Tag Archives: praying to God
As soon as I pray, God answers. As soon as you pray, God answers. The Psalmist wrote about a response of encouragement and strength, but this isn’t the only answer from God. We can rest assured that as soon as we pray, God answers in whatever way He desires.
When you pray, remember that you are speaking with God. You are speaking to God. Sometimes because we are talking to One we cannot see, we do not communicate effectively. We come up short. We may not ask for what is truly on our hearts because we are trying to speak the perfect prayer. Or maybe we spend so much time praying for others because we want to be humble, that we never connect with God one-on-one.
Today, spend time in prayer with your loving Father. Remember that the moment you speak to Him, He answers you. He adores when you come to Him in prayer, especially when you are sharing what is on your heart. Every single prayer He hears. Every single prayer He answers. You may not understand how He answers or why the answer is not what you expected. Spend time getting to know God, and you’ll find that prayer is all about knowing God more and growing closer to Him.
“As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength.” – Psalm 138:3 [NLT]
Too often we look at what we don’t have and we feel bad for ourselves. We wonder why we don’t have it. We may grumble and complain. Sometimes we ask why these things keep happening to us and why things never go right. We see what others have and we don’t understand why the same things aren’t coming our way.
In James, we read that we don’t have things because we aren’t going to God asking for them. We seem to forget that everything we have is from God. He is our supplier and our sustainer. He is the one who gives us all we have. The world tricks us into thinking we have earned it. So if we know that our God is a giver and He gives us everything, we should be in the mode to ask Him for things. The asking comes with relationship.
It’s hard to go up to a stranger and ask for things. I mean, it’s a stranger. You don’t even know the person. But to go up to your parent and ask for something—it’s practically expected. As you continue to spend time with God, building that strong relationship together, it will get easier and easier to make requests to God. He already wants to give you so much. Read His Word. He has promised you so much! Ask for His promises to be poured out. Be sure to pour out your heart. He already knows the desires of your heart. Be real with Him.
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” – James 4:2 [NLT]
Jeremiah gives us a great picture of what prayer should be like for us. In Lamentations 2, he tells us to pour out our hearts to the Lord—and this would be seen as pouring out like water. What a great image! When you empty a container of water, like when you dump a bucket of water outside after cleaning the floors, it all just pours out. There is no holding back.
This is the same way we are to pour ourselves out to the Lord. He already knows what is on our hearts. It is the effort of the pouring, the action of the pouring it out to Him, that matters. He wants us to say, “Here, take this. I don’t want this in my hands. I’m placing this in Your hands. You are in control. I trust You.” It’s about letting go of everything and trusting in Him.
Today, consider if you are holding anything back from Him. What’s on your heart? Have you poured it out to Him? Have you placed it in His hands? Are you only giving Him a short prayer list, neglecting what is truly on your heart? There’s nothing too small and nothing too big to give to the Lord. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord today.
“Rise during the night and cry out. Pour out your hearts like water to the Lord. Lift up your hands to him in prayer, pleading for your children, for in every street they are faint with hunger.” – Lamentations 2:19 [NLT]
In life, we find ourselves being stationed in places awaiting something to happen. For some people, this means stationing ourselves outside a ticket place, waiting for tickets to go on sale for a popular concert. Or maybe stationing outside of a shopping center for a big sale is your cup of tea. We station ourselves by the gate in the airport awaiting the airline employees to call for boarding. Our dedicated soldiers station themselves where the officers command, waiting for the next orders.
In Habakkuk, we read about taking a stand at the watchpost. The verse actually then says, “station myself.” When you read over the verse, it clearly tells us that he is stationing himself on the tower awaiting to hear from the Lord. In the very next verse, we read that the Lord responds.
Many times people consider that the Lord is being silent. I often hear people say they cannot hear God. It is then that I ask, “Have you stationed yourself”? Are you actually in place, ready to listen to the Lord? Our conversation skills are horrible with the introduction to faster methods of communication. We expect instant answers. We listen to others in a way that we are focused simply on responding to what they are saying, rather than simply fully listening to what they are saying. We ask people how they are doing but do not even stand around to await an answer. We are sadly guilty of these things. We are also guilty of not stationing ourselves to listen to the Lord, to hear His voice. With all the noise around, with the busy schedules, and with our focus all over the place, we miss His voice. We blame Him. Today, be intentional to station yourself. Find a watchpost that works for your situation. Keep out the noise. Watch for the Lord. Listen for His voice.
“I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.” – Habakkuk 2:1 [ESV]
It was only supposed to be a quick walk around the block. I got the dogs ready to walk, fitting them with their harnesses and latching them to the double leash. Since it was only going to be a short walk, I solved the no-socks-downstairs problem by simply slipping on my flip flops (thongs). I walked down the street a bit and realized we had a problem. Dogs were approaching. Max surely would get anxious, so I turned and went another direction to avoid the situation.
As I continued on the walk, I was about ready to turn and head back home. Once again, there was a dog up ahead. What was going on this evening? Was everyone walking their dogs? It became apparent that I would be taking the dogs for a much longer walk to avoid the other animals. There I was with my flip flops, certainly not good walking shoes, walking over a mile with the dogs. Talk about being prepared.
When we venture off for our day, we are supposed to be prepared. There is a battle out there. Before we step outside the house, we need to be sure we are armored up. Did you pray? Did you read His Word? This is the preparation that helps to start off the day the right way. When we leave the house in a hurry, missing out on our morning time with God, we likely will continue to walk around in flip flops for miles, when we should have been ready. Just like my feet were not feeling right afterward, so we will feel drained, burdened, and tempted out in the world. Just like I turned again and again trying to find the path to take, in the same way the unprepared turn and turn again going around in circles, never realizing that God has made a way to travel. You have a choice today my friends—how are you going to start your day?
“In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” – Psalm 5:3 [NIV]
I have been studying Jeremiah this month. One of the most quoted verses in Jeremiah is Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Many times this verse is not used in the proper context. As you read the verses around it, you read of a people who is in exile. This does not sound like something desirable. The promise for a hope and future is made to the people in captivity. It was a promise to those who spent seventy years under the rule of others. It was a promise to bring back the people.
After the seventy years were up, just as promised, God delivered his people out of captivity. The people of God were able to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple and the city walls. God restored His people. Just in the same way, He is able to restore all that is broken. That includes you and I. For just as the earth and all it contains, you and I are broken. Praise God, He promises to restore us.
Though this verse speaks about a people long ago, God also promises us hope and a future (Hebrews 10:23). He also listens to our prayers (Psalm 77:1, 1 John 5:14). His Word also says when we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). Today, remember what the Psalmist wrote: “Trust in Him at all times… pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (62:8 NIV). Let Him continue to restore you by fixing your eyes on Him and following His leading.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.’” – Jeremiah 29:10-14 [NIV]
Rebekah was barren; Isaac prayed hard. God answered his prayer. Isaac’s wife Rebekah became pregnant. Genesis 25 says that the children were inside her tumbling and kicking. The children were so active within that she questioned why go on living. She went to God. She went to God, the Bible says, to find out what was going on.
God let her know what was happening within her. He told her that there were two nations in her womb and they were butting heads with each other within. He even let her know that the older child would serve the younger, the opposite of the normal position in society.
So often we have things happen in life, but we turn elsewhere instead of first turning to God. Today, may Rebekah’s example remind you of the importance of going to God first. He knows all. He sees all. He created you—He knit you together. He knows what is for your best. Only He can show you your purpose in life. Only He can give you wisdom. Only He can provide you with a peace beyond understanding. Only He is always ready to listen when we turn and speak. Take it to God my friend.
Prayer is often overcomplicated. There are so many books, sermons, and seminars telling people how to pray. Over the years I have heard numerous people say that they “don’t know how to pray” or that they think they are “praying wrong.” Some people are closed off when they approach God, despite the truth that God knows what is on each one of our hearts before we even approach Him. Some people stick to a form list or follow the same structure taught to them many moons ago so it is a routine. This is not what we read about when we look at Hannah’s approach.
In 1 Samuel 1, we read of Hannah praying to the Lord for a son. She was “deeply distressed.” She “wept bitterly” (v. 10). She was open. She was vulnerable. She laid it all out before the Lord. She did not follow a particular structure. She did not try to “do it right.” She wasn’t afraid of people seeing her deep in prayer. It was her and God. She truly was coming before the Lord. I can only imagine how she appeared. Eli the priest thought she was drunk.
When she responded to Eli, she said, “I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD” (v. 15). Today consider when you last poured out your soul before the Lord? Do you approach Him with what is truly on your heart or what you think you are supposed to say? Do you approach Him in a way that fits in a box, follows a list, or do you freely fall before Him and speak from your heart? Do you hold back or do you lay it all before Him? He cares what’s on your heart. He wants you to pour out your soul. No holding back. Give it all to Him.
“But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD.’” – 1 Samuel 1:15 [ESV]
Being A Stairmaster
The Pattern of the Psalms: Situation of Distress / Lord’s Power / Security from God
Takes over ten minutes to read these Songs of Ascents
Be Free to Climb
Able to come / Able to be fully present / If serve one service, attend the other
Be Glad to Climb
“A Song of Ascents, of David. I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.’” Psalm 122:1 [NASB]
Fix your eyes on God: Pray and Praise Him before service
“A Song of Ascents. To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.” Psalm 123:1-2 [ESV]
“Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the LORD.” Psalm 134:2 [NLT]
Retrace Your Steps
Remind yourself of what God did today, this week / remind yourself of His Word
Psalm 126:1 – Lord restored fortune in past; Psalm 132 – remembering Word to David
Climb with Humility
Is your heart right? Approach with humility. Remember you need God’s grace/love/mercy
“What if the LORD had not been on our side when people attacked us? They would have swallowed us alive in their burning anger.” Psalm 124:2-3 [NLT]
“A song of ascents. Of David. My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.” – Psalm 131:1 [NIV]
Step by Step
Don’t be about the hustle and bustle / Patience / Peace / Calmed & Quieted Soul
“I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5 [NIV]
“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2 [ESV]
When my children were small, I would always grab their hands tight and guide them along. When we were away from home, we were always hand-in-hand so I could get them to move in the right direction, to protect them, to guide them, to keep them secure under my watchful eye.
When you are hand-in-hand, there’s a closeness—a connection, a bond, a deeper understanding. Today’s passage says that Jonathan had worked “hand-in-hand with God all day.” Imagine that—working with God all day long. Jonathan had sought out God before he took action. He followed God’s guidance as he was hand-in-hand walking along with his Father throughout the day.
If you turn back to verse 36, you will see his father King Saul demonstrating the complete opposite. He wanted to go after the Philistines that night, but the priest had to interrupt and slow everything down. He said, “Let’s find out what God thinks about this.” Now you have two choices, to live life hand-in-hand or to keep your hands working for themselves. Today I pray that you ask God to give you His hand and you grip it tightly. His hand is already there, simply ask and reach out. Today is going to be a great day!
“The soldiers rose up: ‘Jonathan—die? Never! He’s just carried out this stunning salvation victory for Israel. As surely as GOD lives, not a hair on his head is going to be harmed. Why, he’s been working hand-in-hand with God all day!’ The soldiers rescued Jonathan and he didn’t die.”
-1 Samuel 14:45 [MSG]