Wednesday, February 5, 2014

God is listening, some thoughts on prayer...


I suppose every believer in God has prayed the words, "not my will, but Yours".  You may think you've never prayed those words, but it's right there in the Lord's Prayer, and not too many people have never recited the words "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Now the degree to which we really, sincerely meant those words is probably best judged by how we react when God actually does do His will and not ours.  What we say we want and what we really want aren't always the same thing, and by we I mean me, too.

Let's face it, we even pray prayers that contradict each other.  One minute we're asking God to root out our pride, to help us to be humble.  Then when something happens that humbles us we pray for God to remove the circumstance, deal with the person who wounded our pride, bind the devil, cry, whine and stomp our feet, (at least I've felt like doing that at times).  Have you ever asked God to help you to trust Him more?  When situations arise where you have to trust Him, are you thinking, where are you God and why are you allowing this trial in my life?  Yes?  Me, too.

The way I see it,  the God who sifts and searches out the path before us, also has to do a lot of sifting when it comes to our prayers.  Prayers prayed totally contrary to His will, His purpose, His plan and His timing get sifted out.  We really need to be thankful for the many prayers God didn't answer, or maybe more correctly, said no to.

Then there are prayers we pray that involve another person's will.  Aren't there just times when you wish God hadn't given us humans a free will?  When someone chooses to harden their heart against God, chooses to engage in self destructive behaviors, chooses to hurt others, it's hard to watch while prayers for them seemingly go unanswered.  The good news is that God is a relentless lover who continues pursuing and calling and knocking at the door of even the most willful person's heart, until, with their will, they choose to open the door to Him and His great love and grace.

Sometimes unanswered prayers feel like a no, but they're actually a wait.  When a prayer prayed in agreement with God's will, purpose and plan is prayed, then sooner or later that prayer will intersect with God's divine timing and it will come to pass.  My oldest daughter and her husband struggled with infertility for 10 years.  They had three miscarriages.  It seemed like their prayers for children would never come to pass.  Then God said, "NOW!" and daughter number one was born, and just shy of three years later, daughter number two.  In the meanwhile, God didn't waste their waiting or their wounds, but used it to strengthen and deepen their walk with Him.  In their ministry, they can relate to the sufferings of others in a way that wouldn't have been possible if they hadn't suffered through their own season of waiting and loss.

Then there's a prayer that looks like a no, but it's really a yes in disquise.  My second born daughter wrote about such a prayer in this blog post here.  For forever and a day she prayed for God to let her live in Africa, to be a full time missionary there.  While God opened doors for her and her husband to go to Africa numerous times, to be instrumental in helping to accomplish some wonderful things in conjunction with Ghanaian pastors, the door remained frustratingly shut to stay there.  But in His great wisdom, God searched out and answered a prayer prayed in secret, a heart's desire prayer that no one knew about.  It appeared to everyone that their family was complete with a girl and a boy via adoption.   It appeared to them that their family was complete.  But where there was a no or a not yet in one area, God whispered a yes in another, and after thirteen years of marriage she conceived for the very first time and will have a baby boy this June.  The name they've chosen for him means, "God Comforts."

Be encouraged, friend, God is listening to your cries, the spoken ones and the ones so dear to your heart you've never even uttered them aloud.  In His perfect timing, His divine yes will meet the prayers you've prayed according to His will. He's pursuing the prodigal you're praying for.  And remember when you prayed "not my will, but Yours", sometimes His yes to that prayer, looks like a no to yours.  If it does, He has the best of reasons, the purest of intentions, your highest good in mind.  

still following,

     



at 3-D Lessons for Life

25 comments:

  1. Elizabeth, there are times when I have so many words in response to a post that I end up having no words at all. This is such a time. Far too many good things for me to single out one or a few. I am going to read your daughter's post now, and I send my deepest praise to you and her and especially God for the new addition He gave her that He heard in her heart. What an awesome God we serve.

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  2. I'm so glad you linked that because it was during my blog hiatus. I won't share details, but I really believe God had me read it for such a time as this in my life.

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    1. You make my heart so happy. The fact that this blessed and encouraged you is a blessing to me.

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  3. Our lessons on Sunday mornings have been based on Tony Evans' Between a Rock and a Hard Place. The most recent lessons? God's timing and what we do in the waiting. This is a timely post! (pun intended) And your daughter's story reminds me of my own. Even though we had two children we longed for another. God's timing was waiting until Rebekah and Jacob were 13 and 10 and I finally released all the baby good from the attic to the local women's center - in March - found out I was pregnant in June. God's perfect timing. ;)

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    1. We are so in awe of and excited about this little surprise blessing to our family!

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  4. Tearing up just now as I read this, Elizabeth. Love how you give honor to Him with His faithfulness and His timing. And I'm SO thrilled about your daughter's baby on the way!!!!! Hugging you from here. XOXO

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    1. Thank you so much, Julie. We are thrilled as can be as well!

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  5. Amen.
    He sifts and sorts even as He hears all.
    I am so truly thankful that He doesn't grant all we ask each time we ask.
    What a mess we'd find ourselves in then.

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    1. Yes, what a mess indeed! He is such a good Father!

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  6. Your words beautifully echo God's heart and His will. I especially appreciate how you used true, relevant stories from your own life to illustrate. What a blessing to find you because of Holley Gerth's #CoffeeforYourHeart ...exactly God's timing. :)

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    1. I'm so glad you found me from Holley's as well. What a blessing!

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  7. Elizabeth. Thank you beautifully said. Congratulations! Timing on reading this is priceless was up very late with situation here, grandson. God soften his heart!
    Blessings
    Will read your daughters

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    1. Praying right now for your grandson.

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  8. "He has the best of reasons, the purest of intentions, your highest good in mind."

    That is my favorite line from your post--In my many year of living, I have found this to be true, time and time again. --ramparts of faithfulness it is called somewhere in the Bible--I think in one of the Psalms--yes, looking back over those ramparts, I can say He has been faithful to me. Praise His Name!

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    1. Yes, looking back even what I thought were horrible nos from Him, turned out for my best. Of course, I didn't like it at the time or understand it at the time.

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  9. Beautiful and timely post- thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Karen, for taking time to leave your kind comment!

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  10. Thank you Elizabeth for sharing this. I needed this.

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  11. Thank you Elizabeth for sharing this. I needed this.

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  12. Thank you, Elizabeth. I needed this today.

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    1. Oh Lynda, I'm so grateful that it blessed you.

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  13. The thing I keep reminding myself when my prayers appear to go unanswered, or I'm left waiting for a really, really, really long time is this: God is for me, and God is good. If I can remember that then I'm able to persevere in prayer, knowing that my understanding of what I need most is limited at best.

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    1. God is for me and God is good...I love this truth.

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  14. Thank you, Elizabeth. I'm pinning this and sharing it.

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