Is Prayer Working for You?
Have you ever thought the following thoughts:
"I have prayed and prayed and nothing changes"
"God does not answer my prayers"
"Where is God?"
One day years ago, I sat in our lounge on a sofa. The only sofa in the house. There was no furniture in the house. I lived like a squatter for months. The fridge was empty. I had no money to take the bus for a job interview and therefore I missed the interview. We had nothing and I felt as if I hit rock bottom. While I was sitting there in silence I heard His still small voice deep in my heart: "If I never answer a prayer, will you still love Me and serve Me?" God wanted to test my heart and to see what is in my heart. Was my trust in prayers and answered prayers or in His Character and who He was? That test brought about a pivotal change in my life and walk with God. It was a much needed change for me.
God wanted to test me to see what was in my heart. He who knows everything, wanted me to find out what was in my heart. What did I think about Him? Was my heart being turned to Him in adverse circumstances and in times of blessing?
"And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not," (Deut. 8:2).
God wanted to test me to see if I loved Him. He wanted me to look deep into my heart and to discover how deep my love for Him was.
Deuteronomy 13:1-3, "...God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord..."
God wanted to test me so that I could determine if I would follow Him and obey Him.
Judges 2:21-22, God tests Israel to see if they will obey.
God did not want me to fall back on to want, and to have and to do in my prayer life. To crave and to clutch and to fuss and to be in perpetual unrest.
My prayers were full of what I wanted, what I thought I should have, and what I wanted God to do. It was not surprising when these demanding prayers went unanswered.
I needed to know what was in my heart and why I followed God because the road ahead of me was full of deep ravines and high mountains and I could only walk through the places of testing and trying when I loved God with all of my heart and no matter what happens around me. He wanted my heart and not only my words.
He even took me deeper and He showed me how the legalistic voice inside me begins to say, God is ignoring my prayers because I am not praying the right way and how I tend to intensify my efforts, which often results in practices such as formula praying. I worked hard to find the right prayers and tools to approach God.
He purified my heart and took all the tools I had in my hands that would force Him or manipulate Him into answering my prayers. I discovered that my efforts and concentrating on practices and tools of our faith (and how well we’re doing them) can be a sign of self-centeredness rather than God-centeredness: Have I prayed today? Did I pray long enough, sincerely enough for it to “count” with God?
Oswald Chambers, the author of the classic work My Utmost for His Highest, said, “Beware of being obsessed with consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God.”
It was the day that I laid down all the methods I thought would move God to change my circumstances and in silent adoration, I discovered how to sit at His feet and to listen and ponder His Word and how to wait in silence before Him.
1. What tools are have in your toolbox that you think will move God's hand to help you?
2. If you look into your toolbox do you see the words "faith" and "trust" and what do you understand about faith and trust?
3. Can you obey God no matter what He asks of you?
4. If you say you love God, will you still love Him if your marriage falls apart or if you have to face bankruptcy?
5. What keeps you in perpetual unrest in your life? What is God saying about it to you?