There are so many questions which need answering, decisions which need to be made and, there are a host of factors which could have an impact on the decisions we eventually make. This often leads to delayed decision making, erroneous conclusions and we are then plagued by the guilt we feel for having made a wrong choice. For many of us, this is why we pray.
We would greatly appreciate the help of the Lord so that all our decisions are accurate. We would like to have clear visions and dreams so that we do not err, but we walk in precision. We spend hours on end in various religious gatherings praying and asking lots of questions, believing that our consistent asking will bother God enough to answer us.
It occurred to me as I meditated on some scripture today that we have one-sided conversations with God, and we call these “prayer”. When we do pray, we sometimes get a glimpse of a response – perhaps a dream, a scripture comes to mind, a message hits you as you listen, or even a vision. When these revelations don’t seem to align with our personal theologies and beliefs, we are quick to discard them and continue praying. I noticed three examples from my meditations that reminded me of the need to dialogue with the Lord, and not to continue having these one-sided conversations.
Abraham (Genesis 18:16-33)
When the Lord was set to cleanse the earth of the perversion and the human depravity prevalent in Sodom, He revealed it to Abraham. We see from the scriptures that Abraham had a conversation with the Lord about what was revealed. The conversation has enabled us to understand the level of depravity where not even ten righteous people could be found in that whole region. The Lord was not offended by Abraham’s questioning and intercession (prayer). He had the conversation and clarified Abraham’s concerns.
Ananias (Acts 9:10-19)
This man was called a disciple of Christ and he lived in Damascus. At that time, the believers had only just spread out of Jerusalem due to the persecution of the church, championed by Saul. Imagine his shock when he had a vision, from the Lord, saying he should go and pray for this same Saul! He didn’t discard the vision, though, but probed it. He asked questions to clarify God’s expectations in view of the facts he had – Saul was a renowned persecutor of the church.
Again, we see that the Lord was not offended by Ananias’ questioning and probing (prayer). He clarified the intent of the vision and reassured Ananias of His support.
Peter (Acts 10:9-23)
This was the famous apostle who had a strong connection with God. He had moved on from being timid about his faith in Jesus. He had been baptised in the Holy Spirit and many had come to know the Lord through him. Miracles had been performed through him. This same Peter had a vision, in the place of prayer, where God was asking him to do something that was contrary to his background, his upbringing and his previous beliefs. He didn’t discard it; he had a conversation with God about it (prayer).
From the scripture, we see that he was still wondering about the kind of conversation he had just had even after the prayer time was over when the physical confirmation showed up at his door. Peter trusted God enough to have a conversation and to clarify the revelation, so he would not walk in error.
It is important that as believers, we have conversations with the Lord. Our one-sided petitions, intercession, and sometimes our rants, need to evolve into dialogues where we are able to speak with the Lord about our requests; we receive directions, instructions, or revelations from Him and we clarify them against the written word (the Bible). We can enjoy this level of access to God through the Person of Jesus Christ. An active relationship with the Lord Jesus is the only way to get unlimited access to God. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, we have access. We then ask for and receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to us as our Helper. The Holy Spirit immediately empowers us to walk in higher dimensions of access so that we can have intimate conversations with the Lord and clarify His will for our lives at every point.
The next time you ask the question, “What do I do Lord?”, take time to wait for an answer and clarify that answer by having an intimate conversation with the Lord by His Spirit.