Série de Prière: Waiting

There’s something very special about waiting prayer. When practiced with the right motives, it can become the core of your prayer life — and a very important part at that.

What is it?

Waiting prayer is taking time to be still before the Lord. This concept is repeated over and over again in Scripture (Ps. 25:5, 25:21, 27:14, 37:7, 37:9, 39:7, 62:5, 130:5; Isa. 40:31; Lam. 3:25-26; Hos. 12:6 — to name a few). When you quiet your soul and focus on the Lord, you are expectant. You let Him love you as you worship Him and you expect that He will reveal Himself to you. If you’re not used to internal prayer, waiting prayer is a great place to start.

“Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation.” Ps. 62:1

The more you wait on the Lord, the more sensitive you become to the Holy Spirit. You may feel nothing — in fact, for a while, I can almost guarantee you that you will feel nothing — but the simple act of quieting your soul before God will inevitably cause you to sense Him more.

The Bible commands us to wait on the Lord (Ps. 27:14, Hosea 12:6). It is the beginning of trust: you admit your own human weakness and look to the Lord for strength. And David tells us that, “those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.” (Ps. 37:9)

Practical Steps

Waiting prayer can be practiced in a prayer room or in your bedroom. Just be somewhere that you’re not likely to be interrupted.

  1. Start with worshiping God — out loud or internally — and read the Word.
  2. Close your eyes and begin to clear your mind of distracting thoughts. Focus, in expectancy, on the Lord. (If you want, ask God to give you a mental picture to help you focus.)
  3. Then just wait. Don’t ask questions, try not to get distracted — just wait. Honestly, even though I’ve been doing this for 2 years, it often takes a half hour for my soul to quiet down so I can hear the Holy Spirit’s voice clearly. We get so busy during the day that it takes us a while to slow down.

Start with a few minutes at a time. If you fall asleep, just pick up where you left off; there’s no shame in that. You will soon find that you want to wait on the Lord longer and longer because His presence is so addicting.

Recommended Reading

Jaeson Ma, a campus revivalist, has posted his “Waiting Prayer” chapter from his book on his blog — it is an excellent description and includes his own personal testimony.

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This post is a part of a series on different types of prayer. Click here to read the rest of the series.

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Persistent Prayer

I want to continue the thought I started in my God of Secrets post about Luke 11. I don’t know how most people interpret the parable of the friend at midnight, but for me, it is one of the most significant passages in the Bible about prayer.

“And [Jesus] said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.” Luke 11:5-8

Now we have to backtrack a little. In verse 1, the disciples had asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Then we see the part we all know so well, the Lord’s prayer. But Jesus doesn’t take a breath between verses 4 and 5…He is still answering their question. (Please understand that the following is my interpretation/revelation on the chapter and is completely original.)

First of all you (the green guy) have a friend (the orange guy) who traveled from afar to visit you. You want to be hospitable and pour into him (i.e. give him food). So you think, “Hey! I have another friend who OWNS the bakery! He can give me bread for this friend!”

See, the friend didn’t ask anything of you (they represent whatever/whomever you are praying for), but you wanted to give what you knew you did not have (true humility – I am nothing outside of Christ). But, you know a guy (Jesus) who has what you need – and more.

So you go to your friend and knock on his door, even though it’s midnight. “Hey man, I’ve got this friend who needs food, can you give me some? ‘Cause I don’t have any.” And then your friend answers, “Don’t bother me, man! I can’t give you anything right now.”

When you pray, God always answers (“he will answer”). But what if His answer surprises you? See, you knew to go to Him, you knew He had what you needed, but even though you are His friend (you have some relationship with Him), He’s asking for something more from you:

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture…I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”   John 10:9,14

Jesus is asking you to come to a new level: yes, you are His friend, but when you don’t understand why He won’t give to you, will you take that as an invitation to ask again? It’s not favoritism for those who persist more: it’s the nature of God’s kingdom. It’s the same reason why Jesus spoke in parables – so that only the hungry would seek out what they meant. Jesus is the door and He wants you to persist, to keep knocking to find what you are looking for. See, once you’re in the door, you have access to fellowship with Him, to the knowledge of God.

It is because of your persistence that Jesus will give to you: and that’s always more than you asked Him for initially. Now, knowing the context, the following verse should make a lot of sense:

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you: seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”   Luke 11:9

Note: I hope you don’t feel demeaned by my childish illustrations. I wanted to make this rather confusing parable as clear as possible. And feel free to give me kudos for my amazing drawing skills too – especially my camel. (Yeah, I’m joking.)

To Pray and Not Lose Heart

There is one thing that I desire the Lord to say about me on Judgment Day (well, there’s a lot of things, but this is the one that trumps all the others): that I was faithful to Him.

I have known many people who walked with the Lord for a time and then decided to walk in the world. Every once in a while, when I hear about one of these stories, I wonder if I will one day be the person who is the subject of that conversation. Maybe it’s a wrong fear, maybe it’s the Lord, I don’t know. What I do know is that right now I am 100% certain there is a God, that He has chosen me, and that I am an eternal being. It frightens me that even with this certainty, I am not above turning on Him.

Because of these things, I often pray, “Lord, let me be faithful to You.” Many of the apostolic prayers (prayers that the apostles prayed in the New Testament) mention things like perseverance, endurance, strength for the journey…I don’t think faithfulness is a new struggle. I could see myself getting so offended by something the Lord does that bitterness could turn my heart from Him (read my testimony to hear about my experience with this in the past).

In addition to simply asking the Lord that I would be one of the faithful ones, I pray this prayer along with Paul:

“This I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1:9-11

Worship

“…Any system of thought or pattern of worship that does not produce Christian character should be re-examined lest it be deficient in its basic affirmation. A religion that fails to make man better in his daily living is useless, no matter how orthodox its form or zealous its activity.”                                                           – Fred M. Wood

I’ve been studying the book of Jeremiah and today I found an interesting passage:

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.”” Jer. 7:3-4

Israel had gotten into the habit of religious repetition and mistook it for true worship. Though she was still externally obeying the Lord, her heart wasn’t in it at all. It reminds me of when Samuel the prophet said the Lord desires obedience rather than sacrifice. The Lord could have cared less about Israel’s outward rituals: He wanted her heart.

The parallel that I am drawing is how ritualistic we can be in corporate settings in our own church/prayer room circles. I heard someone say recently that they thought it was funny that whenever a worship leader plays Rend the Heavens, the entire room stands to their feet. I think we go on auto-pilot with a song that’s familiar or has a foot-tapping beat.

Though I still catch myself singing a worship song while thinking about hamburgers, I try to remember to ask myself, “Can I really sing this song? Do I really mean these words?” I want to remember what the Lord told Israel through Samuel: He doesn’t look at the outward appearance – that which man sees – but rather the attitude of our hearts.

Reflections on Water

Call me a dork for getting Biblical revelation from Lord of the Rings, but I watched The Two Towers last night and you know the scene where the Ents flood Saruman’s castle? I was watching that scene and thinking about how water is usually portrayed as good, even in secular society.

So that led me to do a little study on how water is referenced in the Bible…

About a year ago, Amber did a thematic Worship with the Word on water (affectionately known as the “water set”). The verse we always started with was Rev. 22:1: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” I never could figure out if that water was the Holy Spirit or what.

Looking through verses in Scripture on water, I found that water is never referred to as a bad thing. It is always quenching dry ground, flooding to purify, etc. This rings true with Eph. 5:26 and the “washing of the water of the Word.” We subconsciously think of water as that which purifies.

I probably shouldn’t even post this as it has no conclusion. I apologize for the aimlessness of my blog…I am working on that.