When You Pray - Listen

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The disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. They watched his life and saw the power of God demonstrated. It’s interesting to me that they didn’t ask him to teach them to do the miracles. Rather they asked him to teach them to pray because they saw that God’s power was demonstrated as a result of his prayers.

Jesus responded with these words, “When you pray say our Father…” So much is revealed in these first few words. This speaks of intimacy with God as our Father in heaven. Even before this, however, it speaks of our call from God to pray. Everybody is called by God to pray! We must pray! Jesus didn’t say, “if you pray” but he said “when you pray”

During this next season of our church family we want to embrace a strategic pursuit of prayer.

Here is the plan:
    1.    Pray daily asking Holy Spirit for awareness to His promptings.
    2.    Select your favorite worship song to wake up to for this season.
    3.    Play the song as soon as you wake with your prayer list in hand.
    4.    Obey the promptings of the Lord throughout your day – practice!!!
    5.    Considering fasting & prayer as a part of your weekly routine.

We find both in the Old and New Testament that God loves to have conversations with us.

Isa 42:9 See, the former things have taken place, new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. NIV

John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He…will tell you what is yet to come. NIV

Your relationship with the Holy Spirit is one of most important relationships you can work at in your life.

Rom 8:14  All who are being led by the Spirit of God are sons of God NIV

When God introduced Himself personally to our world He introduced Himself as “The Word.” Obviously He’s a very conversational God! Prayer isn’t committing to say certain things before God. Prayer is conversation with God drawing near to his heart. 

Matt 4:4 "..it takes more than bread to stay ALIVE. It takes a steady stream of words from God.." MSG 

Steady Stream suggests normal every day promptings. 

Even secular historians call 20th century C. of the Holy Spirit

In 1900 no Christians claiming a Pentecostal experience.  
By 1945 16 mill Pentecostal spirit-filled experience. Progression over the decades astonishing!
1955 = 27 million / 1965 = 56 mill        
1975 = 97 million / 1985 = 268 m
1995 – 463 mill     / 2000 = 650m

Sociologists say that never in the history of the world has a non-militaristic, non-political, voluntary movement seen this kind of explosive growth.

Exod 33:16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish  us from all the other people on the face of the earth?" NIV

    1.    Pray daily asking Holy Spirit for awareness to His promptings.
    2.    Select your favorite worship song to wake up to for this season.
    3.    Play the song as soon as you wake with your prayer list in hand.
    4.    Obey the promptings of the Lord throughout your day – practice!!!
    5.    Considering fasting & prayer. 

Is it possible for us to really have conversations with God?  Many Christians don’t let the Bible get in the way of what they’ve decided to believe. The Bible clearly tells us how intimate conversation is God’s plan for relationship with mankind.

John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. NIV

Isa 30:21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left.

There was a massive tsunami 12/26/04 was triggered by a magnitude 9 Indian Ocean earthquake killing more than 150,000 people in a dozen countries. National Geographic recently did a report on how just before this took place elephants screamed and ran for higher ground. Dogs refused to go outdoors. Flamingos abandoned their low-lying breeding areas. Regardless of your explanation the reality exists that there is more to our world than meets the eye.

CBS News reports that the average American experiences as many as 5,000 advertisements, or announcements, every day . It’s very easy to become numb to the announcements in our culture. Certainly this is the case with God’s announcements. We are so distracted or entertained that we can’t even hear his voice. When I was a boy I would be so engrossed in a movie that my parents struggled to get my attention. Now my children do the same thing. Perhaps this has been an issue with God and his children throughout the ages!

It’s vitally important that we cultivate a personal atmosphere that fosters conversation with God. Atmosphere really does serve a major role in every area of our lives. The right atmosphere sets the tone for romance on a date. The right atmosphere sets the tone for conversation with God. Wake up in the morning a little early this week every day and create an atmosphere of conversation with God. Brew your coffee, light a candle, turn on some worship music, read your Bible and purpose intimate moments with God. You’ll be amazed at how this will initiate a conversation with God that will continue throughout your day!

Make sure you are taking time to listen and not just speak when you pray. Talking too much is a terrible habit in general. Mark Twain said, “Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had just laid an asteroid.” Talk is cheap in our world because supply exceeds demand.

Matt 25:14-15 "Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. NIV

It’s interesting to me that reading on reveals how the first two servants doubled their investments and said so in just thirteen words. However the third servant, who accomplished nothing, gave his report with more than three times the amount of explanation using 43 words.

When your conscience is at ease you don’t feel the need to explain. As a Principal years ago I can easily recall the nervous chatter that would erupt from students when they knew they’d been caught doing something they shouldn’t. Distractions, blame-shifting and explanations would bubble out like a spewing bottle of root beer. As long as we see God as this distant and angry authoritarian we’ll never relax in his presence and experience living conversation.

Ex 33:11 The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend... NIV