For many years I have written my prayers. I have notebooks and journals filled with them. Why? My mind likes to wander and I lose my primary focus – God. So, I write to keep my thoughts centered on the One I am speaking to.
Several years ago my pastor’s wife and still dear friend (They have since moved on.) suggested I use the acronym A.C.T.S. Acclimation. Contrition. Thanks. Supplication. I still use it but have always sensed something was missing.
As I was reading the book for my next review (L.E.A.R.N. Evangelism Handbook by Dr. Marshall M. Windsor) I found the missing piece. I need to add LISTEN. (Of course, now I’ll have to change the letters of the acronym.) In all the years I’ve been talking with and listening for God’s voice I’ve never included a set aside time for listening in my prayers. Time in every prayer where I say, Holy Spirit speak into my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I do listen and expect answers, I just haven’t been specifically listening during prayer. So, When He speaks, and I know He will, I’ll intentionally listen, and write what He says in my prayer journal.
Will I act on His words? Will I share? In trusting Him and keeping the faith, I have learned if I don’t respond or follow through I lose the blessing He had planned for me. Things like:
I did come up with a new acronym… G.R.O.W.L. Gratitude (Thanks). Requests. Offense (Forgiveness), Worship, Listen. The word kind of fits as our prayers go up with ‘utterings and groanings’ before the Lord that might sound like growls if we heard them.
Here’s the bottom line. No matter what or how just keep on praying.
Each year I choose one word as my focus. I’m kind of leaning toward ‘believe’ but I’m also carefully and prayerfully considering other options. I also include a Bible verse for the year with my choice. Here are a few I’m considering, perhaps they’ll help with your choice, too.
BELIEVE Blessed is she who has believed that the LORD would fulfill His promises to her. Luke 1:45 (NIV)
LISTEN Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. Isaiah 55:3(TLB)
Listen! Can you hear Me? Do you know the sound of My voice? Hey you! Paying total attention to someone requires all of everything we have focused on the One who is speaking. Eyes on theirs. Ears hearing every nuance of the words. Mind totally focused on the subject. It’s hard but it’s worth it!
Solomon was giving some fatherly advice in Proverbs 4:20-22 when he said:
Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep My message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health. (The Message)
Do you know the voice of God? Adam and Eve did. When He called to them in the garden they knew right away that it was Him. (Genesis 3:8-9) We know certain people’s voices even when we’re not looking at them, at a distance, in a crowded room, anywhere. God wants us to know His voice in every place and circumstance. How do we hear His voice? By knowing His Word. Yes, memorizing it! Thinking about it! Reading it!
So, what do we get out of it? A body and soul that’s healthy, really healthy. The roadmap to living. Not just breathing in and out but a life that is fully aware of all that is going on around us and answers to the hard questions. It’s all there. All in the Bible. All we have to do is open the book and start reading and memorizing.
Father, You and You alone are all that matter. Your Word is my life guide, my way to knowing You. Open my heart and mind to every word. You have breathed every single word so I can know You and what You want of Your child. Thank YOU!