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Seeking Things Above


If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (Col 3:1)

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2008-07-24

Scripture Thursday - Prayer, Sacrifice and Expectations

Psalms 5:3 (ESV)
3 O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
David is confident that God hears his prayers.  He knows God is listening and he is confident that God will answer.  He prepares a sacrifices and watches for God's answer.

Is this how I pray?  Do I pray with the confidence that God is listening?  Do I sacrifice to God each morning and then watch for His answers?

If you were to ask me, my intellectual answer will be that I know God hears my prayers.  However, I question how my faith matches that belief.  If I really had faith that the God of the universe is listening, praying without ceasing would be much easier.

How about that morning sacrifice? 
Romans 12:1 (ESV)
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Each and every morning I should present myself again to God as a living sacrifice.  I need to give each day to him.

Of all the lessons in this verse, watching may be the toughest.  At least it is for me.  Maybe it is a faith issue again.  However, even if I believe God is listening, I often wonder if I really expect God to answer my prayers. 

It's not that I don't think God is active in this world or capable of directly answering my prayers.  It's just that rather than expect an answer, I expect no answer.  It's like if I expect no answer, I will never be disappointed.

David sacrifices and then watches.  Watching here denotes an expectation.  He's prayed to God and watches in expectation for God to answer His prayers.

I wonder how often I miss God's answers because I do not watch expectantly for His answer.


12 comments:

Larry Darnell said...

Tony,

Boy have I been there. I pray for the answer and a lot of times, I don't see God working so I just think I will help him out a little. That's not much faith on my part. Watching requires a couple of things...patience and trust. Many times I trust but I am just not patient enough, so do I really trust?

I think many times my problem is that I don't "see" the answer I want...the answers are there. I don't think I need a burning bush in the backyard to know God is speaking.

I like a song written and recorded by Ronnie Freeman (and more well known by Mandisa) called "God Speaking". It reminds me to look for the infinite ways God could be speaking to me.

God can speak to us even through a blog! Thanks Tony for your insight!

Anonymous said...

I am still new to this Faith idea, even after being born again for almost 6 years now. I hear the words, anything you ask in Jesus name with faith, will be done. But I am still in the same boat, still looking at the same issues, only they are bigger, worse now.
I cant make my faith more than it is, so maybe I am one of those who will not hear an answer, or is it that the silence I hear is NO? I want to so badly talk to God, just sit and talk with him..... maybe if I could he would speak back tome.

Tony said...

A - I don't think faith is about praying in Jesus name and then whatever you want is done. I guess what I was trying to convey is that I need to watch, listen and expect an answer rather than getting busy with my own life after I pray. Many times, in the worse struggles, the answer may just be, "I am here." But if I'm not watching, listening and expecting to hear from God, I may miss those reassuring words.

You're definitely not alone in your struggle to hear God. Like Larry said, we don't often get a burning bush. It's often a quiet, reassuring whisper to our spirit.

I haven't read this book below yet but it's on my list. It might be helpful.

- The Art of Listening Prayer - Seth Barnes

Cindy said...

This is an excellent post. You are not alone at all! I think that many of us have a hard time actually watching, listening and expecting to hear from God. I know, for me personally, that I do not deserve the Grace that God has given me so freely so it is hard to know that He is going to listen to my every prayer and answer them as well.

Excellent post and blog, I will be back to visit!

With Love in Christ,
Cindy

Tony said...

Cindy - thanks sharing and the kind words. Please do come by and contribute as often as you like.

Grace and Peace.

Tony

Tony Cathey said...

"Many times, in the worse struggles, the answer may just be, "I am here."

That's beautiful!

baddogmooney said...

I just read Releasing the Ability of God Through Prayer by Charles Capps, and it's really challenged the way I view prayer. A lot of it falls in line with "He's prayed to God and watches in expectation for God to answer His prayers." Often times, I think my prayers are just hail mary's, hoping for the big finish when I'm down six points in the fourth.

Keep it up.

- mooney

Tony said...

Tony C and Mooney - Thanks for the words of encouragement. I'll have to look into the Capps' book after I make a dent in the pile already on my nightstand.

- Tony

kikamz said...

when we pray, we sometimes do so with heads bowed or heads turned to the heavens. but whichever way our heads may turn, it's important that we do it with open hearts. God bless you!

Tony said...

Amen kikamz.

Psalms 51:17 (ESV)
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Rajesh said...

Prayer helps spread positive energy around us. Positive energy spreads positive things.

Tony said...

Rajesh - thanks for visiting. I am reminded of what a great evangelist once told the men of Athens about the unknown God they worshiped.

This positive energy is much more than energy. It's the Lord and Creator or heaven and earth. It takes much more than positive energy to undo the wrongs I commit against God, fellow man, and myself. It takes the grace of the Lord and Creator of this universe. It takes the sacrifice of His son Jesus to cover the "negatives" I've committed in thought and deed since birth.

Keep praying and meditating friend. Jesus is there waiting to provide you with living life which our own positive energy can never achieve.

Grace and Peace.

Tony

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