Years ago, when I was heavily entrenched in my former career, I was extremely light on my connection with God. On a ranking from one to ten, it was closer to a two. I believed but I didn’t talk to Him much. Overwhelmed by unrealistic deadlines, pressure to perform, and a workaholic-like drive to get whatever I was working on done, periodically, I got stuck on it. Spending a few hours on it, building up festering frustrations. But, every now and then I would remember to pray for help to resolve the pressing issue at hand. Usually, within 20 minutes, the solution would be revealed. Sometimes it seemed so miraculous, that I praised God and wondered why I didn’t pray sooner.
At that time, I knew of Him, but didn’t know Him. I didn’t know that He had promised in Jeremiah 33:2-3 MSG; “This is GOD ’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as GOD: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’” Before I recommitted my life to Christ years later, I prayed like that pretty much only whenever I got stuck and spent too much time on an issue, and of course I noticed a pattern; God answers prayer. Every time He’d answer in a fraction of the time that I had spent on the problem. This story is trivial, but I want to help you to see that no matter how big or small, God answers prayer. It may not always be instant, but He always answer prayer with a Yes, Not Yet, or No, depending on His will and plan for you. You only have to be ready to receive it.
To ready yourself, unblocking your prayers depend on you doing your part, so you can ensure nothing’s standing in your way to receive the answers. Because God is not our genie in a bottle, He desires for us to live life in partnership with Him. Actually, more so in a relationship with Him. No one, I doubt even you, wants to be the one doing all the work in a relationship. God will do the heavy lifting of what you can’t do, but He still wants you to participate in the implementation of the blueprint He’s drawn up for you. Your participation includes Seeking God with a Cause that’s appropriate, being Adjustable on the expected answer, Listening to what He says, and Eliminating some things to enable yourself to grasp what His answer yields to you. Doing this will help you to SCALE the walls that may block answers to your prayers; as not all walls are erected for the sake of good.
Seek – Strike a Pose to Pray
Yes, God knows what you need. He even knows what you want. He knows the secret fears of what you are lacking. He knows you may want to grow to know Him better because it’s one thing to have been introduced to Him versus know Him. Even if you’re upset with Him, He knows that too. He, from your lips and the bottom of your heart, would like to hear that directly from you. Beloved, it is not that you don’t have what you want or need because He doesn’t love you! On the contrary, He loves you dearly. But you don’t have what you need or want because you may not be striking the pose to pray. “You desire but do not have… You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:2 NIV Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7 NIV “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find…” I bet you might be thinking, “But, LuKeisha, it’s just not that easy! I still haven’t heard anything.” Actually, for a start at establishing a strong connection, it is, but there are a few more areas to ensure the lines of communication are uninterrupted. One of them is the cause for your desire.
Cause – Pause for the Cause
The motive for wanting what you’re asking for could cause a wall too, or my prayer for you is that it’s one, pleasing in His sight, that would open a door when you knock. As we are reminded in James 4:3 ERV “…when you ask, you don’t receive anything, because the reason you ask is wrong…” If we take a time travel trip back to 1 Kings 3:7-12 where King Solomon asks God for wisdom. God, who doesn’t look at outward appearances, saw in Solomon’s heart that He was asking with pure motives; to be able to rightly and fairly govern his people with integrity. It wasn’t to prove something to family, friends, or frienemies who let him down or didn’t believe in him, nor to make himself feel important, nor to enable him to compete with others. He asked with good intentions at heart, a sincere desire to help others according to the will of God, which could be quite unpredictable. For what you want or think you need may not be what you’ll get, so it’s important to be willing to adjust to the answer you receive.
Adjustable – Expect the Unexpected
When God answers, as He always does, the only wall there may be is a wall of misunderstanding because you were expecting a specific kind of answer, but you got another. This can cause you to reject a blessing or not recognize it. God is a BIG God! He can’t be put in a box of our finite expectations. Sometimes while we limit Him to our box, He’s trying to get us out of ours to take us to greater places in Him. So, it helps to keep the following Word from the Lord in mind:
“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a motherʼs womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5 NIV
Though He may have said no when you expected a yes, He has something better in store for you. In school, during my internship, I had my mind set on a particular type of internship work assignment, working directly with people nearly 100% of the time. But that wasn’t the ratio I got in the beginning. My internship site supervisor wanted me to help with research and regulations tasks, which would not enable the direct client contact. Initially, I was concerned, but after digging in a little more, listening to her as she shared the benefits of the tasks, I realized God had given me something I needed before I even knew I needed! It wasn’t 100% exactly what I wanted, but if you think about it, it was more than I asked for. He still answered my prayer! Just different from what I expected.
Getting a Not Yet answer, Sara and Abraham had to wait on God’s timing. After all that time of trying and growing older, eventually they had their promised son, in the time He allotted for them to have him. At first not fully believing what He told them, maybe because what He said they never expected, a decision was made to include someone who was never part of the promise, and brought upon themselves unnecessary grief as a result of listening to hear, but choosing not to heed.
Listen – Hear and Heed
Prayer always works! It’s only a matter of whether you’re listening, because God still speaks! Listening to hear The Lord’s thoughts about what you prayed and what’s on your heart that you may not have prayed about. Amos 4:3 NIV tells us that “He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals His thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord God Almighty is His name.” You’re listening to hear, but also to heed His guidance with a willing spirit. For, “God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to Him.”, as mentioned in Proverbs 28:9 MSG Even you would get quite tired and frustrated at your spouse, children, co-workers, or whoever comes to you for help but either isn’t fully attentive in hearing what you say or seems to never follow your suggestions. Think about it, if Joshua and his soldiers had not listened for or ignored God’s instructions to march and shout as directed, the wall of Jericho would have never come tumbling down. Will you begin to do what it takes to make sure any walls around the answers to your prayers are no longer a barrier? What are you willing to eliminate?
Eliminate – Release to Receive
Once you’ve listened to The Father, He may be asking you to give up a thing or few so He can bless you with much greater. Answers to prayer can be blocked if you insist keeping your hands full of what isn’t beneficial to you or your blessings in the long run, leaving no room in your hands to grasp and hold to what is most valuable and lasting.
“I cried out to him with my mouth; His praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.” Psalm 66:17-19 NIV
To cherish something in your heart means that you love it, you want to hold on to it. It’s not referring to what you may be sincerely working through to remove, but it’s taking more time than you’d like to complete. So, as you wait for answers to your prayer, or hear God’s answers giving instruction, remember what Pastor John C. Maxwell once said, “If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want will be the sacrifice.” Know that nothing you ever give up for God can be greater than what He is capable of giving you in return.
Yes, to SCALE any wall is a workout! This is a workout, however, that builds your spiritual muscle, giving you access to power you may have rarely seen before, if you weren’t aware that all or some of these walls may be present. So, get ready! Ready to strike a pose to pray, pause for the cause, expect the unexpected, hear & heed, and release to receive! Ready to see the move of God in your life like you’ve never seen it before!
This is an excellent jump start on your journey in your relationship and communication with God. If you would like to strengthen your relationship with Him further, grow closer to Him, seeking to know Him on a deeper level, please sign up here to receive notifications for the upcoming Drawing Closer to God event!
Love you with the Love of God!
Lukeisha Carr, BCACLC
Your Biblical Life Coach, Coaching you to Live Your Abundant Life in Christ!