Prayer To Let God Control My Life
This One Thing Changed My Prayer Life: I Asked God What to Pray
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The single most significant decision that has changed my prayer life more than any other, the one step that has brought about greater results than all others combined is this (drum roll, please)…
Asking Jesus what I should pray.
So simple, and so revolutionizing! Utterly obvious once we consider it, but something we so rarely practice.
That is probably one of the side effects of the “prayer is just asking God to do something” view; no doubt it is also more of the negative consequences of the orphan-and-slave mentality.
But if prayer is in fact a partnership, then I want to be in alignment with God! For here is His promise to us:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of Him. — 1 John 5:14-15
Breathtaking. More trumpets! This one promise alone is so wonderful, so hopeful; it ought to make our hearts sing, courage and faith swelling within us a rising volcano. If we pray in line with God’s will, we can stand firmly on the promise it will be done. Amen will finally become AMEN!
“But how do I know what the will of God is?” Now, that is the sixty-thousand-dollar question. Let me assure you that you can; God does not torment us by hiding His will from us, though at times it does take a little effort to discern it. Both Elijah and Ananias were praying with confidence because they clearly heard from God. I believe that confidence can be ours.
Pray: Not Just Sympathy
Our little fellowship has grown so much in our understanding of prayer over the past thirty years.
(And God has been so kind, every step of the way, honoring the efforts of “children” and “young men” as we moved toward maturity.
) We have seen many breakthroughs — physical healings, psychological healings, deliverances, rescued marriages, rescued lives. We’ve seen the weather change, just as James promised we would (James 5:17-18). Many, many times.
But despite all the stunning victories in our past, I never assume I know what the new prayer need before me requires. If someone asks me, “Pray that my mother and my father reconcile,” I don’t simply start praying that.
For one thing, I do not know with any sort of certainty that reconciliation is what God is doing in this moment. It may well be the will of God that her parents reconcile, but it may also be that first He wants to address something in their character.God doesn’t just put Band-Aids on things; it would be far more Him to first deal with the sin that was poisoning the marriage, and then bring about reconciliation.
I want to live and pray God’s intimate ally, so I turn my gaze toward God and ask, What do You want me to pray for her mother and father? Show me what to pray. Those prayers are far more effective because they are aligned with His will. They are aligned with what He is doing in the situation at this particular moment.
And it is a hard thing to do because the needs that drive us to prayer so often pull on the heartstrings of our deep love and concern for others. As Oswald Chambers warned, we have to be careful we don’t simply start praying our sympathies for the person or his need:
Whenever we step back from our close identification with God’s interest and concern for others and step into having emotional sympathy with them, the vital connection with God is gone.
We have then put our sympathy and concern for them in the way… It is impossible for us to have living and vital intercession unless we are perfectly and completely sure of God. And the greatest destroyer of that confident relationship to God, so necessary for intercession, is our own personal sympathy and preconceived bias.
Identification with God is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with Him it is because of our sympathy with others, not because of sin.1
A difficult word, but we are pressing into maturity both in our own character and in our partnership with God, and Chambers’s admonition must not be ignored. Be careful you do not let your sympathies get in the way! Once again, this is far too common.
You’ve been in those prayer sessions, where someone just launches in and starts praying her emotional response to the situation; it is often beautiful and well-intentioned, but it is also typically ineffective. Peter is still in jail.
There isn’t a cloud on the horizon.Now yes, yes — of course we pray moved by love and concern. Of course we do. I began this book with the Cry of the Heart; it holds a treasured place in prayer.
But we are now talking about the Prayer of Intervention, and the promise we are banking on is that if we are praying in alignment with what God is doing, we will see results. the first disciples, our posture needs to be, “Lord — teach us to pray.
” Not just in a book or sermon, but right here, now, in the moment; teach me how to pray about this.
That is why I am careful how I bring my emotion, or my experience, to the need at hand. I don’t ignore them; but neither do I let them dictate what I am praying.
Our testimonies of previous results are valuable, and they may come into play.
But this is a very dynamic story we find ourselves in, and as we mature in prayer, let us be careful not to assume this situation is exactly the same as the one before. You will want to ask God what needs to be prayed.
Prayer is not making speeches to God; it is entering into conversational intimacy with Him.
Father to son or daughter, friend to friend, partner to partner, essential prayer is conversational. It involves a give-and-take. Remember the playful exchange between Ananias and Jesus? “You want me to do what?” “Go to this specific house.
Place your hands on him.” “Wait a second — really?” I understand that prayer speeches are what most of us have seen modeled, but there is a fabulous intimacy and effectiveness available to us as we pause and let God say something in return.
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1963), 124.
Excerpted with permission from Moving Mountains by John Eldredge, copyright John Eldredge.
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Are you praying in agreement with God? Have you asked Him what He wants you to pray? Let’s pray that way today: “Lord, what is Your will? What do you want me to ask You?” Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily
The benefit of letting God steer my life
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-sufferingThe Bible often mentions suffering.
Though this can refer to outward, physical suffering, in the New Covenant it mostly applies to the suffering that occurs when you deny your own sinful lusts and desires and put them …
, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.” Galatians 5:22-23.
I would to give my personal testimony of how the fruits of peace and joy were able to grow in my life.
Young and idealistic
When I was young and newlywed, I had all sorts of ideas of what life was going to be .
I knew where and how I would raise a family, what my husband “should” be , how we would spend our evenings, how my future children would be (perfect angels of course! Ha!) Basically, I had in mind a very ideal life, and I actually thought I was capable of making it happen. This became concretely set in my mind.
Of course, real life has its challenges, and whose life is truly ideal? We couldn’t afford to live where I would have d; my husband had to work long hours, so there went my ideal evenings; the babies born to us weren’t angels and needed my attention day and night; I couldn’t even keep my house as clean as I would have d. It seemed all I could manage was to keep everyone alive and fed, and I felt so incapable. All of this bothered me so much, and I was weighed down with the task of trying to create my “perfect life.”I still remember quite clearly how the pit of my stomach felt, all tied up in knots. How my head ached from trying to figure out how to attain my dreams, while my real life demanded all of my attention and energy.
The more control I sought in my situations, the more impatient I got, the more tense my body felt, and the worse my real life felt to me. I just couldn’t manage to shape my life into what I wanted, and I had no peace and joy.
From the outside I looked I should have every reason to be happy, but I was frustrated and dissatisfied. I thought that having my life take shape in the way that I saw best would make me so much happier.
A longing for peace and joy
I longed to have peace and joy, but couldn’t find it with the attitude that I had. You cannot attain the fruit of the spirit by how you arrange your life.
I craved those fruits and had to humble myself and beg God to show me what to do. I prayed so many times through those years. I kept going back to God over and over to get the strength I needed.
You know how the Bible talks about going to the throne of grace? (Hebrews 4:16) I went to that throne endlessly.
The result of my need was that my prayers were answered. God showed me that the reason I had no peace and joy was because I was clinging so desperately to my ideal of a “perfect life” and a “perfect family,” rather than searching for His will for my life.
I thought I knew what I needed, but the truth was that I needed something completely different for there to be growth in my life. I needed to let go and just take each day as it comes and be willing to live it as God planned it.
I had to apply myself to the now instead of the “what should be.”
These verses became my lifeline:
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.
“Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” 1 Peter 4:19.
I allowed God to shape my life
I committed my life to God and allowed Him to shape my life as He wills, and not as I think it should be. I let God be in control.
My headaches and tight stomach went away and I began to experience peace as I trusted God and no longer had the burden of trying to perfect my own life experience.
With each day as I humbled myself to do God’s will, my joy returned. In fact, it was a new joy; a deeper joy!There is nothing sweeter than surrendering my will to God and letting Him have the burden of my worries. I have never lacked for anything, and I’m happy! I continue to commit my soul to Him in doing good. Life was never meant to be heavy. We were never meant to be in control of it. That’s God’s job. My job is to live faithfully in what He has for me one day at a time.
“Come to Me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mathew 11:28-30.
I look forward to the future, and am curious to find out what God has planned for my life. I’m so thankful to know the real key to peace and joy, and that it has nothing to do with what I’m capable of!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Prayer: Letting Your Emotions Lead You to God
Coming to church is great, but the real excitement of being a Christian happens during the rest of our week: in our homes, jobs, and relationships. That’s because the rest of the week brings real emotions, both positive and negative, and these emotions are intended to bring us nearer to God.
- How do I handle my emotions?
- What role do they play in my life?
- How do I handle painful emotions?
Prayer is directly connected with how we well we handle emotions. The easiest and quickest way to handle emotions is to harden to them and to quit. It’s simply easier to avoid wrestling through them with God. Sometimes we give our emotions free reign, but it’s a dangerous road when our emotions are leading our lives.
We all have to decide: Will I let my emotions lead me to God or lead me away from God?
Prayer is the secret to happiness. Talking to God about how we feel gives us the faith and strength to lead our families spiritually and emotionally. Without prayer, we will always find ourselves lacking.
4 I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. 7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
Psalm 34:4-7 (NLT)
- Do I believe that God listens to and answers my prayers?
- Do I believe that unhappiness is rooted in a lack of prayer?
We all have true emotions that are hard for us to face… fear, desperation, shame, among others. Happiness and joy come when we take the time to learn to pray through those truths, and believe in God’s power to help us.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. 10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:8-10 (NLT)
Fearing God means respecting him and acknowledging that God is great and He is in control. Go through your life and see how great God has treated you. Do you go to God to meet your needs or go to people for attention?
The hardest part about praying may be having to give up control. Prayer is following God’s lead and feeling good about it.
15 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. 16 But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. 17 The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!
Psalm 34:15-20 (NLT)
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” That means that God is close to us when we decide to give up control and allow ourselves to need Him.
What negative thoughts and beliefs about God stop you from giving up control? If you don’t address those false beliefs about God, you won’t find relief in prayer.
8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.
But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers.
Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (NLT)We all feel pressure in life. And we feel different pressure points at different times.
Which of these pressure points is weighing on you the most?
- Sin & Temptation (Genesis 29 – Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife)
- Leadership (Exodus 18 – Moses and Jethro)
- Life Transition (Matthew 9 – Wineskins)
- Relevancy (John 12 – Loss and Renewal)
The Blame Game
A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.
Proverbs 19:3 (NIV)
Are you facing the pressure in your life, or are you blaming God and blaming people? Taking responsibility for our lives, circumstances, and the results of our decisions the first step towards changing.
Turning Things Around
8-9 I know I distressed you greatly with my letter. Although I felt awful at the time, I don’t feel at all bad now that I see how it turned out. The letter upset you, but only for a while. Now I’m glad—not that you were upset, but that you were jarred into turning things around. You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from him. The result was all gain, no loss.
10 Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets, end up on a deathbed of regrets.
2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (MSG)
How can you let your emotions turn you back to God?
Closer to God
11-12 And now, isn’t it wonderful all the ways in which this distress has goaded you closer to God? You’re more alive, more concerned, more sensitive, more reverent, more human, more passionate, more responsible. Looked at from any angle, you’ve come this with purity of heart. And that is what I was hoping for in the first place when I wrote the letter.
2 Corinthians 7:11-12 (MSG)
At the end of the day, every pressure we face and every emotion we feel is an opportunity to build a closer relationship with God. When we pray, we grow.
- How can you start prioritizing prayer everyday?
- How can you change the way you pray so that you allow your emotions to lead you closer to God?