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A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 5A How Should We Pray Silent, Aloud or Written

Everyone knows how to pray, right? It’s just talking to God, expressing our needs and the needs of others, correct? I mean, it’s not rocket science, is it?

No, it is not. But the bible has so many examples of different ways to pray. Are we silent, or do we pray out loud? Do we pray in the spirit or in the flesh, or do we write out our prayers? Do we stand, or sit, or bow? Do we come to God in humility, or do we come boldly before the throne of God? Is there a pattern of prayer that I can use? We will be exploring all of these “How’s” in the coming posts. Since I don’t enjoy reading excessively long posts, I am going to try and get this into 3 posts and see how it goes. So, let’s begin!

PART 1 – Silent, Out Loud or written prayer.

SILENT PRAYER

Silent prayer is probably the most common. I pray silently when I am by myself and praying for those people on my prayer list most of the time (you do have a prayer list, right?). There are times that I pray aloud when by myself, but most of the time I use silence. Perhaps that is something I should change – maybe if I prayed aloud I would be more likely to keep the routine, as this is an area that I falter in too often. The daily time of prayer. I think I will try that.

There are also silent prayers given for those who come to mind during the day, or requests that come our way. We bring them to God in meetings, in church, or in the privacy of our home. Whenever they pop up, we take action on them. There are a few verses about silent prayer in the Word:

Genesis 24:45 – And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew [water]: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee

Jacob prayed silently for the wife Abraham had sent Him to find, and we see His prayer answered.

1 Samuel 1:12 – And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.

Hannah prayed silently in the temple for a son, and Eli wondered why her mouth moved but no words proceeded. The result of her prayer was birth of the prophet Samuel.

Matthew 6:6 – But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

Jesus tells us to not be public about our prayers, but to pray in the closet to God, and the Father will reward us with the answer. There are times we should not tell people we are praying for them because we may take pride in that statement if the answer comes. We may think we are the cause of that answer, but we are not. God is. We help it along, but we should do it in secret. At other times, people need to know we are praying for them. Use proper judgment to determine which time is which.

Another aspect of silent prayer is meditation. This is coming to God in our thought life, and it is all over the bible as a way to communicate with God and let Him know our thoughts are either on Him, or on His word, or on those things that are pleasing to Him. I could list hundreds of verses that talk about meditation on the things of God, but I will not. I will say it is all through Psalm 119 – a glorious Psalm that we should all read often. A few other ones that I am fond of include:

Philippians 4:8:
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

This verse has a lot of power behind it, and can shape our lives and our witness in remarkable ways. We should all do our best to live by this verse every moment of every day, because what we put into our minds is what will come out, hence

Matt 15:16-20
16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? 17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 these are the things which defile a man:

You can see why Philippians 4:8 is so important for our silent prayer, meditation and thoughts when you see what Jesus says here.

2 Cor 10:5
5 casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

These are things we must do through pray and meditation. When these thoughts come into our mind, and they will, we must get rid of them and bring our thoughts into the “obedience of Christ”. How do we do that? Reading Psalm 119 is a good way to start

I am going to stop with those two, because I believe they are the most integral to our silent prayer life along with Psalm 119 ( can you see I put a lot of emphasis on this Psalm?). Let’s go on to the next one.

Praying out Loud

Praying out loud is something we typically do in church or in fellowship with someone else. It can also be used in our private prayer time, and is probably seen as the most effective type of prayer. Praying aloud uses two of our senses, as we not only use our ears to hear, which I believe we do with silent prayer, but we also use our mouths to speak. Our words have a lot of power. Read James 3 and you will see what importance the tongue has and how powerful it can be. When we pray aloud, we speak God’s word into the air, and it never leaves the atmosphere. Never downplay how powerful your words are to someone else.

Matt 21:21
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

Speak to those mountains in your life. Speak with all faith and all authority given to you by Jesus. He says if you believe and do not doubt, it will be done. Read this story about the power of this kind of prayer:

A small congregation in the foothills of the Great Smokies built a new sanctuary on a piece of land willed to them by a church member.
Ten days before the new church was to open, the local building inspector informed the pastor that the parking lot was inadequate for the size of the building.
Until the church doubled the size of the parking lot, they would not be able to use the new sanctuary. Unfortunately, the church with its undersized lot had used every inch of their land except for the mountain against which it had been built.
In order to build more parking spaces, they would have to move the mountain out of the back yard.
Undaunted, the pastor announced the next Sunday morning that he would meet that evening with all members who had “mountain moving faith.” They would hold a prayer session asking God to remove the mountain from the back yard and to somehow provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening dedication service the following week.
At the appointed time, 24 of the congregation’s 300 members assembled for prayer. They prayed for nearly three hours. At ten o’clock the pastor said the final “Amen”.
“We’ll open next Sunday as scheduled,” he assured everyone. “God has never let us down before, and I believe He will be faithful this time too.”
The next morning as he was working in his study there came a loud knock at his door. When he called “come in”, a rough looking construction foreman appeared, removing his hard hat as he entered.
“Excuse me, Reverend. I’m from Acme Construction Company over in the next county. We’re building a huge shopping mall. We need some fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? We’ll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge, if we can have it right away. We can’t do anything else until we get the dirt in and allow it to settle properly.”
The little church was dedicated the next Sunday as originally planned and there were far more members with “mountain moving faith” on opening Sunday than there had been the previous week!

Oh, that we would all have that kind of faith! Not only for physical, real mountains, but for the looming mountains and obstacles that seem to block our path at every turn. God can move them, and with applied faith, nothing wavering, we can too – by speaking to that mountain!

Isaiah 58:9
Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer;
thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.

Call out to Him! Cry out to Him! He will answer! He will hear! The prophet sums up the power of spoken prayer in these simple words. Why would we want to hold back?

James 5:14-15
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up

The prayer of faith, the prayer spoken by the elders as they anoint with oil – this is prayer that is spoken out loud over the person, building their faith and the faith of all around. Powerful prayer that will deliver the sick and raise him up.

Isaiah 65:21
And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer;
and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

This shows us that God does know our thoughts – before they speak I will answer. But while we speak, he will hear. He wants us to speak out our needs, to let Him know we understand what we have need of. He knows – do we really know what we need? Are we praying in the Father’s will, or our own? He desires to hear us!

I Peter 3:12
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers:

His ears are open, attentive and listening to our spoken prayers. They are music to His ears. He loves to hear us call on Him. Speak out your prayers and be heard by Almighty God!

You get the picture! There are so many verses I could go to, but this is getting long, and I have one more piece to this part of the how to pray.

Written prayers

Some people like to write out all their prayers. They put them in a journal. I have never journaled. I admire people who can sit down and write out their prayer requests. It is an amazing gift and it can serve as a reminder of prayers that are answered because you have it all written down. I think it is a great way to go about praying.

This method actually employs four of our senses, and that is why it is the most powerful form of prayer for us. We speak it in our minds, see it with our eyes, hear it with our ears as it is put on the paper, and we feel the pen putting the words down. If you use a pen that uses strawberry ink, you can even smell the words as they go down Utilizing all those senses puts it deeper into our memory – any behavioral analyst will tell you that. Any communication specialist will tell you that the more senses you get your audience to use, the better they will remember your speech.

It is hard to find reference to praying by writing in the scripture, but the scripture is full of written prayer. The Psalms are a good place to start, of course. They are filled with prayers. I have mentioned three times already the best Psalm of prayer. The prophets wrote out prayers. There are many prayers written in the Chronicles. Examples are everywhere, and I am not going to reference any here to save space. Look for yourselves and if this is a discipline you might want to embark on. I often have prayers in the poems God gives me, so it is an area I use on occasion.

This is just the beginning of our study on how to pray. In the next lesson, which I promise will be shorter (this came out to about double the length I like), we will look at whether we should pray in the Spirit or in the Flesh, and whether we should pray Humbly or Boldly. Stay tuned!

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A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 4 When Should We Pray

I know what you are going to say. We should pray anytime the Holy Spirit moves us to pray, and you would be right. We will be talking about that. But there are several scriptures that show us the importance of having a regular prayer time and not just relying on the Spirit to prompt us. I am going to admit here that this is one of my weak points as a follower of Christ, and I am praying and hoping this teaching will spur me on to a better regular practice of prayer.

I would guess we all have people in our lives that we regularly pray for- like friends, family, church attendees, people who have been mentioned to you through the week, etc. These prayers should be prayed at a set aside time during the day when we bring our requests to the Lord. We have already laid out the principles of prayer, so you are armed and dangerous to the enemy. When you take these requests to the Lord is your decision though, and an act of your will.

The morning is my preferred time. I find that if I wait until later in the day, I get caught up in my daily activities and the time passes by me. Before I lift my head from my pillow, I pray for those in my life that I want blessed every day. This has always worked best for me

Mark 1:35 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
Here, we see that Jesus used this time for prayer. He arose before anyone else and got by Himself. One of the main reasons I believe He did this is that during the day, He was always crowded around with people – either the twelve disciples of the throngs of people who came for healing and teaching. If He tried to wait until later to pray, it would be very difficult to get away, although He was able to on occasion. I believe this was a regular routine with Jesus, not just a one-time thing.

Psalm 5:3 and Psalm 119:147 also tell us that the morning is a good time to bring our requests before God.  There are many scriptures that discuss praising the Lord in the morning as well.  I believe this is the best time for both of these practices.  Don’t let the day steal away your time and push these things out of your schedule.

Mark 6:46-47 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. 47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land
We see here Jesus asking the people to depart. He had just fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves and two fishes miraculously. I am sure the people were reluctant to leave, but they did. He then told the disciples to get into the ship and go to the other side, as He stayed behind to pray. It was probably late afternoon or early evening when He started to pray, and He prayed into the night.

I have a good friend who sets aside time around 3:00 every day to pray. He is as regular as anyone I know at keeping this time. I applaud him for being able to block out this time to go to the Lord. I would guess Jesus did not get this opportunity too often, and enjoyed it when He did. Afternoon prayer times are difficult because of the demands of life that kidnap our schedules.

1 Samuel 15:11
“I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands ” And Samuel was distressed and cried out to the LORD all night.

This verse tells us right up front why Samuel went to God all night.  Saul had messed up one again, and now Samuel would have to find a replacement and go against the King.  Not an easy thing, even for a prophet!  So He spent the night in prayer and shortly after this He anointed David King in Saul’s place.

Luke 6:12Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

After He healed a man in the synagogue, Jesus departed and prayed all night. Have you ever been to an all-night prayer meeting? I haven’t in years, but I remember them as being powerful when I did go. However, this was a prayer meeting of one. Jesus prayed all night! I would most likely fall asleep. It takes tremendous dedication to stay up all night praying. I would say that I could probably find enough to pray for, but each prayer would have to be extensive, and with purpose.

I’m not sure exactly what He prayed about all night, but if we read on we see the next day He called the disciples to His side and then ministered healing to the masses before preaching to them. He had a full day coming up and I think He knew it. He stayed up all night praying and then all-day ministering! God must have given Him supernatural strength to accomplish this. I would not suggest this unless you have a directive from God to do so. He will tell you when all night prayer is to be given.

Psalm 63:6, Psalm 119:62, Psalm 119:148 all talk about praying in the night.  When I wake up in the middle of the night, I take time to pray as well.  Often, I can feel the prompting of the holy Spirit at these times.  It is often a time when he also gives me poetry and songs of praise.

Then there are those scriptures that teach us to pray before trouble comes in, not when it comes in. It is so important we are “prayed-up” before trials enter our lives. We will be able to handle them so much better. I am not going to put the whole portion of scripture here, but will give you some examples of this principle.

Gen 32:9-12 – Jacob prays that God will give him favor before going to meet Esau
Judges 11:30-31 – Jepthah prayers for victory before the battle
Judges 16:28 – Samson prays that God will be with him before the pillars are brought down
2 Chr 14:11 – Asa prays for victory before the battle
2 Chr 20:6-12 – Jehosaphat prays for victory before the battle

And of course, there is Matt 26:39-44, Mark 14:36-42 and Luke 22:39-46, where Jesus prays for God’s will to be done, needing strength for what He as about to face on the cross. The ultimate prayer before a trial!

Then, of course, there are these verses:

Acts 6:4 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

Acts 12:5 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

Romans 12:12 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
12 rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
17 Pray without ceasing.

Ephesians 6:18 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Philippians 4:6 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

“Continually in prayer”,” Prayer … without ceasing”, “Continuing instant in prayer”, “Pray without ceasing”, “Praying always”, “in every thing by prayer”. The message is clear -we should always be in an attitude of prayer. We have discussed at length that prayer is simply a conversation with God – it does not have to be fancy or embellished.

We should always be ready to pray. We can come to God anytime and His ears are open to our cry.  Things will come up in our lives, others will be brought to our attention that need prayer – maybe a call, or a text, or a Facebook post, or someone on WordPress who needs our prayers. We should always be ready to go to the Lord in prayer. The time we set aside is for those requests that are constant. All other time is time we need to be ready to pray.
The next chapter will talk extensively about how we pray, so that will fill in where this leaves off. It will be broken down into two or three posts – depends on how lengthy I get. This part of the study is much more interesting than it at first look sounds. I was amazed at how much the bible says about how we should pray. I hope you’ll join us!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 3E – We Must Accept the Response

So far, we have learned how to ask by using the A.S.K. Principle, how we can be heard and understood, that we should expect a response and how we must listen for a response. The last step in communication is accepting the response. Notice I am not saying agree with the response. Just accept the response as the words the responder (in this case God) is sending back to us. There is a big difference, and this is very important.

We may not agree with the response someone gives us. I get into conversations with my wife sometimes, where she is trying to point out that pride has risen up in me once more, and I am defending my position because of it. I gave her permission years ago to let me know when I am walking in pride, and I also have been very good at accepting her response, and recognizing the pride once she has told me about it. Most of the time, I agree with her response as well, but this time I didn’t. I did not think I was stuck in pride, and I told her as much. Calmly and reasonably, I told her why, and she accepted that. But this time neither of us agreed with the response of the other. We let it go at that.

The same can be true of responses we get from God. He may tell us to wait – it is rare we will agree with that response, but we still have to accept it or we will find ourselves arguing with God! It’s very rare we will win that argument. Moses won a couple arguments with God, but I can’t think of anyone else who did. I’m much better off to accept the response than to try and argue to get a different.

Our communication with God can be on a multitude of subjects, and it would take forever to cover them all here. We pray about all kinds of things each day, and God will answer those on an individual basis with specific detail. God can answer many requests with Yes, or No or Wait. These are the three most common answers. We usually don’t like the wait and abhor the no, but each time it is imperative to stand back and look over the situation, remembering that God does all things for our good (Rom 8:28). If He says no, there is a good reason behind it. If He says wait, perhaps He is allowing our faith to be built as we develop patience (James 1:3). Patience does amazing things for us, and needs to grow in all of our lives. We will talk more about that in just a bit.

Quite often, our answers are already in the word, and He will respond through His word. So today, as part of this lesson, I am going to give you some scripture that may just answer the prayer you have on your heart. Some I may comment on, others I will leave for you to enjoy. This is just a small sampling of the promises God has made to you and I. There are so many more!

If you desire success or prosperity:
Joshua 1:8
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

3 John 2
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth

Psalm 1:1-3
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper
The first two verses show us a way to success or prosperity. Both put a directive with that prosperity, though. Our souls must prosper, which requires meditating on His word regularly, and not departing from His ways. Are there people who prosper without doing this? Absolutely, but they are not you. We must not look at what others are doing, and what others have been granted by God, and think we are entitled to it as well. We are all different, and God brings different things into our lives. Don’t look at what someone else has and be seduced by it. Remember when Peter and Jesus were talking, and Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times? After that. Jesus told Peter to feed Jesus’ sheep, and Peter asked “What about John”. Jesus answered “What is that to you?” Not everything is for everyone.

Psalm 1:1-3 has three things that will make us like that tree that is doing so well. Don’t take ungodly council, don’t hang out with sinners all the time, and don’t be someone who is always complaining. Then he comes back to the importance of meditating in the word. The word has our answers if you will just take the time to read them!

If you need healing and good health:

3 John 2
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth

Exodus 15:26
And (God) said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.

Prov 4:20-22
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Once again, we see a promise tied to being in the word and meditating on the things of God. Perhaps this is why there are so many sick among us? We have neglected His word and have forgotten these promises come with requirements. They are not freely given. I know Jesus died, and the stripes on His back are all I need for my healing – that is what I hear all the time. I agree to a point, but if that is true, why would God say to be in His word, or that our soul needs to prosper for good health to be applied? Perhaps if we would be in the word more, we would not have so many occasions to need His healing! Have you ever thought of it that way?

If you need wisdom to make a decision:

Prov 3:5-5
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Prov 9:10
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
James 1:5-7
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
Those of you who have been following me for a while know that Proverbs 3:5-6 is my life verse. I stand by it, meditate on it and apply it to everything in my life. I believe that is why I can honestly say I do not have bad days. I do not have days that seem unfulfilling. I do not have days that I do not feel God near to me. It is because I acknowledge His hand in everything in my life – the hills and the valleys, the good times and the bad. I acknowledge Him and I know it is for my good, whatever I am going through. There is never a time I do not believe that. As a result, His hand guides me and He gives me wisdom in every circumstance. I fear Him in the sense that I am in awe of Him all the time. In awe of His mercy and His grace and His love.
When you ask for wisdom, do not doubt for a minute that He will give it to you – it is found in His word. He will guide you to the truth about any situation. His wisdom comes in softly, and once again is found in His word. Read and meditate on Psalm 119. You will see just how much His word is important to you!
If you need peace:
Phil 4:6-7
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Psalm 29:11
The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace
Why do we run around with no peace in our hearts or lives when Jesus says He left His peace here for all of us to enjoy? The Lord blesses His people with peace! Why are our lives in such turmoil all the time? Don’t we know that His peace is right here, resting in His hands for us to enjoy when we need it? The problem is that we have our minds on our problems, and not on Jesus, who is our peace. We have to set our minds and thoughts in a different place. We have to set our minds where Paul tells us to in Phil 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Think on these things, not your troubles, cares or worries. Think on these things! Philippians 4:4-8 is a powerful portion of scripture that I urge you to meditate on for a long time if you are not familiar with it. Knowing these verses and putting them into practice will change your whole outlook on life. If you live a life filled with turmoil, worry, doubt, fear, complaining and arguing, do this today! After meditating on these verses for a week or so, you will see a change come your way. I guarantee it, because It’s God’s word.

If you need more patience:
James 1:2-5
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

I have heard it said, and you probably have to, that we should never pray for patience because trials will come. I will say this – trials will come no matter what you pray for, and then you will be wishing you had more patience. We talked extensively about patience and waiting on God in Chapter 2E – Knocking. When I studied out these verses in James and asked the Lord for wisdom, I came to this conclusion.
We count it joy when troubles come because through those trials, our faith is tried and tested. That trying and testing of our faith makes our faith stronger, and in the process we learn to be patient waiting for God to bring a solution to the trials, which we know He will. Patience will bring us to the point that we are perfected, and are ready to do the task God has for us next.
Trials will not only bring us patience, but should bring us joy as well. The growth that comes into our life through trials could not be replaced with anything else. They are truly a blessing! We know that when we have that patience, Isaiah 40:31 becomes a reality:
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I hope you are getting the idea. I could go on for 100’s more pages, because there are that many promises God has given us in His word. What I wanted to show you is that many times, your answer is right there if you just get into the word. We wait and wait, thinking God is not going to answer, or that He doesn’t hear us, when all the while He has provided the answer a long time ago – we just haven’t taken the time to find it.

Spend time with God daily. Get into the word. When you have a need, look up scriptures that provide you insight into your answer. Then believe without any doubt that this word is for you. Accept the answer God has given. Apply Proverbs 3:5-6 to your daily life. You will find that the answer is always right there, waiting for you, and that your prayers are always answered – Always.

Now that we have talked about what prayer is and how prayers to God are properly communicated, we are going to go into some other basics of our prayer life. Next, we will discuss when to pray! Stay tuned!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 3D – We Must Listen for a Response

If we expect to get a response from God then it’s of critical importance that we listen for that response. Listening is the next step in communicating with God. I must admit that I’m not very good at listening. Often, when I get into a conversation with somebody, I am thinking about the next thing I want to say and I don’t always completely hear what the person that I’m talking with has to say. I also have other things that are going on around me that cause distractions. It is critical that we learn to listen to God. Listening closely will vastly improve our day-to-day life and our prayer life.

The way that we hear from God the most is through His word. If you are not reading the word of God on a regular basis – I recommend daily – you are not training yourself to hear His voice. Yes, we can train our ear to His voice. The truth is that God speaks to us every time we read His word! We need to make sure our hearts are prepared to hear. We have talked about this in previous lessons.

Romans 10: 17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Not only will He reveal His will to us through His word, but it will also increase our faith. How many times have you been reading a familiar portion of scripture and you became aware of something new in that portion of scripture that you hadn’t seen before. It’s always been there you just hadn’t noticed it or hadn’t thought about it in the way you are right now. That is God talking to you through the Holy Spirit. Start to recognize this as His voice and you will realize that you’re hearing from God a lot more than you think you are.

When we want to hear from God, what are we listening for? Are we listening for an audible voice or a stirring in our heart or just a faint small voice speaking to us? 1st Kings 19:11-12 tell us about Elijah:

11 And he (God) said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORDwas not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORDwas not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
Elijah just came from a glorious victory over 400 prophets of Baal. Now he was afraid of Jezebel the Queen and was on the run. God told Him to get to the mountains, and when he got there, God asked Elijah “What are you doing here?” Elijah answered that he was all alone serving God in the nation, and now they were out to get him. God told him to go stand on the mountain before the Lord and we see the events listed above. A strong wind, an earthquake and a fire passed by Elijah, but God was not in any one of them.
We often look for God in the hustle and bustle of this world, or when our worship services are really going well and the praises are being lifted high in the church.

Being from a Pentecostal church, I love it when we shout and sing praises to the Lord. I love the high praise, which is what I call it – when the drums and the guitars and the keyboard and the singers are turned up on high volume and the church and all the grounds are filled with the praises of the Lord. But as much as I love that, it is rare to hear God speak during those times. It is when things quiet down that God speaks with a word of prophecy or tongues with an interpretation is brought forth.

I will never forget the prophecy that came forth upon me in August of 2010. We were in one of those tent revivals and had just finished a rousing worship service and heart thumping hour of preaching. The room was quiet and the man of God came up to me and said “Because you have been waiting patiently and crying out to God to use you once again, God is going to do a new thing in you. Something you haven’t done before and do not expect. And that new thing will be for God’s glory, and it will produce praise and glory to His name. It is not something you will do, but something He will do. It will spring out of your heart so that all will see that it is God that is doing this thing, and not you.” I was in tears when this was spoken. I had been out of ministry for over 3 years because of sin in my life, and I as so hungry for God to move. Two months after this, God started to give me worship choruses, songs and poems, and that has not stopped. Over 2,000 poems, songs and worship choruses have flowed through the Holy Spirit into my heart and onto paper. They are still coming today. When God speaks to us it will come to pass!

Psalm 29:3-9 King James Version (KJV)
3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
7 The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.

Psalm 29:3-9 is one of the best portions of scripture to see a description of the voice of the Lord, Look at the attributes David gives to the voice of the Lord: It thunders upon the waters, it is powerful and full of majesty, it breaks the cedars (these are the strongest of trees), it fills with joy like a young calf, it divides fire, it shakes the wilderness, makes the animals bear their young, and it discovers the forest.

With these attributes, why does He remain so quiet with us? It is because He wants to be close to us and have that personal one-on-one with us. If He spoke to each of us in full volume, it would be heard for dozens of miles away, like thunder is, and it would be seen from hundreds of miles away, like the lightening is. It would break our houses and shake the land. His voice is so powerful that the Israelites decided they wanted God to speak to Moses and then Moses would speak to the people, because they heard the thundering of His voice and were afraid (Ex 20:18-21)

John 10:1-5 King James Version (KJV)
1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you are His sheep and you will know His voice. Do you know the voice of the Lord when it comes to you? Can you recognize it from the voice of the enemy? They are both speaking to us, but only one speaks with things that line up with the Word of God. This is another reason you have to know the scriptures and rely on the Holy Spirit to bring them to your remembrance when you need them.

Do you remember the portion of scripture in Matthew 4 when Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days? Satan tempted Jesus and he even used a portion of scripture to do it! He said “He (meaning God) will give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee.” These verses can be found in Psalm 91. But Jesus knew His scripture and He knew the enemy had left out just 4 little words that drastically change the meaning of these words. “In all they ways” – that means in the everyday life you live. It does not mean He will prot4ect us if we decide to jump off a cliff, or in front of a train. Jesus told the enemy that he shall not tempt the Lord His God. We should never do that! If the enemy came to you quoting scripture, would you know if he was accurate? Jesus used scripture from Deuteronomy all three times the devil approached Him.

I have long been an advocate of reading the bible through in a year at least once in your young Christian life. I have done it at last 6 times through my 40 years of being a Christian. Not when you first get saved, but sometime after that would be better. The reason I believe that is important is two-fold. First, it gives you the whole story, and you are better able to connect the New and Old Testament. Second, Jesus told us the Holy Spirit would bring things to our remembrance (John 14:26). How can He bring it to your remembrance if it is not already in there? Now I do believe that the Holy Spirit can give you scripture from anywhere in the bible, but it is better for you if it is already there ready to utilize when you need it.

I got a little sidetracked there, but my point is that you need to know scripture so that when you hear that quiet voice, you will be able to discern if it is God or the enemy. Remember, Satan can appear as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). We need to know our bible!

In Matthew 13 Jesus gives the parable of the sower and the seed and explains what it means to the disciples.

18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;
21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Jesus lets us know here how important listening is. We will also refer to this portion of scripture in our next lesson – Accepting the Response. The first person is the one who receives the seed – the word – by the way side. The way side is hard, trampled down dirt, and the seed cannot take root at all. It is gobbled up by birds the moment it is cast down. These are those who think they already have all the answers and are not even willing to listen to exhortation or another differing view. There is a lot of pride in this person, and I have been there in the past. When God tries to speak to them, if it’s not what they want to hear, they don’t let it in at all. They are almost in a place where they refuse to hear the voice of the Lord, even though they have prayed and asked for a response. If it’s not what they want, they won’t hear it.

The second one is the one represented by the stony ground. The word comes in and takes root, but then tough times come, it is forgotten and cast off. The voice of the Lord makes a first impression, but if it does not take care of the trial or test completely, that person forgets the mercy that has already been extended and backs off from what God has said. Boy, would I be in trouble if I did not recognize the little mercies (and big ones) He has granted me and spoken to me while going though this cancer business. His voice is always speaking, guiding and directing. I keep asking for healing, complete healing, and slowly but surely it is coming. It would be very easy for me to say “Well, God has not completely healed me, so I guess He is not answering my prayers,” or “God has not made my songs big hits yet, so I guess He is not hearing my prayer”. God IS healing me – one step at a time. God is still sending me songs – His purpose is known unto Him – who am I to question it. I will not allow my circumstances to outweigh His mercy!

The third person is the one who accepts the voice of God and what it has to say., and the word takes root and blooms in them only to eventually be choked out by the world and the mockers. Have you ever had someone who says to you – “God did not do that, the doctors did”. Or maybe it was more like “God would not tell you something like that – you must be dreaming”. We hear those words, and we stay quiet after that about what God has done, or what He has said. Why? Because the world chokes God’s word right out of us. The voice of the Lord becomes silenced in that particular case because we were intimidated by the voices of this world.

And the last of course are those that hear the word and take it in. They study it out and know that it was God that was talking to them. They stick with it and grow and are fruitful because of it. We need to be like the last the ones that take in the word and act upon it. Don’t let the world, or your problems, or anything else rob you of what God has said. No one else knows what God has said to you, unless you have told them, or unless God has revealed it to them. It is important to seek Godly counsel in the form of a pastor or mentor on critical decisions, as long as you know those people you are asking are filled with the wisdom of God. But remember – if you are going to do that, be ready for God to speak through those people!
Always keep in mind that His still, small voice is the one that created the universe. It is the voice that hung the stars in place. It is the voice that started the earth, sun and stars rotating in their own ways. His voice is the most powerful force in the universe, and He is speaking to you on a regular basis. Psalm 46:10 says “Be still and know that I am God.” It is in the stillness of life that He comes to us and speaks to us. Make sure that, in your prayer time, you allow time for God to speak to you!

The last thing I want to mention is out of Exodus 29:20 where we read that the ears of the priests were anointed. Are your ears anointed to hear the word of God? Faith has to be applied to hearing just as much as it does to anything else, because without faith it is impossible to please God. Are your ears ready to hear with faith, nothing wavering, or is your faith double-minded? Will you accept the voice of the Lord when it comes, or will you toss His words up in the air and say I’m not sure whether that’s God or not? Are you ready to accept His response even if it goes completely against what you would like? That will be our next lesson!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 3C – We Must Expect a Response

Now that we know we have been heard and we know that God understands us because we’re speaking in faith, we should expect a response. Expect means to look forward to or to look on as likely to happen or to anticipate. I would guess that all of us, when we come to the Lord in prayer, come with this attribute in high gear. We want an answer and we know that God is able to supply those answers no matter how difficult the situation. We are going to look at three different words that are used in the Bible to signify waiting and expecting. There are more, but for sake of brevity, I would rather use only 3. All of these words show an understanding that the waiting, the expectation, will be answered.

The first word is from the Old Testament and is the Hebrew word qavah. It is translated wait or look for or looking for. It denotes an anticipated response in due time.

Psalm 40:1 King James Version (KJV)
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
Is this the way we wait for God – patiently? Or do we get anxious wondering when, oh when, will He give me an answer. Patience is essential in our waiting. We have absolutely no control over when God will answer, and whatever we are going through is in His hands. He will decide when to lift the burden. In James 1:2-5, we are told that a trial comes to test our faith and teach us patience. Do you learn this lesson when going through difficult situations, or do you fret and stew because the answer has not yet come. Look at the promise of this Psalm. If I wait, He will incline to me and hear me. I picture a loving God leaning over so I can whisper in His ear. What a powerful portion of scripture.

Lamentations 3:25 King James Version (KJV)
25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
God will never disappoint you if you are waiting for His answer, not your own. If you are looking for what you want, then perhaps you will be disappointed, but that is not God’s fault. He always sends the best answer, the good answer. We just need to put ourselves in a place of waiting and anticipating His response.

Isaiah 40:31 King James Version (KJV)
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
I’ll guess most of you figured I would be using this verse. It is probably the most well-known verse on waiting. The promises contained here are staggering to me. God tells us, through Isaiah, that if we will be patient and wait for His timing in our lives that He will strengthen us. That means to me that He will give me the strength in the middle of my struggles to wait for His perfect response. That strength will carry me through the trouble until he decides to bring the solution. That strength will help me to run and not grow weary, and walk and not faint. I do not have to worry about falling short or about not finishing well – His strength will carry me through. In the meantime, I can soar above my troubles like an eagle soaring above the ground. I can be confident to rise above the struggles! What a mighty God we serve.

The next word is the Greek word ekdechomai. It means to look for or expect.

John 5:2-4 King James Version (KJV)
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
In these verses we see the people at the pool of Bethesda. They come here because an angel comes down every once in a while, and troubles the water. The first person who sets foot in the pool after the troubling of the water is healed. Now that’s a miracle in itself and anyone who goes to that pool should be expecting an answer because they have seen answers before. This word talks about people who are waiting for something that is a certainty. They know that the pool will be troubled and they know that the first person in would be healed so they waited, They just have to wait for the angel to come. We should so wait for our answer from God – that it is a certainty and we should be ready to receive it whenever it comes.

James 5:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
I live in Iowa and farmers amaze me. They invest thousands of dollars in seed, spend hundreds or hours preparing the soil and their machinery, and don’t get a result for 90-120 days. They know the seed will produce fruit and they just need to wait until the appropriate time to gather that crop. They expect the seed to produce. I don’t know any farmer who ever has planted who does not expect a return on that planting. He just waits for what He knows is coming. We should have the same expectation with our prayers. They are seeds planted and God will provide an answer when the time is right.

1 Peter 3:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
This time the word describes God waiting! God waited on those preparing the ark. He knew for a certainty it would be completed someday and He would send the flood. There is no doubt in God’s mind that this was going to happen – it was just a matter of time. God will always waits until we are truly ready to receive the answer, never early, never late. We might think His timing is off, but it is not. His answer will come once He knows we are prepared to receive it.

We see in all three uses of this word that these are not answers set to our time. They are answers that take a little while and we have to wait until the appropriate time. That is how God works. He gives us an answer in the appropriate time and we should be in an attitude of expectation to receive from Him when He’s ready to give.

The next Greek word is prosdakao. This word means to watch for or look for.

Luke 1:21 King James Version (KJV)
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
Zacharias had gone in to do his duty and burn incense in the temple. While he was in there, behind the veil, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him that his wife would give birth to a son. This son would be mighty for God, and would be named John (John the Baptist). Zacharias was much longer in lighting the incense than normal and the people were waiting for Him, wondering why it was taking so long. This type of expectation is one that knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that something is coming. We need to be certain that we will receive an answer. Even if it is delayed longer that I would like or expect, I need to know He will answer. God always answers our prayers!

Luke 3:15 King James Version (KJV)
15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
People were waiting to be baptized and they had long been expecting the Messiah to come. It was a foregone conclusion that He would come someday. There was absolutely no doubt in their minds. Now they wondered if John the Baptist was that Messiah, that answer to their expectation. This is the kind of expectation we should have when we pray!

But we must also be wary to wait for the right answer, not just any answer. John the Baptist was not the answer. In my current situation, I could be thinking God has answered my prayers because I am in remission – the cancer is gone! But I have not received the whole answer yet. I am believing for complete healing – neuropathy and tiredness will be gone as well. I need to continue in a state of expectancy for the full answer to my prayers. Glory to God!

Acts 3:5 King James Version (KJV)
5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

Peter and John were entering the temple one day and saw a lame man begging for alms. They approached the man and told him to look at them. He looked at them and it says he expected to receive something from them. He had no doubt in his mind that these men would give him something. The man expected to receive money, bit Peter and John had something much more precious. They gave him back his legs!

God answers our request, and it is always His best for us that is given in response. It may not be what we expected to receive, or what we asked for, but we can know of a certainty that if we wait on His timing, it will be the best thing for us. Again, with this definition we see the type of expectancy that we should all have. One that knows there will be a response and that it is soon to come. We should never stop being in this expecting state.

How good are you at waiting? Are you always in a position that you expect a response, and are you willing to wait for God’s perfect answer for your life? Are you drawing strength from God to endure the wait? Are you soaring above the problem while you wait? God loves us and He will answer in His time. We should expect that. Patience is all we need to enjoy the time of waiting. Let us wait on Him with expectation!

Next, we will discuss the fact that while we are waiting, we must be listening for a response. So often God will answer, and I will not hear His reply because I am not paying attention. Hopefully, we can learn better to listen to Him!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 3B – We Must be Understood

If I decide to travel to a foreign country as a missionary or just on vacation, I need to have an understanding of the language that is being spoken. If I do not then it will be very difficult to have effective communication with the people that I am talking to.

I’m an insurance salesman. When I talk to clients about the products that I sell, I need to talk in language that they will understand. It would be easy for me to list off the benefits quickly and use all the acronyms that insurance tends to have. But if I don’t show them how those things will benefit them then I will not be communicating effectively with them. They will hear me but the benefit of my programs will go right over their heads.

It’s one thing to be heard and it’s another thing to be understood. Now we can go to God with all the prayers we want but we have to speak in a way that He understands. I know that God knows every language on the face of the Earth. This is not a language issue. This is an issue of going to God with a heart and words that communicate with Him on the level that He wants to communicate with us.

Being understood is the second key pillar in carrying on effective communication in our prayer life. And there is one key ingredient to being understood by God – faith. If we talk to God with faith then He understands our prayer.

Hebrews 11:6 King James Version (KJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The author says it is impossible to please God without faith. You might ask what about the unbeliever who reaches out to God and asks in prayer. Romans 12:3 tells us that God has given to every man The Measure of Faith. I believe that what this means is that everyone is given the same amount of faith to start with, we just all have that faith given out to different areas of our life.

For example, I have decided in my life to place a large portion of my faith in God. I have enlarged that faith in God because I have diligently sought Him and have spent a lot of time in His word. I still place some of my faith in other things, like my bank, my insurance company, my car, my house (that it won’t cave in), etc. My brother on the other hand, places his faith in science. He trusts science to give him that answers to the things I have faith about, like the origins of the universe and this earth. He has some faith in God because I have heard him say he will pray about certain things. If he would diligently seek God, a larger portion of the faith he has been given would start to trust God.

Even the unbeliever who reaches up to God and asks for healing for a loved one or for knowledge and wisdom when looking at a new job will catch God’s ear because they are extending just that small amount of faith that’s needed for God to hear them.

Hebrews 11:6 also tells us that that our faith must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. If that doesn’t tell you that He answers prayers, I don’t know what does. Those rewards are the answers to our prayers. When we call out to God in faith we are automatically implying that He is and we are automatically implying that He will reward us in our prayer. What’s the use for calling out to Him if we don’t think that’s true? As we seek after God, most often we learn about Him through His Word.

Romans 10:17 King James Version (KJV)
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Diligently seeking Him means that we give all we have to search for God, His will, His Word and His mission for our lives. We do this through reading the word, and through meditating on that word. As we do, that measure of faith He has given us points more and more to faith in God. as we believe in God and believe that He is a rewarder of those that seek Him out.  That seeking also produces more faith in us and we will be understood even better as we grow in our Christian faith.

On the other side of the spectrum are those that don’t have full trust in their prayers. In James, they are called double-minded.

James 1:6-8 King James Version (KJV)
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

The double-minded man is someone who doesn’t ask in faith, he just asked because it’s a popular thing to do.  He doesn’t really think that God will accomplish what he is asking for. James compares this to a ship and is tossed to and fro in the wind. I think of the movie The Perfect Storm when they are being tossed about. Or the disciples on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus was sleeping during the storm. They woke them and He calmed the storm and said “Oh ye of little faith”. (Matt 8:23-27). Did Jesus really expect them to calm the storm, or did He say this because He had told them they were going to the other side, and they doubted that they would make it? The disciples at this time, in the middle of the storm, were double-minded. They just did not know what to do in such a storm.  James says a double-minded man should not expect to receive anything from God!

Here are just a few verses that tell us why we should have having faith when we pray:

Jeremiah 32:17 King James Version (KJV)
17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:
Philippians 4:13 King James Version (KJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Mark 11:23-24 King James Version (KJV)
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Matthew 17:20 King James Version (KJV)
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
All of these verses, and many more, tell us that faith makes things possible that we might deem impossible. I could go through whole a whole litany of impossible situations that were turned around because people believed God but I’m not going to do that. Instead I can just use my own testimony the short version.

In March of 2016 I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma stage 2. Stage 2 typically is not very favorable. But from the very outset I believed God and I believed He had a plan. I stood on my life-verse – Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  I was calm, and just trusted Him. I never doubted His mercy.  I went through two stem cell transplants in the period of 6 months. My right shoulder gave out on me for no apparent reason and I’m right handed. I became extremely weak after the second transplant, barely able to walk around with a walker in my home. But I’ve never stop trusting God and knowing that He had a purpose and a reason. In fact, even at my lowest point, I would say “God has been very merciful to me”. I always approached everything with the faith that He was going to completely heal me.

I never had any side effects from chemo, like mouth sores, upset stomach, diarrhea or anything else. None of these things affected me. They told me my shoulder would probably not start working again or if it did it would take at least 2 years. It started working in 8 months and it is almost back to normal. The neuropathy seems to be getting better and I’m still believing God for full healing there.

Many prayed that the diagnosis was wrong, and that I would be instantly healed. I was not. Many, around the world, are praying now that God will continue to move – He is. He had a plan for the 2 years that have gone by so far! God has given me a ministry I never even dreamed of – online!

The Holy Spirit has spoken to me songs and poetry almost daily. Since the beginning of this cancer I have written over 700 poems and songs of praise and comfort, and shared them on my Psalmist page and a Facebook page, which has over 3,000 followers. On my other blog on this platform I have done studies through the books of Philippians, Ephesians, Psalms and James. I have been in the word more than ever in my life. Through all of this I have had thousands of encouraging comments and messages on how people have been touched by the words, a few people have been saved by the words, and some were healed. God gets all the glory!

This is a ministry that most likely would not have happened if I had not been sick for so long. I most likely would not know any of you who are reading this post right now, and I would not have been blessed by your blogs. God had a purpose for this in my life, and the result is only just beginning. As a rewarder of my faith, I know He has more in store. I’m looking forward to the day that I can go out and minister the gift of healing in other churches around the Midwest. God has given me a platform to shout His praises and I intend to do that very thing. All because, when this all began, I prayed the prayer of faith and asked God to use this situation for His glory. I was just clay in His hands.

What are you going through that is hard? Glorify God because of it! Ask Him to use you in the middle of the storm. Ask Him to make you a blessing to others as you weather the storm that has you reeling in life. Don’t allow the situations you face to block out the mercy of God.

God understands faith. To effectively communicate with God first we must be heard and then we must be understood by praying the prayer of faith. In the next lesson we will talk about the Third pillar of communication and that is expecting a response. Stay tuned

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 3A – We Must be Heard – Part 2

We continue on the study how we can more effectively be heard by God. We are using 1 Chronicles 7:14 as a guide for this lesson. In the last lesson, we discussed the first three points in this promise that God gave to Solomon: we must be his people, be called by his name, and then humble ourselves before we go to the next step.

2 Chronicles 7:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

PRAY

This whole study is on the activity of Prayer. We have already spent a lot of time on prayer, and will be going further into it throughout the rest of this study, so I won’t spend much time here. Just a few scriptures to keep the word active.

Mark 11:24 King James Version (KJV)
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

These words of Jesus are very powerful. Putting this in context as we look back in the previous verses. Jesus and the disciples walked past a fig tree that looked like it was in season to produce fruit. When they went up to the tree there was no fruit. Jesus says that the fig tree would not produce any fruit forever. The next morning, they came by the same tree and it was withered and dried up and the disciples were amazed.

When we pray for the right reason it will be answered. This fig tree is symbolistic of those who show on the outside the fruits of righteousness but inside they are dead and non-productive. Jesus wants all of us to be fruitful, not just what people see but what is inside of us. This fig tree was hypocritical in a sense, and we must not have hypocrisy in our lives. He goes on to say that we can move a mountain if we believe. If we are desiring the things of God, our prayers will be answered if we believe that God will answer them. This is not a call that we can pray for anything we want. It has to line up with God’s word. The whole body of scripture on prayer needs to be taken together, not individual verses.

Matthew 6:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Jesus tells us that we should not use meaningless repetitions. He wants us to pray from our hearts with our own words, not our heads  prayers that we have learned. This is a key to being heard, He says. Even those that don’t believe can pray vain repetitions which are words that are just written by somebody to repeat over and over again. They become commonplace and really don’t mean anything to me personally.

My prayers need to be personal ones that tell God what is in my heart. I know that a lot of people pray the Psalms on a regular basis. I would recommend that you not necessarily pray exactly what’s in the Bible, although that is a good thing. I would suggest that you write out the Psalm that you want to pray in your own words and make that your prayer. Psalm 119 is a great place to start because it is full of request to know God’s Word better.

James 5:16 King James Version (KJV)
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James tells us to pray for one another. Intercessory prayer is critical to God and critical to the church. It is much more powerful for us to pray for somebody else that it is to pray for ourselves. Jesus rarely prayed for himself, and when He did it was asking God to help Him do God’s will.. We will be covering intercessory prayer in much more detail in a future lesson.

1 John 3:22 King James Version (KJV)
22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
This portion of scripture tells us that if we ask, we will receive IF we keep his commandments and do things that are pleasing in his sight. That’s a very big IF! God desires to honor our prayers. How much do we want His call on our lives? The more we follow His call and follow His commandments, the more we will see our prayers answered. The prayer of faith is powerful and when we walk in that faith and trust in God’s commandments to guide our path, He will answer

SEEK HIS FACE

We have covered this in-depth in Chapter 2 but it won’t hurt to look at it again briefly.

Deuteronomy 4:29 King James Version (KJV)
29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Psalm 119:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

If we seek the Lord with all our heart, we will find him. As we said before, He’s not hiding. He’s right there waiting and hoping that we will call on Him. God does not force himself upon us, or into our lives. He wants to bless us, He wants to have a relationship with us. God does not move away – it is us who move away from Him.. And if we seek Him with all the we have we will find Him. I believe this applies to absolutely everyone, even those who say there is no God. If they seek Him with all their heart, they will find Him.

Psalm 105:4 King James Version (KJV)
4 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Seeking His face means to be able to stand before Him. I don’t know about you, but I love to be in His presence. But we cannot stand in His presence if we have sin in our lives. We need strength from Him to carry out His commandments so that we can stand in that place. The next portion of this verse deals with the sin we may have. One more verse on seeking first.

Hosea 10:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
We have spent quite a bit of time on this already so I will not spend a lot of time here, but it’s important that we break up the hardheartedness that we may have when we want to seek the Lord. We should prepare ourselves to seek Him because we will find that we get better results. If we come to him with pride and arrogance demanding to see Him that, will not work. We should be walking in His righteousness and mercy.

TURN FROM YOUR WICKED WAYS.

We need to repent of the things that we have done that don’t line up with the Word. If you would like to do a great daily bible study on repentance, I suggest you go to Amazon.com and buy the book entitled “The Walk of Repentance” by Steve Gallagher. It is an amazing 24 week journey, and you will not regret it. We need to walk with a repentant heart on a daily basis because we are sinners saved by grace. There is never a day goes by that we don’t need to repent before the Lord, that we don’t need to turn from our Wicked Ways and come to Him.

Isaiah 55:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
God will have mercy on us if we forsake our wicked ways. That means leaving them behind. Not just our actions, but our thought life as well. God knows all that we think, every word out of our mouth, every action we take. Can you honestly stand before Him and say that there is not a single ungodly thing in your life? I can’t! If I turn away from these things, He will abundantly pardon me. That sounds good!

Ezekiel 18:21 King James Version (KJV)
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
I want to live, and I want to live in close relationship with God. God promises me life if I turn away from my sins and do those things that are lawful land right. This is a promise from God to every man not just a Christian. It is imperative that we get rid of our Wicked Ways

Ezekiel 18:31 King James Version (KJV)
31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
He will give us a new heart and a new spirit when we get rid of our sin. We need this because our old heart is full of transgression and bad deeds. The spirit of this world is within us and it causes us to follow after the statutes of the world. If we turn from our transgressions and our sins, then God will give us these things so that it will be easier for us to steer clear of them in the future. In the New Testament, we read that when we are in Christ, we are a new creation – I needed that once He saved me

Joel 2:12-13 King James Version (KJV)
12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORDyour God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

We need to turn to God and fast, mourn and weep over our sin. Ask God to take it away. He tells us we need to rend our heart. This is an interesting phrase. Throughout the Bible, we can see places where people tear their garments because of sin. This is a sign of remorse and of sorrow over the sin that’s been in the nation or in their lives. Once the sin has been revealed, they would rend their garments. God wants us to rend our hearts instead of our clothing. When we rend our hearts because we are torn apart by the sin in our lives, this is a sign of a contrite heart to God, which He honors. Psalm 5i:17 says that a broken spirit and contrite heart are sacrifices to God that he likes. When we are broken before Him, God is gracious and merciful to us.

THEN WILL I HEAR FROM HEAVEN

After all this has been done. After we humble ourselves and pray and seek his face and turn from our wicked ways then God says He will hear from heaven. This is an exciting promise! Psalm 34:15 tells us that his ears open to the cry of the righteous. Isaiah 59:1 says His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear but our sins have caused us to be hidden from Him, and He will not hear. Psalm 66 18 says if I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me. All these things show us that it is important to come to God in the right manner if we want to be heard!

Let’s finish one more scripture:

1 Samuel 8:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day

The Israelites had decided to choose a person from among them for their King instead of keeping God as their leader. God granted their request and gave them Saul, but He gave them a warning as well. This shows us that God will answer prayer even if sometimes it will be detrimental to us. God warns them that if they do this thing, and take Saul for their King instead of God, there will come a time that they will call on Him and He will not hear them.
I for one do not want that to happen in my life. I don’t want someone on the throne of my life besides God. That includes putting myself on the throne. If God is not King of Kings and Lord of Lords in my life, He just may not hear me when I cry out to Him. He has given us plenty of warning and He has given us this portion of scripture as a guide to be more effectively heard in our prayer life. I for one truly desire my prayers to be heard by God and I don’t want to have any questions in my mind as to whether He heard me or not. So, I’ll do all I can to keep this portion of scripture and to study it and to know what God expects. My prayer life will benefit when I do!