As I fell asleep last night I had the sense that God was revealing something to me about prayer. I’ve written many times about prayer and about hearing His voice. Some of those writings can be found by clicking here.
Here is what I’m thinking. And understand, I’m just thinking out loud and I am not saying this is all gospel truth. But I think prayer is hearing God’s voice and speaking it out.
Prayer is hearing God’s voice and speaking it out by faith.
Prayer is not telling God what to do.
Here’s what I mean. When we are sensitive to His Spirit, His voice, we then can pray in His name and see our prayers answered.
Let me share a story from Tara’s life to illustrate this.
We left our “normal” American lives in 2006 and came to volunteer at the world’s largest Youth With A Mission base, the University of the Nations Kona. YWAM teaches that we can hear God’s voice. Having Southern Baptist backgrounds this language was very new to us. And, for Tara, it was a hard pill to swallow.
One day she found herself having a quiet time with the Lord at the ocean’s shore. As she breathed in the ocean spray and her heart was moved by the rhythm of the waves, she had a righteous anger rising in her. She cried out to the Lord “If you really speak, then how would I know it?”
At that very moment, she heard what she thought was a huge truck coming right at her. She looked around and then the ground started moving. It was 7:07 a.m. on October 15, 2006. At that moment a 6.9 earthquake struck Kona and rumbled for nearly a minute.
Now, did she make the earthquake happen?
Or did God answer her prayer (and her prayer alone) and decide the way to answer it was to shake the earth tremendously, affecting thousands of people?
Here’s what I think happened. She was asking God to help her hear His voice. He answered that prayer by giving her that prayer right at the moment He was about to shake the earth in Kona so that she could see that she, by faith, could hear His voice and speak it out. Her prayer was changing her and giving her faith to hear His voice.
Let’s imagine some other examples. Sometimes people pray and another person is healed of an illness. Sometimes someone prays and a person is not healed of an illness. The mystery of this often challenges the faith of those praying and the ones being prayed for. We don’t always see what the Lord is doing and it makes it difficult to understand.
What if one part of what is happening is that when a visible, physical healing happens it is simply what God was doing in His divine plan and will. And, He was speaking out that creative act. The one praying in His will heard that spoken word and joined in it. The one praying spoke it out, too, with God. As the two spoke together, it was done. And, ultimately, the one changed was the one praying, because the one praying had the faith to speak out what they he or she was hearing from the Lord.
I don’t know. God’s ways are great mysteries. They are higher than my own. And who am I to describe the indescribable? But I just wonder if praying in God’s name – or praying in His will – or hearing His voice and following it – is simply praying the very words He is praying. Think about what Jesus said in John 12:44-50:
Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
“As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
This is why, I believe, we need to be listening for God’s voice constantly, making every step and breath a prayer and, by faith, aligning our very thoughts and heartbeat with the thoughts and heartbeat of the Father. We must speak out only what He is speaking. In that place we will see heaven rent and God here – His Kingdom will come through us to earth. And in that place we will be eternally changed.