I got a text from a girl at 1 am this week. She was panicked about what direction her life is supposed to go. I started down the rabbit hole with her, asking questions, and felt the Holy Spirit say, “Ask her if she prayed about it.” She answered honestly that she had not.
Please hear my heart, I’m not mad at this person in the LEAST! I have so been there! In fact, the very first time I ever heard God speak to me was about this very thing. I got into a fight with my mom at 16 because I wanted to be an ultrasound technician and tell people if they were having boy or girl babies. We couldn’t afford to send me to OU and had a nice little arguing match about how she was ruining my life. I got into my room *after dramatically slamming the door* and the Holy Spirit said, “Have you ever asked me what I want you to do? I’ve called you to be a kid’s pastor.”
I had been saved for two years and had no idea what a kid’s pastor even did because I didn’t grow up in church. I told my youth pastor what I thought I heard God say and they plugged me into kid’s ministry right away. I started interning and it felt completely overwhelming to me. I was shy, didn’t know any Bible stories, and now I was asked to start teaching them?! I was walking up the stairs to my cubicle at the church right after I had started in kid’s ministry and the Holy Spirit said, “This isn’t all I have for you. You will lead a church with your husband someday.” He likes to totally freak me out.
Here’s the point: we often run to people to tell us who we are and what we should do with our lives. Asking God is often our last thought. I think the reasons for that are different for different people: Some don’t know that they can hear God; others know it’s possible but they aren’t sure how to hear Him; and some, just want someone else to do the work for them. I’m all about community and friendship. We need to be able to lean on each other and lift each other up. But. Jesus is the One we should be going to first. He is our source.
If you could text someone at 1 am and have their full attention, knew that they knew every single detail of your life, and had all the answers, would you go to them? Of course you would! The good news is that God is ALWAYS available and He knows exactly what you need.
“The power of prayer can never be overrated. They who cannot serve God by preaching need not regret. If a man can but pray he can do anything. He who knows how to overcome with God in prayer has Heaven and earth at his disposal.”
This sweet girl who texted me let me know that prayer is overwhelming to her. Her mind wanders and she can’t concentrate. I get it! I have a million things going on. If I try to go into my closet to pray, I’m going to see the 8 loads of laundry that need to be put away (literally), and then I’ll pick out clothes for the next day, and then I’ll get hungry, and… and… It’s so easy to get sidetracked and forget what you went in to pray about, let alone hear any direction from the Holy Spirt.
If I have a question to ask God or am in a desperate situation, I journal my prayers. This is just an example of what I do in case this is helpful for you:
- I climb into my bed because that where I’m comfortable and get my journal and a pen. My phone goes on silent. If my kids are home, I start them a show or tell them to play because Mama needs Jesus. 😉
- I write down everything (literally every word) in my journal so that I don’t forget anything. I ask God how He and I are doing. Is there anything between us that I need to correct? Anyone to forgive? Any offenses to lay down?
- Then I write down whatever is going on and my feelings about it. “God, I need to know what you think about _________. I feel like ______. I’m afraid of _________. “
- Then I draw a line under everything that I said and wait for Him to speak. I have to engage my will to be quiet and actually listen. I write down whatever I feel like He is saying. While I am writing what He is saying, I am not worried about spelling things correctly or if they make sense. He usually speaks pretty quickly to me so I am just trying to get everything down. I read it once I feel like He is done.
- If I have more questions I draw a line under what God said and continue until we are done talking.
- There are usually some tears involved. God always, always, always meets me. I leave with peace even if my situation doesn’t change right away. He gives me His perspective and shows me how He is developing me through what I am facing.
That is my system. I am a hands on learner so writing it down is best for me. My husband will try to spell a word to me so that my girls won’t understand what he is saying and I literally have to grab a pen or draw the letters in the air to have any clue what he’s talking about. You and Jesus will have your own system based on how you take in information. Here is a prayer journaling guide if you want to try it out.
How to know that you have heard from God:
- It can be backed up with Scripture.
- It may be convicting but is grace-centered and kind. God doesn’t put shame or condemnation on His kids.
- It can be confirmed by other leaders in your life.
Now, I do feel like it’s important to explain that God gets to say whatever He wants/whenever He wants. He is God after all. 😉 A couple of weeks ago I was in this same place again, “Who am I? What am I supposed to be when I grow up??!” I drew my line expecting this epic answer and God said, “I know you want an easy answer but I’m not going to tell you that right now. We need to work on ________ instead.” Ha! Well, alrighty then! He’s the boss and His ways are higher than mine.
We can’t leave a conversation with God like that unsatisfied and then go ask other people. “Well, God didn’t give me what I wanted so I’ll go ask someone else.” That is rebellious. It’s like when my kids ask dad for something and he says “no” so they come and ask me. If God says that I don’t need to know specifics about where I am headed right now, then I don’t. My attention needs to be on the thing He told me to work on.
I always make the scriptures bold in my posts because I want you to see God’s Word as infinitely more important than what I have to say. These are all pretty familiar passages. Please don’t skip over them because you feel like you know them. These words are Jesus speaking to you. I want you to take a deep breath and imagine that He is right there with you, speaking this over you today:
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. “When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree,” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 MSG).
That is a promise straight from Truth Himself. When you pray, God listens. He is directing you towards a future that is in His capable hands. Here is another promise:
“The steps of the God-pursuing ones follow firmly in the footsteps of the Lord, and God delights in every step they take to follow him,” (Psalm 37:23 TPT).
When you are following Him, you can’t get lost. It is so so easy to get distracted and start following what we are afraid of or something we see on social media. The verb in that scripture is in present tense. The”God-pursuing” ones means we are meant to be actively pursuing Jesus. Every day. Whether we feel like it or not.
“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 4:6-7 TPT).
I saved this one for last because it fits so perfectly with the prayer journaling I described earlier. God wants to know every detail of our lives and He has a lot to say about them.
When was the last time you met with God? Please hear this with compassion and grace, it is not the Church’s responsibility to have a relationship with God for us. It is her responsibility is to equip us so that we can grow in our relationship with Him.
“The proof of His kingdom doesn’t come on Sunday morning when the congregation is watching. It comes during the week when you’re alone. It’s not about how loudly it’s declared, but how soundly it’s lived. It’s easy to make a show of it through forceful words, but the real measure comes in the quiet times. When transgression takes hold, discord sets in, discontent reigns, patience evaporates, and every other fruit of the Spirit withers, the kingdom of heaven is not present. Even so, it is still near. It’s just a matter of changing our mind and renewing our spirit.”
Randy Robison, FaithGateway
We need to see our relationship with God as just that – a personal relationship. Healthy relationships involve two-way communication and sacrifice. They aren’t just invested when things are going well, but are committed in hard and confusing times too. Prayer shouldn’t be our last resort. Let’s make it the first place we run to for help.