God answers my prayer

It’s a rare Saturday confession, people. (I hope it’s NOT rare to be confessing the truth on Saturday! Rather, hearing from me on a Saturday is not common ;). ) But I had to share this little bit while it’s still fresh.

Yesterday’s post asked if I was diluting the meaning and power of God’s word with my confessions. Reading another blogger’s post had me questioning. I know I can sound flip and sarcastic at times, but I hope to never take that attitude with the Bible or in sharing the truth with others. My purpose in ‘Fraidy Cat Confessions is to overcome fear and everything else that minimizes God’s power and truth in our lives. I do that by reminding myself of what God says, and the more senses I can incorporate the better. So I read it, think it, write it, say it, and by saying it I hear it. Over and over.

As I struggled with concern yesterday, I prayed for God’s voice to be clear, to tell me His thoughts on the matter. When I had peace I opened my Bible for my regular reading and found this:

“As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” Titus 2:1-5 (NLT)

Sweet words that not only fed my spirit, but answered my call for God’s voice to be clear. And a few of you readers responded, too. That was confirmation. Thank you for sounding off!

But none of that is today’s confession. All this only illustrates today’s truth. Have you ever prayed and sat still, quiet, waiting for God to answer? Only to hear the sound of your own breathing, crickets chirping, the neighbor’s car door slamming? I’ve been there many times. Yet, the Bible says God answers our prayers! See Joshua 10:14, Judges 13:9, 1 Samuel 7:9, and Psalm 65:2 for just a few examples. Psalm 3:4 says, “I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.”

I cry out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.

If you can’t remember God ever answering your prayer, I urge you to read your Bible. He often answers in the depths of those pages. Pay attention to the kind and loving words of the people around you. He might use their mouths to bring the wisdom you’re seeking. Whatever you do, keep praying and work at listening for Him. Then write it down! Too many times I go on my merry way only to complain later that He never answers my cries. Today I will record this in my Bible and remember His answer. I will confess the truth.

I cry out to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy mountain.

How do you remember the Lord’s answer to your prayer?

I will pray for those in authority

I’m not a very politically minded person. I know. Shame on me. I should pay closer attention to senators, mayors, congressmen, the President… I do give myself credit for knowing the names of the President and Vice President. I know a few names of the current candidates. And on a good day, I know a bit of what they say they stand for. But I don’t know enough. And (this does shame me), I don’t pray for them.

With 2012 being an election year, we’re going to hear a lot about current and potential future leaders. (Going to? We already are!) The good, the bad, the ugly, and the impossible – it will all be covered ad nauseum by the media. Some of this has value, but we should take everything we hear and test it against scripture.

The most important thing we can recognize is our own power and ability to influence the direction of our country. I’m not talking about voting. That definitely is a privilege, but prayer is a responsibility. For that reason and for the sake of our country and world, I hope today’s confession becomes a daily practice for me.

I will pray for those in authority.

Okay, so I should be praying for the President, the Vice President, cabinet members (does that include the congress and the house??), Secretaries of State and Defense, and on and on. But what do I pray for these people?

1 Timothy 2:1-3 says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.”

I’m so thankful when God answers a prayer immediately! By this, I know how important it is to pray for our leaders “so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” Don’t ever forget the power of your talking to God. He’s listening.

Do you pray for national and world leaders? What are your prayers over them?

I will not get tired of doing what is good

This is perhaps the most important confession to make the morning of my big Christmas shopping day. I repeat it to myself several times before beginning the fearsome trek into the depths of Wal-Mart.

I will not get tired of doing what is good.

If that means smiling at the tired momma who just cut me off in the parking lot or handing the last coveted toy to the shopper next to me, I will not get tired of doing what is good. I will do it in Jesus’ name. And I will pray a blessing over the other shoppers. I will.

I will.

The Bible promises that if we do not get tired of doing what is good, we will reap a harvest of blessing at just the right time (Galatians 6:9). No, I don’t believe this harvest is related to piles of Christmas presents at 50% off. Isn’t it a great realization that praying is in itself a blessing? It touches us as much (or more than) the person we pray for. We have been given access to the very throne of the Almighty God, the freedom to lay our thoughts, worries, requests, and praises at His feet.

Now that’s a harvest of blessing. So say it with me:

I will not get tired of doing what is good.

Even in the mall parking lot. The food court. Toys R Us….

What’s your harvest of blessing as you do good?

I will think about things that are excellent and praiseworthy

Sometimes I find it hard to pray when my mind is not where it should be. When I’m thinking of the car that cut me off on the highway, or something annoying someone said in the grocery aisle, or work and finances and worry.

Yesterday’s confession told us to pray about everything. Today’s confession helps us get our heads in the game so we can pray.

I’m convinced the biggest battleground we’ll ever experience is in the mind. It manifests in the physical world, but it begins in the mind. Satan plays tricks, and he uses our thoughts to gain a foothold. Anger, pride, jealousy, inferiority. He plants a seed and we allow it to take root in our minds. It’s all a game to him. Maybe that’s why Paul told the Philippian church, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

I will think about things that are excellent and praiseworthy.

When we put our thoughts where they should be, we’re better able to connect with the Spirit. We talk to God with sincerity and respect, and we can hear when He talks back. If that doesn’t make Satan tremble, he’s not paying attention.

Where are your thoughts? What can you think of that’s praiseworthy?

I will pray about everything

My husband likes to play the devil’s advocate with me. I state my confession and he throws lightning fast questions that seem to contradict the truth of God’s word. The fun in this is hearing a distorted perspective. It’s fascinating to see how the enemy might twist words, using my own weaknesses to make me doubt what I read in the Bible.

Last night’s “game” centered on prayer. He said we can pray, but God doesn’t always grant our requests. True, I said. But what are we praying for? Our will, or God’s? I don’t pretend to know the intricacies of prayer, but I know the Bible says to ask anything in His name (and remember all that goes into asking in His name: grace, peace, love, and all that) and He will grant it. See John 15 for more on that.

I told my husband that the important thing is to continue praying, as Philippians 4:6 says. Maybe we won’t get what we ask for, but God knows our hearts better than we do. After all, did I really want to be a star on Broadway? I don’t like bright lights shining in my eyes. Do I really want to live in that gigantic house? It is a lot of space to get cluttered and dirty. To maintain. To clean. Constantly.

Ahem.

I will pray about everything.

How can we hear from God if we’re not open to Him? If we quit talking to Him, we can no longer see His hand at work. Our hearts get hardened to His grace and mercy. Our ears close to His voice. That’s a dangerous place to operate. Even if we’re only praying that we feel abandoned or bitter, or telling Him we don’t know how to pray, He’s listening. Start talking!

Have you allowed something to close your mouth to God?

God answers my prayer

Yesterday’s confession was that God hears my voice. Knowing that truth begins to ease my feelings of hopelessness and isolation. Today’s confession takes another step.

It’s a wonderful thing to be heard, isn’t it? To be understood. To be loved so much that someone takes the time to listen and validate me. Warm fuzzies abound. But does it stop there? We’re heard, and then we go on about our business with no outward change? My warm fuzzies are cooling and going flat.

The God of the universe is abundant in love and grace and mercy. He never ‘stops there.’ Psalm 65:5 says, “You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior.”

God answers my prayer.

But not only does He answer it, he does so faithfully and with awesome deeds. Who am I that God should hear me? Who am I that He should answer me? And who am I that He should show me faithful and awesome things?

I am His beloved, His creation. Begin your day with the knowledge that you are God’s beloved and His creation. He longs to hear your voice and faithfully answer you with awesome deeds.

What awesome things has He done in your life? I’d love to hear them!

The Lord hears my voice

Do you ever feel like the Invisible Man or Woman? Talking and no one is listening?

It’s not an uncommon thing in my house for no one to hear my voice. If the littles aren’t screaming or the dog isn’t barking, my husband is running a very loud power tool. I get drowned out in the gaiety of life. It’s easy to drown out others, too, in the enormous tide of noise happening at all hours. Our minds are cluttered with news, music, cell phone texting, ipods, portable computers, traffic, and the demands of others. Even when there is silence, there is deafening noise inside our heads.

And if it’s easy to drown out the physical voice of the person beside us, how easy is it to ignore the voice of God?

What a relief to realize that God hears my voice inside the rubble, no matter if I hear Him or not. Psalm 55:16-17 says, “But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice.”

The Lord hears my voice.

This scripture is so rich with comfort because it promises even more than God hearing me. It says that he will rescue me. When I read further, it says that He ransoms me and keeps me safe. What a great and loving God! In these difficult days, we should be crying out to Him morning, noon, and night with the certainty that He hears us, He rescues us, He ransoms us, and He keeps us safe.

Be blessed today knowing the depth of God’s love and protection over you. And when the darkness tries to crowd in and say your prayers are pointless, remind yourself that the Lord hears your voice. No prayer is ever pointless if it’s directed in honesty and sincerity to the Almighty God.

Has the Lord heard your voice today?

Peace that surpasses all understanding

Don’t you love it when everything comes together? The sun shines, a gentle breeze blows, my kids get along, and I can think. Thinking is highly underrated in my opinion. On days like this, I can muster every marble in this feeble brain and string together a sentence or two that actually makes sense. It doesn’t happen often enough. But it seems to be happening today. So I give thanks for a break in the relentless fear that tries to drown me. I give thanks for a moment of calm in the midst of chaos. I give thanks for His peace.

And I wait for it to end.

Confession: Even on these good days, I’m plagued with thoughts of the darkness. When it will return, how dark it could get, and how long it might last. I know this is not His perfect will for my life. The God of the universe loves me and desires my peace. Why else would He give it to me?

Truth: Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

What truth are you declaring over your situation? I’d love to hear about it!

Make the darkness flee

Confession: The sun shines today, but my soul hides in darkness. I cower from what I think is the truth. That God will not provide, that He doesn’t think enough of me to bring me out of the disaster that I’ve become, that I’ll never get better. Self-publishing my books won’t happen because I don’t even have the measly amount required to put out a decent product.

In the midst of this downpour on my mind, I pray. Please show up, God. Forgive me for my unbelief.

God shows up in two ways this morning. Probably more, but these two I can see for being His.

First, my critique partner sends me a very encouraging blog by an author who recently began self-publishing. The author didn’t listen when people told her something wouldn’t work. She found out how to do it, and she did it.

Second was the verse of the day on Biblegateway.com. It amazes me how the dark always flees when I turn to prayer and the Bible. I leave that verse of the day as today’s Truth.

Truth: Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. Hebrews 10:35-36

And this: The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Jeremiah 31:3

BONUS! Yahweh Yireh: And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” Genesis 22:14

What about you? Are you discouraged today? How has God spoken encouragement to you in the darkness?