I love the morning….especially the first light of the morning.
A few days ago I awoke very early and looked out the window. I was greeted with a most beautiful sight. Imagine the sky as I saw it, still colored in twilight while being gently blushed with a transparent orange cast rising ever so gently from the horizon. And to my right…a huge brilliant star sparkled. At that moment, I was in awe and humble adoration of Creator God.
In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light,
I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer.
Psalm 5:3 The Voice
Just like that soft light that pushes over the horizon, which I anticipate each morning, is my expectation for God’s answer to my morning prayer.
If you believe, whatever you ask for in prayer will be granted.
Matthew 21:22 The Voice
I know that not everyone believes the Bible literally. In the Gospel of Matthew there is an account where Jesus spoke to a fig tree and it withered. He then told his followers that if they had faith, and didn’t doubt, they could do much more than that, they could tell a mountain to jump into the sea and it would.
Now I have never heard of a mountain jumping into the sea by a person telling it to do that. Seriously, that is hardly practical, the consequences could be highly detrimental to both whatever/whoever lives on the mountain and the sea. But, I think we all can agree that we all encounter difficulties or challenges that feel mountain-sized.
I think that Jesus was telling his followers that whatever they might face, even mountain-sized problems, if they had faith they would receive what they asked for in prayer.
This faith or belief that Jesus was speaking of was beyond a hopeful anticipation, instead it was more like a signed and completed contract that guarantees delivery.
Do not worry about anything, but pray
and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks.
Philippians 4:6 New Century Version
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul admonished the Philippians to pray for everything they needed, giving thanks. It almost seems odd that he would have to tell them to thank God. Yet, I think there is a progression to effective prayers.
We need to have expectant hearts when we pray. We need to pray prayers that expect God to do really big things. I hear people pray all the time, “God, if it be your will, please do __________.” If we spend time with God on a regular basis, we should have some idea that what we are asking is or is not in his will. God does not keep everything wrapped up in secret boxes. We may not know all the details, but we should sense in our spirit the direction we should go.
In my thinking, when we pray asking and end with, “if it be your will, God” we are in essence praying without faith. And since we are also to be always giving thanks when we pray, well, how can we give thanks for something that we wonder about? If we wonder, if God will answer the prayer we asked, we just might not be praying in faith. God is not honored by that prayer, either. Oh, yes, it sounds very humble and spiritual, but really, God is more honored when we ask him to do the impossible. When was the last time you asked for a mountain to jump into the sea?
When we pray a great big audacious prayer we also need to wrap it in gratitude. How is it that the God of the universe cares so much for you that he wants you to ask him for everything you need? If he wants you to ask for everything you need, then I believe that he also wants to supply all your needs. And that to me, spells Y-E-S and is an answered prayer.
If you call a friend to ask if they’ll drop you off at the airport and they say, “Yes,” what is your response? I have no doubt that immediately you will reply with thank you. You might even say it several times in different ways. If your friend tells you that it won’t work in her schedule, you will still say, “Thank you,” won’t you?
When we go to God for something we can ask and keep asking and never stop asking until our request is granted, like the persistent widow. Or, we could ask and then believe God has answered our prayer and thank him for it. And instead of continuing the asking process, continually praise and thank him for the answer to our prayer.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying
and singing songs to God as the other prisoners listened.
Suddenly, there was a strong earthquake that shook the foundation of the jail.
Then all the doors of the jail broke open, and all the prisoners were freed from their chains.
Acts 16:25-26 New Century Version
Not only is God honored by audacious prayers, but when we give thanks and praise God, we move his heart. I don’t think that it is any coincidence that Paul and Silas and all the prisoners were freed from their shackles while Paul and Silas were praying and praising the God.
As we grow in our trust of God, we grow in our prayer life.
Recently I have changed the way I pray. No longer do I pray like the persistent widow. Instead I make my request to God and then I thank him for the answer. Then in subsequent prayer times, I thank God and praise him for his answer which I have not yet seen.
For more than a month now, we have been waiting for Tim’s name to be presented a church’s search committee. He completed the initial interview and vetting process with a professional organization. They in turn will present his name and information along with other names this week to the church.
We were thrilled that he made it to the second round. Initially we had been praying and claiming this position. And then we were prompted to stop asking and thank God instead. Continually.
Once in a while, someone will pray for us, and almost always we hear them pray, “if it be your will, God.” I almost always want to correct them. This position is perfectly suited for Tim and he for the position. We have been waiting for a very long time to be back “in the saddle,” so to speak. We’ve been humbled, we’ve exhausted every resource (outside of God), and we believe that God intends to redeem, restore, and rebuild and that not only will he do that in our lives, but he will do that in this new position, as well.
The other day, a friend wanted to give him a referral for a totally different kind of position….just in case this one doesn’t work out. That seems logical doesn’t it. It’s always good to have a Plan B, or even Plan C or D. Yes? No…not this time. This time we are sold out and asking all our friends to thank God for his wonderful provision. To stand with us in thankful agreement that this job is Tim’s. Period.
To all the world, we may look like we have lost our marbles. We don’t see it that way. Instead, we see it as asking the mountain to be thrown into the sea. We see it as asking God for the impossible. We see it as believing that even before we asked, and Tim submitted his resume, God had already made a way for this “marriage” of man and church. I’ll even go so far as to echo what the officiant says at the conclusion of a wedding ceremony, “Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.” Okay…I’m pretty certain that seems like a huge stretch to you. I assure you, it’s not.
We have been in the waiting room for a few days short of five years. We have a strong sense that this is what we’ve been waiting for. And just like the “Yes” answer for the ride to the airport, we are thanking God daily for his goodness, grace, faithfulness, and trustworthiness in this situation. We’re thanking God that Tim will again be working within his calling and giftedness. We’re thanking God that he is not finished with us. We’re thanking God for his amazing provision. And we’re thanking God for orchestrating every single detail. For battling on our behalf and on behalf of children. We thanking God for the victory in Christ Jesus.
We’ve been praying mountain moving prayers with the faith that’s given to us each day. And we are beyond expectant. We are praising God for what he has done. Want to join us in thanking and praising God for his answer to our prayer? Just like something amazing happened for Paul and Silas….God’s going to move in a mighty way as we thank and praise him, too.
Today is Joy Day!
There is no question…we move the heart of God when we continually give thanks.
And when we do….we receive the blessing of joy.
Join me in looking back over the past week and counting ‘seven’ –
both the good and the not-so-good.
Thank you God for…
- a dear sweet friend, whom I have never met in person, and for her thoughtful, tangible encouragement.
- the best shortcake of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries…and all those berries for just $2.49.
- your Word that guides and encourages my heart each day.
- being able to look forward to what you have next for us, and writing hope in our hearts.
- a loving sensitive husband who strives to reflect you.
- knowing all your promises are YES in Christ Jesus.
- reminding us to not worry or fret, because we can trust you no matter what.
Now it’s YOUR turn!!
Join me in counting ‘seven.’
Scroll down to the comment section…Share Your Extraordinary Thoughts….and list your ‘seven.’
I dare you!
Want even more joy? Take the Joy Dare here.
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