Come expecting

I’m so excited to write this blog today. I have two awesome things to share, the first of which is the way this blog subject came about. I’ve grown accustomed to starting new series on Monday, so I didn’t want to start my look at Joseph today. But I really didn’t have anything else on my heart or in my mind to write about. As I moved into Wednesday, I just sort of let faith take over. When I went to church, in the back of my mind I had faith that something would happen or something would inspire the subject for this blog post. As you’re about to see, that happened in a major way.

So, I’m going to tell you a bit of a long story here. For about three or four weeks now I’ve been working on a plan for an ambitious new ministry I want to start. It’s an idea I had that I think is awesome and incredible and will reach a lot of people and do a lot of good. Last week I started to get more serious about the planning and came to some big realizations. One of those realizations is the fact that if I was to do this new ministry, it would probably mean I would have to leave my job at the newspaper, as this ministry idea would be a full time job. That’s a big deal. I love my job. It’s pretty much the only job I’m qualified to do, and I happen to believe in it and I think it’s important. I’m passionate about community journalism, as anyone who really knows me will tell you.

The second big realization made me a little ashamed and makes me feel like a bit of a moron. In all of my planning and thinking and research into this new ministry, I hadn’t prayed about it once. Not a single time had I sought God’s will and His thoughts on the idea. Yes, I know that’s dumb. It’s super dumb. Here I am getting excited about and planning out this potentially life changing ministry and I haven’t even taken it before God to see what He thinks. Is this just an idea I had, or is it something divinely inspired that He is leading me to? It’s not just a great question, it’s THE QUESTION, and I wasn’t asking it at all.

So after realizing this, I prayed about it a few times last week, but I wasn’t really getting anything from the Lord. Whenever I was starting this blog and I sought God’s will about it, I got two strong confirmations from Him that this is His will for my life. I can say to you in full confidence that me writing this blog is a God approved use of my time and my life. I feel Him in this blog, when I’m writing them, studying for them, editing them, praying over them, He’s very present here. And to be honest, as I started seeking His will about this new potential ministry idea, I wasn’t feeling Him at all.

Fast forward to this week. As I continued to delve deeper into the possibilities of this ministry and what it would take to make it work I reached a bit of a break point. I just felt strongly that I was nearing a point where I needed to either let this go and focus on other things or get the go ahead from the Lord that I should keep pursuing this idea.

The first Wednesday of the month at my church is called prayer, praise, and prophecy night. Instead of a traditional service, it’s a night where we just worship the Lord and let the Holy Spirit flow through the building. People will often hear prophetic words and share them on these nights, it’s just a night when God’s presence is thick in the air. So on Tuesday night I made a decision. I was going to go to prayer, praise, and prophecy expecting to hear from God about my ministry idea.

I want to pause for a moment, because I don’t want to miss out on something here. A month ago, I never would’ve felt bold enough or confident enough to ask God a direct question, and I certainly wouldn’t have felt confident enough to expect an answer from Him at a certain time. I know there’s a fine line between praying in faith and expecting our loving Heavenly Father to answer us and being a self important dude demanding answers from an Almighty God. It’s a line I’ve never even dared to approach in the past, but as I study the Bible more I’ve really been moved by how some of the mighty people of the Bible pray. In my study of the first 24 Psalms, I saw David time and again cry out to the Lord, almost demanding to be paid attention to. He prays passionately and in personal appeals to the Lord, and he speaks about expecting a response.

The confidence and boldness of prayers like David must have rubbed off on me, because in all honesty I didn’t even realize what I was doing. As I went to bed Tuesday night I prayed, telling God that I was going to prayer, praise, and prophecy expecting to hear from Him about my ministry idea. On Wednesday before church, I prayed again, and I just asked Him to give me a direction, to give me either His blessing to move forward or a warning to leave it alone. I also asked Him to speak to me however He saw fit, either through a Bible verse or directly into my mind or through another church member.

I want to pause again and just point out how different of an approach this is to when I started this blog. I was desperate to hear from the Lord when I first rededicated myself to Him this summer. All I wanted was to get direction from Him but I didn’t know how to listen. Fast forward five months, and I’ve gained experience in the ways the Lord speaks to me. Not only was I expecting an answer, but I was open to receiving one.

There are a few verses I want to share that I feel like show that praying with expectancy is a Biblical thing.

Mark 11:22-24 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Then there’s this one, which is maybe a little loose fitting because James was specifically talking about praying for wisdom. But I think it applies pretty heavily to how we pray for everything.

James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

This blog is already getting long, but I do want to mention that these verses don’t mean that God will grant us anything.  Just because I pray for ten billion dollars doesn’t mean I’ll get it.  I’ve learned a lot about prayer in recent months, and a big part of it is praying within God’s will.  He’s not a genie in a lamp waiting to grant our every outlandish wish.  I could write a whole blog on this and probably will at some point, but it felt important to at least address real quick.

Okay, so back to my story. It’s Wednesday night, and I’m deep in worship and prayer. My question to the Lord was for Him to give me direction on this new ministry idea. Several times people spoke during the service to share a prophetic word or something that God had put on their heart. Each time I secretly hoped it was going to be about me and my question, but it never was. I had a beautiful time, got super deep into worship, and was just comforted and loved on by God. But, as the service ended, I did not have an answer to my question.

I wasn’t upset or sad about it. Before I got up to leave I just accepted it. No response felt like a no to me, and so in my mind I decided that the idea probably wasn’t meant to be or it at least wasn’t meant to be right now. I stood up, turned to leave, and ran into an amazing woman of God. She’s actually the person who prophesied over me many months ago about this very blog. Her strong vision from the Lord of my writing about His word is what gave me the confidence to keep this blog going and dedicate myself to it, and God’s honored that and blessed it time and again.

So here she was again, and she told me that God had given her a word for me. I just started crying as I wrote that, because I can’t believe how much God loves me. 7 billion people on the planet, and here’s this one guy who dared to ask a question of the Almighty God and dared to expect an answer at a certain time. And here’s this God who loves His adopted son so much that He showed up and He gave me an answer.

I almost want to just end the blog here, because I almost don’t even care what the answer was. Because I have to tell you, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt like I mattered more than I did at this moment, when GOD heard my question and saw fit to answer it. Until the day that I embrace Jesus and give him the biggest hug imaginable, I don’t know that I’ll ever feel more loved than I did in this moment. For the first time in my life, I had the confidence and boldness to ask God a direct question. And God met me right back with a direct answer.

This is getting long, so let me share with you His answer. Keep in mind, she has no idea what’s going on in my life. She doesn’t know that I’ve asked God a question, she doesn’t know I showed up expecting an answer. As she gave me the word God had for me, she told me that I was at a point in life when I was seeking God’s voice but wasn’t hearing a response, that I was in a quiet period with the Lord. She said that I might be tempted to think it’s because of something wrong I did, but that’s not the case. She said that I might be tempted to think that I’m in a period of drought, or being lead through the wilderness, but that’s not the case either. She told me that God wants me to know that this is a quiet time between He and I, a time of stillness and a time of patience. She then said that God wanted her to read me the following verse.

Isiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Finally, she told me that God gave her a picture of me soaring like an eagle.

Maybe for the first time ever, I’m at a bit of a loss on what to write. I feel overwhelmed by the goodness and awesomeness of God. I don’t know how to properly explain what this night meant to me and how much it means to have a God who hears me and responds to me. I know that not every prayer gets an immediate answer, that it very well could never happen this way for me again for as long as I live. But I’ll tell you what else I know. I know that I’m loved and cared for by the God of the universe, the God of all creation. I know that He heard my question, that He saw the faithful way I showed up expecting an answer, and that He honored me with a beautiful and encouraging answer.

CLOSING AND PRAYER

This beautiful, beautiful God of mine. Whoever you are out there reading this, please, if you don’t know this beautiful God of mine, or maybe you’re not walking with Him and following Him like you used to or like you should, please take steps to change that today. Don’t miss out on another moment you could be spending in alignment with Him. Don’t miss out on another moment of living your true purpose in life, of sharing in the indescribable warmth and beauty of His presence. Get into a church, or reach out to me, or reach out to somebody, or just close your eyes wherever you are and reach out to God in prayer. Reach out, because I’m telling you, if you’re not feeling the things that I’m feeling, if you’re not walking in the divine destiny that you were created for, you’re missing out on the fullness of your purpose here on this earth.

For prayers today, it’s as simple as it gets, as I just want to thank Him.  Father God, I just want to say thank you.  Thank you for loving me so much.  You gave your son for me, that’s a level of love that surpasses understanding.  Today I sit before you Lord filled with thankfulness.  Thank you for who you are, all that you’ve done, all that you’re doing, and all that you will do.  You are mighty and wise and incredible, Lord.  I love you and I praise you Father, and I thank you so much.  In the precious name of Jesus I pray, amen.

I love you all very much.  Everyone have a safe and relaxing weekend!  As you head into the weekend, walk in the knowledge that God loves you and that God sees you.  We’re not forgotten down here, He’s among us and in us and all around us.

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