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?

Continue reading “When God Says: “Yes!””

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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. Continue reading “When God Says: “Go””

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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.

Continue reading “When God Says: “Slow Down””

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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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