The last few weeks I’ve been talking about prayer. Follow this link to read previous posts. Today I asked Dr. Linda Travelute to share an excerpt from her book on prayer. She talks about the key to getting our prayers answered is praying what God wants. I pray you’ll be blessed by this enjoyable message. Dr. Linda has a fun, witty way of sharing God’s Word.
Why Pray if God Already Knows What You Need?
By Linda Travelute
Have you ever wondered, what’s the point in praying if God already knows what you need? If God is all knowing and super smart, he can read your mind, right? Think about it, if the cry of your heart is already on his mind, why do you have to voice it? Oh, but there is a reason! Let’s uncover it.
When I was in college, I was madly in love with this guy who broke my heart. I was sure we would eventually walk down the aisle, have a beautiful family together, and spend our days working in ministry side by side.
Guess what? Didn’t happen. Even though for two stinking years, I held out for that plan! I asked and asked. I pleaded and pleaded. My heart’s cry was that God would bring him back to me. I declared restoration over our relationship. And talk about faith… I fasted. I begged. I even bargained with God. Nada.
God didn’t budge. He didn’t answer my plea. I went from being madly in love to being mad. Mad at God. Took me a while to accept that God didn’t want that guy for me.
How God Shapes Our Prayers
Something happened over the two years that I kept asking. God began to change my mind. Not at first. Maybe I was being stubborn. I can be a blockhead sometimes. But over time, God began to reshape my prayer. And it wasn’t that I just gave up on the idea. No way. I’m a tenacious kind of gal.
Every time I tossed that prayer up to God, he began to tweak it just a little in my heart. He began to slowly show me that what I was asking for was not the best thing for me. Eventually, I understood. Then I began praying for the right man to come into my life. And when I found him, boy-oh-boy, this one was a gem. He blew the old boyfriend out of the water baby!
I never looked back. I had what I needed and what I wanted. Yep, God changed my wants to match his. Sweet! It’s amazing how that happened. And it took place because I asked God for something he already knew I wanted.
Prayer Shaping begins with Thought Shaping
God wants to shape your thoughts. Prayer shaping begins when we tell him what we want. In the exchange, he helps us strip the selfishness out of each request. That kind of surgery most likely won’t happen if you ask for something just once. It happens as we go back to him again and again with the same prayer.
When in discussion with the almighty God, fully submitted folks begin to catch God’s drift and ditch theirs. Their ideas and notions of what they want and desire begin to morph into what God wants. Slowly and sometimes painfully, the transformation births the perfect prayer that becomes exactly what God wants. Then when the timing is right – BAM! he delivers.
This is being in sync with the Holy One. Also known as being attached to the vine. When we are so clued into God, because we are attached to him, our prayers voice what he wants. And that’s the key to getting prayers answered: praying what God wants. Take a look:
“But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” John 15:7 (NLT)
Or here’s the same scripture from the Message:
“But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.”
Approaching God Like Kids
My kids kind of know what is appropriate to ask for and what is not. They know when it’s cool to ask for a friend to come over, go out with their friends to see a movie, or to order those special shoes online that they’ve been wanting. Yeah, the ones with the way-too-high price tag!
They know when it’s a good time to ask because they can tell by the climate. They can measure it against the agenda of the family. How do they know? They are in tune. They live with the power-granters, their parents. They know my husband and I enough to know what kind of requests get granted around here and which ones don’t.
How? Cause they’ve tested their requests against our will. As they have grown up they have come at us with tons of requests. Some get granted. Some don’t. After a while, they figure it out. They begin to have a better understanding of the kinds of things that are priority in our family. What types of requests get granted and which ones get the axe.
Sometimes that’s tough to weigh out. But the more conversation they have with us over their request, the better they understand our reasoning and wisdom, the mission of the family, and whether or not their request fits in.
Will we ever give them the moon? Yes! We love to bless our kids and it’s fun to give them what they ask for. We teach them to ask boldly. We also tell them that sometimes they have not because they ask not. Being plugged into our family teaches them what’s appropriate to ask for and what’s not.
The More You Talk With God, The Better You Will Be at Asking
God works the same way. When we ask for stuff that’s not in line with his will, it’s because we aren’t clued in. And we end up asking for something that isn’t in his game plan. That’s why in order for prayer to work we need to continually spend time with God. The more we talk with him about what we want, the smarter we will be when asking.
So why talk to God if He already knows what you want?
Because we don’t always know what he wants. And by talking it out with him, we get a clue, and we get an answer!
So talk to God about what you want. You may just find he had something better in mind. Or maybe not. Either way…win-win!
This post is an excerpt from the book, Grabbing God’s Attention: The Art of Praying Like a Pro. by Dr. Linda Travelute. You can click here if you are interested in scooping up a copy. Amazon has it. Smashwords has it for various eReaders. Or if you would like the PDF version that you can print (which is especially useful if you want to write in the Taking-Action sections of the book): Clicky here!
Visit Dr. Linda’s blog at Lindatravelute.com & Praylikeapro.com where you can find tips and information on kicking your faith up to the next level.
*Thank you, Dr. Linda, for sharing an excerpt from your book and encouraging us to continue praying and seeking God for His will.