If you want to see God answer your prayers you need to pray intentionally and pay attention…
One regular day in October, I entered our church prayer room, dropped to my knees, folded my hands and talked to God. I normally did not pray this way, but someone had just stolen my bike and only means of transportation.
I was also exhausted from walking the hour from my house to the church for the usual Wednesday night pre-teen church service. I was a weekly volunteer and usually loved playing with the kids and acting out scripture verses, but that day I didn’t want to do it. And on top of everything else, I knew that I would be walking back home to a roommate who wanted to talk and I was just exhausted and wanted to be alone.
So there I was… My bike was stolen, I was preparing to deal with screaming kids and I simply wanted to go home and be alone. I arrived at the church around 6:45 pm, which was just before our 7 pm kids service started. I happened to see the prayer room and decided it was a sign for me to go in. I walked in, saw the designated prayer chair and knelt down on it. For some reason, I prayed very specifically that day. I think I just wanted to clearly outline my case to God and say, “Look Daddy, this is what’s going on… I got #1 and #2 and #3 issues. Please help!
I had been learning that not only was God real but that Psalms 91:1 says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” So I reminded myself that I certainly dwell in the secret place of the Most High (because I renew my mind with God each day and make it a top priority to grow my relationship with Him). So I therefore knew that I abide under the Almighty’s shadow.
I also learned that Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I definitely love God and know therefore that all things work together for my good… including the stolen bike situation.
It took me a few years, but I quickly reminded myself that God didn’t die yesterday. He is still alive and if I really believed the Bible to be true, then these are His promises. So I asked God to help me and I decided to place the issues in God’s lap and dust off my hands. Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
I use the Bible like the weapon it is and fight my thoughts to the point where my mind finally says, “Oh yeah. God has got you. You are in God’s shadow and everything is happening for your good. Get excited!”
So I finished praying and took the elevator to the pre-teen classroom. The elevator doors opened and the first person I saw was the kid’s pastor. He asked me how I was doing and I told him about my stolen bike. He shockingly then said that he had a bike sitting in his garage and it was exactly the height I needed. He said he’d bring the bike to church and that I could ride it as long as I needed! WOW!
I excitedly walked into the classroom and the preacher walked in and hurriedly made an announcement that today would be a little different. Instead of the typical structured day, the kids would be able to pick if they wanted to go play dodge ball in the gym or stay in the room and do some arts and crafts. All of a sudden, all the kids got up and went screaming and running out of the door. I looked around and the only kid left was one little girl who was quietly blinking at me.
We sat on the floor and had the most peaceful time coloring. I ended up having the most blissful evening. I didn’t have to work with the kids at all and I can see how God probably knew that I needed the therapy I got from drawing and relaxing creatively.
Finally, I walked home and thought about how God had answered my first two prayer requests and I was curious to see how he would answer my prayer request about wanting to be home alone. I knew my roommate was home from work. I walked into the house from the back door and I literally watched my roommate close the front door behind her. She yelled something about having a late meeting and was gone. I was shocked. I had the house to myself!
I saw each of those instances as a complete miracle and answer to prayer. I try to celebrate each answer to prayer by telling people what God did and writing it down in my journal. I believe doing this makes me appreciate the act, remember the act and I am in turn also able to see more and more of the answered prayers because I access the situation.
I don’t’ just say, “Phew! Thank God” and walk off. I take time each morning to write down what happened the day before and what I saw God do. Then you get into the flow of watching your prayers get answered every minute of the day because you are now living in the flow of God.
See God Answer Your Prayers
When you are conscious of God and how He is working in your life day to day – by asking, noticing and acknowledging God… Then you begin to walk with God. I believe this is the way we are supposed to be living.
Have you heard the story of the man who was stuck on his roof during a flood and did not see the help God sent him? The man was on the roof praying to God to rescue him. Someone came by on a rowboat and he told him that he was going to wait for God. Another person came by in a helicopter and he told them he was going to wait for God. I have finally learned that when we pray, the answer will usually not look like what we expect. We have to pray intentionally and then really pay attention to what happens around us and who shows up in our life.
And we have to realize that God will give us what we need for each day and one day at a time. When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He said, “Give us this day our daily bread” Matthew 6:11. That prayer is not necessarily just supposed to be religiously repeated. Jesus was showing us how God works.
It starts by praying and being specific so that we even know what we are asking for. Believe that your prayer has been heard and genuinely leave your concern with God. Then go about your day with a feeling of gratitude that everything is going to be fine.
Start paying attention to what happens next. God uses people and you never know who He will use in your life to speak to you. God is answering prayers all day long. Why not start today to get quiet, tell God your specific needs and then pay attention to what happens next.