When God Says: “Yes!”

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”

Part 7 of 7

Gathered in the kitchen with our daughter, her husband, and our granddaughter, I was prepping food for dinner. Knowing the troops were hungry, I decided to put out some cheese and crackers to nibble on before our meal. As I set the plate, with a generous portion of brie cheese, down in front of our granddaughter, her eyes became large as saucers and she exclaimed, “Holy moly!” Having a rather advanced palate for her young age, she thought it was all for her! We all chuckled over her exuberance, and I wondered,

What is our response when life gives us so much more than we ever imagined?

Think about the times you’ve been earnestly praying for someone or a situation, and feel you’ve been on your knees forever. And then one day you receive that positive answer from God. Outcomes such as:

  • I have a friend for you, someone to come alongside you in your loneliness
  • It’s time to take a trip you’ve been dreaming of
  • I have a job change for you
  • I’ve answered your prayer for healing
  • Your loved one has accepted Me as Lord and Savior

What is our response? What should our response be?

Be thankful. Luke 17:11-19 shares the story of the healing of ten leprous men by the Lord. It was an outstanding miracle, yet one done quietly, as the cleansing occurred while they were going on their way to show themselves to the priests just as Jesus had instructed them. When the lepers saw they were healed, only one of the men came back to thank Jesus and give praise to God.

Contrast the responses of the nine lepers with King David’s in Psalm 30:2 and 11-12 (NIV): “O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” Following David’s example, I believe we are not to be silent or neglectful in our thanks when God answers prayer.

Encourage other believers with the positive outcome. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV). Positive prayer results edify not only your faith, but also the faith of other believers. Share those victories. We all need to hear about and see those beautiful gifts of answered prayer.

Rejoice in that “Yes” answer! And finally, let us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, NIV). A rejoicing heart is a happy heart. And, I believe our rejoicing in answered prayer gives our Heavenly Father great pleasure.

Our Father loves to listen to and answer our heartfelt prayers, as He desires to bestow good gifts on us, His daughters. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11, NIV). Our response to God’s gracious answers should be an offering of thankfulness, encouragement for others, and rejoicing.

Father God, I thank You for hearing my prayers and petitions. I also give you glory and thanks for Your answers. May I share those positive outcomes with others and rejoice in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Psalm 28:6-7 (NIV): “Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.”

Psalm 66:19-20 (NIV): “But God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”

Psalm 118:21 (NIV): “I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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When God Says: “Go”

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”

Part 6 of 7

From years ago I remember a Christian song with a tongue-in-cheek chorus which goes:

Please don’t send me to Africa
I don’t think I’ve got what it takes
I’m just a man, I’m not a Tarzan
Don’t like lions, gorillas or snakes
I’ll serve you here in suburbia
In my comfortable middle-class life
But please don’t send me out into the bush
Where the natives are restless at night.

“Please Don’t Send Me to Africa” (McHugh and Brown, 1988).

Those lyrics pretty much summed up how I felt about going on a foreign mission trip. Years later, though, I would find myself in the country of Vietnam doing exactly what I said I never would.

When God says “Go,” it’s time to go.

As a woman of faith, how do you know if God is sending you somewhere? My experience, and that of others, shows through the course of continued, routine prayer you may experience “nudges.” Holy Spirit prodding, to be exact. Perhaps you may have heard a sermon about foreign missions or read a compelling book or article, but no matter what, something triggered your thought process. Now you have a sense as you pray that God wants something more from you. Every woman has a conscience which the Holy Spirit enlightens and directs: “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 9:1, NIV).

Next, the idea and/or the geographical location simply won’t leave your mind. And now, that impression is festering inside of you. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’” (Isaiah 30:21, NIV). As you seek God’s direction, the call to go somewhere for Him becomes all-consuming.

Then, events will “miraculously” line up to make this happen. Vacation time emerges, finances materialize, and confirmation from others occurs. Even more importantly, though, it lines up with scripture. God has a plan for you and knows exactly where He wants to send you, and how to get you there. For example, in Acts 16:6-10 the apostle Paul found the Holy Spirit kept him from preaching the word in Asia and instead directed him to preach in Macedonia.

Finally, nothing else will satisfy until you’ve yielded. Don’t be like Jonah who ran away when God directed him to go to Nineveh to preach. He fled in the opposite direction and ended up in the belly of a great fish before he finally surrendered to God’s divine command (See Jonah 1-3). How much better it is to, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts …” (Colossians 3:15a, NIV) rather than continuing in our own course which often leads to discontent.

The spreading of the gospel will not happen by accident, but God will purposely use His people to further His kingdom. My weeks in Vietnam were difficult at times, but lives were touched and I have special memories along with the satisfaction of following when God said, “Go.” Is God telling you to go? Are you available to go?

Father God, I can’t escape the feeling you may be telling me to “Go” into a certain nation to spread your good news. Please grant me discernment about this calling and enable it to happen if it is your will. I’m available to go. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Psalm 96:3 (NIV): “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV): “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Mark 16:15 (NIV): “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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When God Says: “Slow Down”

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”

Part 5 of 7

Many of us know the feeling—insomnia, anxiety, shortness of breath, and perhaps heart palpitations —all physical symptoms of when life is spinning out of control. We’re convinced we’re living life to the fullest, yet with many demands imposed on us we’re staying busy all the time, and neglecting to take some downtime.

Detecting their fatigue after a time of preaching and performing miracles, Jesus admonished his disciples to, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31b, NIV). How often do we apply that advice? It’s difficult to pull back from a go-go mentality or way of life. Even more so if it’s all good stuff we’re doing for church, family, and others. However, as we pray, we may detect God saying, “Slow down.”

God desires our attention and will use any means to slow us down in order to get it.

I’m reminded of the story of Susanna Wesley (mother of John and Charles Wesley—two eighteenth-century Champions of the Faith) who had little time to herself. As the mother of 19 children, with only 10 of them surviving, Susanna encountered numerous challenges and demands. So, when she wanted to pull away and pray, she would cover her head with her apron. That was how Susanna slowed down and took time communing with her Lord, and her children knew to leave her alone when they saw her in this posture. She lived the truth of Psalm 46:10a (NIV): “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Perhaps it’s time for us to take a good hard look at what we’re undertaking. Are we sacrificing quality time with family and other relationships? Are we merely going through the motions of doing or are we actually thriving in the work we’re accomplishing? Is it possible that instead of being too busy, our problem is actually how we do our activities? Often, this is God’s call for us to prioritize, delegate, and work smarter. For each of us it will look a little different, but God desires His daughters to:

  • Come to the quiet.
  • Relax in His creation.
  • Refresh our spirits.
  • And learn to take a Sabbath rest.

We all know the saying, “Life is short,” and if God is calling us to slow down, it is time to heed what we’re hearing. Earlier this year God used a dramatic situation to grab my attention when I passed out on a Sunday morning. After praying for discernment on what to learn from this event, I’m making wiser choices about how I use my time, ensuring there is quality time with my Lord, my family, and friends. Yes, He will use any means to slow us down.

Father God, I hear your still small voice telling me to slow down. Help me to act upon what I’m sensing is your desire for me. I need more of you and less of this busyness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV): “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

Matthew 11:28 (NIV): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV): “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV): “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

© 2017 APearlofGreatValue.org. All rights reserved.

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When God Says: “Grow Up!”

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”

Part 4 of 7

Absorbed in tending to my roses, I halted my activity when a slight flutter of wings appeared off to the side. Up in our blue bird house mounted just outside our fence was a baby blue bird perched in the opening. In the tree next to it, one of the parents was coaxing him along. Suddenly he took the plunge and flew out. Two other blue birds were next in line. The season in their juvenile nest was over, and it was time for them to grow up, spread their wings, and fly.

Just as the bluebirds had to leave their house to learn to fly,

God prods us on in order to march us toward maturity.

Continue reading “When God Says: “Grow Up!””

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When God Says: “First, You Need To ….”

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, over half of Americans (55%) say they pray daily. Women respond as more likely to pray daily than men do (64% versus 46%). With the majority of us women praying, we can logically conclude that there are many different types of answers we receive to our prayers. A Pearl of Great Value will be exploring a few of these in a seven-part series on prayer entitled, “When God Says ….”

Part 3 of 7

You’re praying, but you’re not sensing quite the response you desire. Rather than receiving the direct answer you’re chasing after, the Lord takes your attention elsewhere. Back to you and to where your heart is and to what He wants from you. You perceive that still, small voice saying, “Perhaps, but first you need to ….” You wonder, “First what?” What in the world does this mean when God says, “Perhaps or maybe?”

Often we need to prepare and practice before God answers our specific prayer.

Our Lord may desire a preparatory season from us—a time seeking Him and delving deeper in the Word. A period before He will entrust (fill in the blank) to you. We see in Acts 9:19-29, following the Apostle Paul’s conversion to Christianity, he immediately began preaching in the synagogues and spending time with the disciples. However, Galatians 1:15-2:2 informs us that soon after this, Paul went into Arabia for 3 years and then into Syria and Cilicia for possibly 14 years. There is disagreement among scholars about the exact dates for these years, referred to as the “intermediate years” or the “hidden years,” and we certainly don’t know all Paul was doing then. However, we do know God used those days, months, and years as a time of preparation for Paul and the missionary journeys God would later commission him to take. These were years devoted to study, to prayer, and perhaps to solitude. Years that provided a maturation of his faith and relationship with the Lord. If Paul needed years of preparation, it certainly stands that we will too.

To excel at any sport it requires practice, practice, and even more practice. How much more so will we need to practice when the Lord is preparing us? The gospels give an account of Jesus sending the twelve disciples out to preach the good news of salvation, to heal disease and sickness, and to drive out evil spirits. Dispatched out two by two, He gave them authority, power, and specific instructions (Matthew 10, Mark 6:7-13, and Luke 9:1-6). For the disciples this would become a time of practice—for soon Jesus would no longer be with them physically and they would be on their own (but certainly with the power of the Holy Spirit). By going in pairs, I envision the disciples muttering statements such as, “Well, that didn’t work so well, so next time let’s do it this way ….” This period was like a practice round before the main event. God may want to see us faithful in the small things and following His directions before He entrusts the larger “project” to us.

Sometimes God intends our “maybe” or “perhaps” answers to prayer to lead us deeper. He has a work He wants to do in and through us, but first it will require preparation and practice. 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) exhorts us to, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

Father God, I’m stumbling in my prayer life because I really want something. Help me to turn this around, and enable me to discern first what You want from me. I confidently ask You to prepare me and give me practice for the work you want accomplished in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

Matthew 23:3 (NIV): “So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

James 1:22 (NIV): “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

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