Are we PRAYING? (Part 2)

Good Morning!  I am so thankful for the beautiful warm weather!  It is so wonderful to be able to get outside and run or walk or hike.  Physical fitness is fun and important, but we have been remembering the most vital form of fitness…our Spiritual Fitness!  God calls us to exercise ourselves toward Godliness!  He desires for us to bear fruit in our lives that will last and the only way that will happen is if we ABIDE in HIM!  Apart from Him we can do NOTHING!  The question we have been discussing is HOW do we Abide?  God has given us many ways of remaining close to Christ and the first one we are talking about is Prayer!  Last week we began thinking about my favorite word for prayer from the Hebrew language and that is the word, “PAWLAL.”  What I love about this word is that its meaning describes to us two parts.  The first part we talked about last week describes the Reflexive form of this word which emphasizes the part the PRAYER has in their prayer life.  We have a part to play!  We must put forth the action and effort to come to Christ in Prayer.  The second part of this word is the Reciprocal form which emphasizes the fact that prayer MUST be two-way communication in order to be real!  After we do our part in coming to Him in prayer, it is then His turn to communicate back.  This is incredibly exciting because this means we get to hear God Speak!  Let me share a key scripture with you this morning.  Mathew 7:7-8 says this, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For Everyone who asks receives; the who seeks will find; to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  When we do our part in coming to Him, He WILL do His part in responding to us.  Now, His response might be “Yes,” it might be “No,” or it might be, “Not yet.”  It could also be peace in your heart, or comfort for your soul.  He may send someone to speak a word to you, He may speak to you through a song or a book, He may speak directly to your soul, or He will always speak to you through His word!  There are many ways that the Lord responds to us, and He will respond in His perfect timing, but the one thing we need to know is that He WILL respond!  The question is will we give Him TIME to respond?  Do we give Him the opportunity TO speak to us?  Is our prayer life truly a two-way conversation or just a one-way communication where WE do ALL the talking?  If you are like me maybe you know someone or have yourself been someone who just loves to talk so much that no one else can seem to get a word in edgewise.  It is extremely difficult to have a relationship with someone or stay connected with them if it is only one-way.  Have you ever had someone ask you questions without ever letting you answer them?  Or maybe you have had someone ask you something and then THEY answer the questions themselves and you never get to participate in the conversation?  I have experienced both of these many times and it is always a little disheartening.  One time I had someone invite me to have coffee, but then they rushed off without giving me the time to respond, or see if I had a different plan in mind.  I remember realizing that this often mirrors our prayer life with God.  We simply get in the habit of speaking MANY words to Him and then we rush about our lives, never giving Him the time to respond back.  We forget that prayer is a two-way relationship between ourselves and God!  We need and are commanded to WAIT and LET Him speak!  The Bible tells us MANY times that we are to WAIT on the Lord.  We are to WAIT for Him to speak, act, and move.  Let me share a couple passages with you.  Isaiah 30:18 says, “So the LORD must wait for YOU to COME to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who WAIT for his help.”  Psalm 130:5-6 says, “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.  I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning.”  Psalm 62:5 says, “Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.”  There are many, many more, but I want to begin to point this out to us.  What I Love about the word “Wait” is it’s meaning.  In some versions of your Bibles it may be translated Hope, and I want to share with you why.  To Wait means, “To strain your mind in a certain direction with an EXPECTANT attitude.  It is a Forward look with ASSURANCE!”  You see, after coming to the Lord in prayer, we get to look forward to His reply with Assurance!  We wait for Him to speak with an Expectant attitude!  That is what it means to WAIT on God in prayer!  Remember prayer is two-fold!  The first part is US taking that step in making the effort to come Him in prayer, and the second is Giving God an opportunity to Respond.  We Wait for Him to speak!   To remind you of this let me share the story I began with you last week about my daughter, but this time I’ll add the ending to it!  I was studying in my living room one evening, and I heard my 3 year old daughter crying in the hall.  I got up and went to her and asked why she was crying.  She looked up at me and said, “Because you won’t read me a bedtime story!”  Now this caught me off guard and I said to her, “Honey did you ASK me to read you a bedtime story?”  After pausing a moment she replied, “NO, but you aren’t doing it!”  I immediately told her, “Anna, you have to ASK me if there is something you want me to do.  I would Gladly read you a story, but you have to use your words, come to me, and ASK!”  Well fast forward to the Very next night, when I was again sitting in my living room.  This time the noise I heard was quite different.  I heard loud grunting and groaning coming from down the hallway.  I got up and went to the hall to see what this was all about, and I saw my daughter pushing a gigantic stack of books (taller than her) with all her might  towards me.  I asked her what in the world she was doing, and she stood up with her hands on her hips and said, “Mom, I’m getting ready to ask you to read to me!”  This is waiting with expectancy!!  She knew if she asked me to read to her that I would respond so she was getting ready to receive my answer with gusto!  Do we wait on the Lord in this way?  Do we Ready ourselves to receive His response before we even come to Him, and are we ready to wait for His answer?  I want to challenge us this week to continue to Come to Christ in prayer, but this week let’s exercise our self in WAITING for Him to respond!  Let’s quiet ourselves before Him and let Him speak!  I pray that we will Wait on Him with an expectant heart, Looking forward to receiving His response to our prayers with Assurance!  Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.”  “Those who Wait on the Lord will renew their strength!  They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and NOT get tired, they will walk and NOT faint!”

Scriptures to meditate on:  Matt. 7:7-8,  Isaiah 30:18, Psalm 130:5-6, Psalm 62:5, Is. 40:31, Ps. 27:13-14

Ashley Possin