate what is given to them. They will never be satisfied and will never treasure any gift that is given to them.

God is not a gumball machine that we can put a prayer into and receive whatever we ask. Rather, He is a loving Father who is always looking for ways to love and bless His children…ways to teach them how to hear His voice and stand strong on His word. Just like for our own children, we sometimes withhold a blessing until we know the time is right and our child is mature enough to handle it rightly. If we give them too much too quickly we are not loving or blessing them, we are setting them up for failure.

God knows how long the wait must be for the answer to be a “good thing”. Will you choose to wait on the Lord and His perfect “good” time or will you try to make you own way in your time?

gods-time-best-time

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Light of Christ

light on a side of a hill

We often think of God’s grace as His “unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing “(John 1:17 AMP), but it is so much more than this. It is the power and strength to do things by His Spirit that we would otherwise be unable to accomplish. It is by His grace that the impossible becomes possible in our lives. We do not deserve His blessings in our lives nor do we deserve to walk in His wisdom or power, but we do by His grace. His grace is a wonderful thing, a gift that should not be overlooked or forgotten by anyone.

When we struggle and fight with life, we are not walking by His grace. When we feel like we want to quit and cannot go any further, we are not walking by His grace. When the storms of life knock us down, we are not walking by His grace…for it is by His grace we find His strength in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9). It is through the many storms in our life that we learn to walk by and in His grace, the times when we can look back and see that the Lord was with us in our darkest hour (see my post “Rainbows of Life”).

How much more in our weaknesses do we see the power of God, than in our strengths?  We should not despise our weaknesses, but glory in them, for it is through them at we are able to glorify God! Even Paul said that he would gladly boast in his infirmities (his weaknesses), so that the power of Christ would rest upon him.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  — 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)

In order to glorify God in our weaknesses, we must let His light shine during the storms of our life, becoming a lighthouse, or a city on a hill. We should not hide our light or keep it to ourselves, but instead hold it up high, letting it shine it brightly for all to see.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. — Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)

Just as the light in a lighthouse helps guide mariners safely to shore, the light of Christ shining in us helps others navigate through the storms of life. A lighthouse must be strong and stable, able to stand against the winds and waves of the storm; and its light must shine so brightly that is is able to pierce through the darkness. The lighthouse keeper must stay attentive to the light, making sure it does not go out, or lives might be lost on his watch. He must be prepared at all times, ready to weather any storm that may come against his lighthouse. Each storm helps him prepare for the next one, perhaps showing him a weakness that must be strengthened before the next storm arrives. If we are to be a lighthouse of God, we must be strong and stay attentive to the “Light” that shines in us.

We need to thank the Lord for the storms in our life, thank Him for adversities and people who rub us the wrong way. It is only through these storms that our weaknesses are revealed and we can be made stronger in Christ. We must surrender our will, wants and desires, accept our weaknesses, and allow His strength to carry us through the storm. It is times like these that we need to press into the Lord harder and ask Him to change us, make us stronger, to stand in the midst of the storm.

I can remember the day I learned that I needed to pray for the Lord to give me the strength to make it through, rather than praying for the Lord to remove or change something in my life. I hit my limit and I was done, I could not continue the way I was going, literally. Something needed to change, either me or the situation. I learned that I need to stop and lay whatever it is at His feet and admit that I am at my limit, that I can do nothing without Him. I learned that I could ask Him to change me, to strengthen me to deal with whatever happens in my life.

We can still ask Him to change the situation (or other person), but we need to also accept that it will more than likely be us who He will change to deal with the situation. He very rarely changes the situation, more often He changes us, making us stronger and our light brighter! It is never “fun” to go through a storm, but it is AWESOME when the Lord uses us as a lighthouse in someone else’s storm. Let your light shine, let it shine, let it shine!

We should let the light of Christ shine so brightly out of us, that we become the light at the end of someone else’s tunnel…lighting their way back home. Are you letting your light shine for other’s to see, or are you keeping it to yourself, hiding it under a basket?

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Unanswered Prayers

We have all heard the saying that sometimes unanswered prayers are the best kind, but how do we know when a prayer is an “unanswered prayer”? Of course we can all look back on our life in hind sight and see where an “unanswered prayer” was the Lord’s divine answer, but what about at the time we are praying and asking? How do we know when we should continue in our persistence or when we have been heard? At what point does our prayer become only a vain repetition in the Lord’s ear (Matthew 6:7)?

I believe we always receive an answer within our Spirit, but we must be sensitive to it. It may not be something we “hear” in the Spirit, but rather a type of “knowing” which brings peace into our hearts and minds. We may not know what the answer is or will be to the request itself, but we know He has heard the cry of our heart and we are released from our posture of prayer. It is at that moment our prayer of petition would become a vain repetition if we were to continue in it. Once we receive the release in our heart, our prayers should change from one of petition to one of thankfulness for His answer.

As a parent, we can relate to what it is like to have a child ask for something they want over and over and over again, sometimes repeating (even begging) the same words. Once we acknowledge their request and let them know we are “thinking it over”, we expect them to stop bugging us. Right? God is our Heavenly Father and we should show Him the same respect we desire from our own children. If we tell our children, ‘Ok, I hear you. Now go play and let me think about it.”, we expect them to obey and leave us alone for awhile…The Lord is no different.

What if our child does not leave us alone, but instead keeps following us around and continues to ask or even tries to talk us into granting their request? They keep telling us facts about how good it would be or how important it is to them that they get their way. Or they tell us how much they love us and that we are the “best” mom or dad in the whole world. I would call this manipulation, what would you call it? Would you give into it and let them have their way? A loving parent would never give into manipulation or a tantrum of a child. Why? Because they need to learn to obey and trust you…The Lord is no different.

When your child tells you they love you and you are “the best”, is it because they  are “feeling” the love right then, or because they want something? I’m not saying they don’t love you, because I’m sure they do, but why are they telling you at that moment? The answer is simple; it is because they want something from you. How does it make you feel, do the words seem hollow or shallow…Do you feel any love in their words? Probably not…The Lord is no different.

When He releases us from our prayer of petition, we need to stop asking and begin to praise, worship, and thank Him for hearing our prayers and for always answering what is best for us. We should not try to manipulate Him into answering the way we want Him to answer, but truly praise and worship Him for who He is and what He has already accomplished on our behalf. The request should be surrendered to Him and laid at His feet as we walk away. We now have the freedom to walk in confidence knowing He has heard our prayer and is answering it.

If we have surrendered our life to Him and it is no longer our own, then we should not be upset when we do not “get what we want”. If we truly believe He works all things out for our good (Romans 8:28), then we should praise Him for all answers, including His “no” answers. I would rather not receive something that is outside of the Lord’s perfect will, than to receive it and step outside of His grace. I have learned over the years that walking in His grace, His perfect will, is everything. My life is nothing without Him. Something outside of His perfect will is not a blessing, it is almost a curse, and often becomes a Christian’s downfall. Without His grace, life is hard and has no true joy or peace.

As I look back on my life and see all the “unanswered” prayers, I can thank and praise Him, because I see all the blessings which could not have come through Him “giving in” to any of those prayers. This is what I stand on and helps build my faith, seeing Him work all things out for good in my life. I can walk away when I am released; knowing that whatever His answer is will work out for the best in my life. I know if He does not open one door, or even closed a door, He will open another door…One that has gone unnoticed while I was blinded by my desire for the first door.

As a loving parent, we sometimes have to say “no” to our child’s requests, because we know what is best for their life…The Lord is no different.

praying for answers

#unansweredprayers

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