Re-energize Your Prayer Life
by Dianne E. Butts
The Pit of...
While it is thrilling to see God respond to us, we must not pray just to see Him perform. God knows the motives of our hearts. We cannot manipulate Him.
Manipulating His Answers
Through a carefully spoken word or a deliberate action we can cause circumstances to occur the way we want them to, then choose to believe it's God's answer.
Not Accepting His Answer
When we ask God for something, we must be willing to accept His answer, even if it's not the answer we want. We may ask for a physical healing, like the blind man did, but God's answer may be “no”. Paul asked God to remove the thorn in his flesh three times, but God did not remove it (2 Cor. 12:8-9). Mary and Martha asked Jesus to come and help their sick brother, Lazarus, before he died, but Lazarus died anyway (John 11:3,14).
Not Asking Because We Fear His Answer
Fear that God won't answer when we want, or in the way we want, should not keep us from asking. Philippians 4:6 instructs us to “present our requests to God.” What follows that “peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (vs. 7) comes because we know that while God may not do what we want, we can trust Him to do what is best.
Not Doing Our Part
Specifically asking God for what we need does not mean we should do nothing. God provided manna for the Israelites, but they still had to go out and gather it before they could eat (Exo. 16:4). Are you doing what you need to do, proving your faith by your actions?
Avoid the Pits by ...
If we record the details of our requests to God in a prayer journal, we are less likely to manipulate, rationalize, or fail to respond to God's specific answer. We can write, If God does___, then it means___ Or, If____ happens, then I am to____.
Recording His Answers
A prayer journal also gives us a place to record God's answers. After we move into action in response to His answer, we often experience opposition which can cause us to doubt that we interpreted His answer correctly. A written record of our specific prayer and how we recognized God's answer provides an invaluable resource to confirm we are in His will when the way gets rough.