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Trusting God in prayer

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Listening to His voice...

Has anyone ever said to you, "listen to God, wait on His voice"? Chances are (as a christian), someone has said that to you, or perhaps you have said this to someone else?
But how well have you practiced this? And do you really believe it. Do you really believe that if you wait on the Lord that you will hear from Him? That He will answer your prayer(s).
Now, does that sound like a silly question for a christian? Perhaps so, but think a little more about this. Have you ever asked yourself, "will I hear from God if I ask Him a question?"
...I would venture to say you have!
Now, if your like most christians. You have asked the Lord a "myriad" of questions. Some of those you may, or may not have received an answer. Perhaps you are still waiting, or even given up?
Let's be honest though. One of the hardest things to do as a christian, is to wait on God's voice. To wait and trust that He will answer our requests. That He will guide, direct us in this life. For His will for our lives.
What often happens though?
We don't wait on Him, or we give up. We may even assume and make decisions based on what we want to hear, or "assume" we are hearing. Choices that in turn. Can have detrimental effects on the rest of our lives.  ...Or the lives of others!
In the end we end up blaming God when things do not go well for us. We end up resenting God. We end up blaming Him for rash choices and decisions we have made ourselves. Why? All because we did trust Him. Because we did not trust that He would answer us if we waited.
When I was praying this morning. The Lord spoke to my heart about this very thing. You know we go through this walk of faith, rarely ever using "faith eyes" to see. Instead we use "carnal eyes". We walk as if everything we see, sense, touch, feel, hear, etc. Is what we gauge our decisions on. What we sense in our flesh that is "real". Not much different than the world we are suppose to be "set apart" from.
 ...Ironic eh?
You see, we do not practice what Paul said to us in 2 Corthinians 5:
          "For we walk by faith, not by sight"
                      (2 Cor. 5:7 NKJV)
Rather we will ask God. We then (may) wait for a time. Then after we tire of waiting, or we do not "hear" what we want too. Either because we do not hear an answer yet, or we feel Him saying "no". We make our own decisions.   
                              ...Then suffer the consequences later.
Why do we do this? Why is it so hard for us to wait on God.
Why are we so impatient with Him?
You know we live in an age today. Where everything is instant! There is almost no waiting. Go to the fast food drive thru...."a whole meal in less than five minutes". Go to the store. See something you like, "what no money? No problem! No need to wait!" "Just get a new credit card today!" "...And save five percent (yeah right)!"
In todays world. We can have most anything we want instantly. And we think any waiting is an inconvience, in many cases even an injustice to us!
In fact one of the longest times, we can wait for these days. Is ordering our car tag renewals in the mail! Mine took almost four weeks this year. Shame on them! Don't they know? Im use to having my own way. Now, does that sound ridiculous? Of course! But that is how most of us, if we were honest, think these days. Is it not?
So what is this all getting at? We expect God to be the same way as McDonalds, or some other fast food restaurant. Even more so as He is God of all things, all powerfull.
We make our request, and we complain if we do not receive the answer immediately. Sometimes we may "allow" a little longer. We say things to ourselves such as, "well, I'll give Him three weeks, but if I don't hear anything......"
But how well does our impatience work out in the long run?
Not well at all!
So why are we so impatient with Him? Is it just because we live in an "instant" world. Yes, this is part of it. But there is more. And something much more important.
Let's be perfectly honest. Many of us, if not all, have huge issues with trust!
As human beings, trust is a problem for all of us.
We have a hard time trusting that God will answer us. Not only that, but that He will lead us where we need to go.
You know, it's a shame that many of us have not REALLY been taught to trust in God.
Now, that doesn't mean just being "taught" in church, sunday school, or small groups to trust God. It means being taught "how to trust in God".
Do you remember what Jesus said in Luke 18?
 "But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
                                 (Luke 18:16 NIV)
Why do you suppose Jesus said this? Because He loves children, adores them. Yes! But there is so much more to this. You see children are by very nature "trusting". From early childhood they learn to look up too, and trust their parents. Most often, never questioning. Not "rationalizing" what they are told. Trusting completely though, that their parents have their best interests at heart. Not like us today!
You see Jesus was making a very important point here. The kingdom of God belongs to "SUCH as these". Those who put their unwavering trust in Him!
And it does not matter, whether it is a child, or a teenager, or and adult.
And let me put it a little differently for you. Those who are willing to put an unbridled "child-like" faith in Him!
Now, does that sound a little different? Perhaps, but "trust" and "faith" are interchangeable!
But just as children who grow up and not only question their parents and find out they are not perfect. And begin to mistrust them. We do the same thing with God! We put Him in this category also. That He will let us down, like our earthly parents. Especially if our earthly parents were a huge disappointment!
But God is nothing like our parents.
His word is His word, He is perfect, He is trustworthy:
"He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just.
 A faithful God who does no wrong,
    upright and just is he."
     (Deuteronomy 34:4 NIV)
And sadly enough? God also gives us His unmerited favor (Rom. 5:80). While we give Him our merited favor! Depending on whether we "beleve" He deserves it. yet He has never done anything to deserve that from any one of us.
He is ALWAYS faithful:
 "Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does."
                            (Psalm 145:13 NIV)
He is trustworthy, He is just, He is perfect, He is God!

But, you see as we get older, we are no longer like children. We have been "tainted" by the world around us. Our past (and present) experiences. Then, when we finally come to know the Lord. We do not fully give ourselves over to Him and trust Him. Not only for our salvation, but to lead us through this life.
What is the answer? We must become like children again:
 "And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
                             (Matthew 18:3 NIV)
Not only, to come to God, but to be led by God!
And we also need to take a step back and look at all the examples that He has given us. To graciously and gently remind us, that we are not alone! We are not the only ones that have waited on Him, or struggled in this life.
Such as Moses. When Paul spoke about him in the book of Acts:
When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his own people, the Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, ‘Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?’

 “But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

                               (Acts 7:23-29 NIV)

Moses thought the people would realize that God was using him to deliver them. However Moses took matters into his own hands. He did not know yet how God would use him. What happened? Moses fled and spent forty years in the desert. Then God spoke to him:
After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.

 “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’

                               (Acts 7:30-34 NIV)

By this time? Moses was eighty years old when he was called back to Egypt to lead the children of Israel out.

Now, is that a long time? Yes, but this is the point. Moses knew even then, before he had fled from Egypt. That God was using him to deliver Israel. Yet, even after Moses had made the mistake of assuming how this was to take place. Taking matters into his own hands. By attacking the Egyptian. God was still faithful! He used it to bring about His plan and will. Moses fled to the desert where God "refined" him for His purpose.

And there are scores of others that God has worked in their lives! Job, David, Samson, Jeremiah, Peter, etc. Were they perfect? Not by any means! Yet they all had one thing in common. They kept looking to God!

Even when the times were hard. They kept trusting Him!

Such as the sons of Korah in the book of Psalms:

"Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
 Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God."

     (Psalm 42:11 NIV) 

And God was, and will always be faithful! Even when we have "messed" up.

You see this all comes down to just one thing. Having that "child-like" faith, that puts our trust (i.e. faith) completely in God. Why? Because God will always be faithful to us!

How is this done? By coming closer to Him. Having a healthy prayer life, reading and studying His word. Spending time with Him. Building our relationship with Him. Having a "healthy" walk.

And choosing that no matter what, you will trust Him, and keep following Him! Each and every day. Even when the "outward" circumstances appear hopeless. Even when you feel like you have failed.

So you see we have to trust that God will answer our prayers to Him. That even if we have to wait. That He is working out things behind the "scenes". That He knows what He is doing, that He is, and has everything in control:

Indeed before the day was, I am He;
      And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand;
      I work, and who will reverse it?” 

                       (Isaiah 43:13 NKJV)

 All we need to do? Become like a child, trust in Him, be patient and wait!

  "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

                              (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

And the Holman Christian Standard Bible version:

 "Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen."

                              (Hebrews 11:1 HCSB)

So the next time you are in prayer for something important. What will you do? Will you trust God and wait on His answer, or will you answer your own prayer. Hope it all works out? The choice is all up to you!

Personally? I'll put my confidence in God!

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
Any questions, comments, prayer requests?

POHOM Columbus, Ohio
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