methods

The Recipe for Answered Prayer

If you’re reading this, then you might have some questions or challenges about some prayers you’ve made that are unanswered or unresolved – so we’re in this together 🙂

To this end, I was recently asking God to change someone & make them more flexible.  This could translate to mean that I want that person to be more compliant to my preferences and it could mean that God might want to work on some control issues in my heart, which is certainly food for thought 🙂

As we think about the prayers we make to God, it’s interesting to think about how God answers prayers.  I say this because of recently reading two exchanges between David and God in 2Samuel 5, when David asks God about attacking the Philistines.  In the first exchange, God tells David to attack in response to his first enquiry.  David obeys God’s direction and successfully defeats the Philistines.

On the heels of being defeated, the Philistines attack a second time.  And David asks God again about confronting the Philistines.  In response to David’s second enquiry, God tells David to circle behind the Philistines, wait for the sound of marching in the tree tops and then attack.  David obeys God’s instructions and defeats the Philistines the second time.  From my point of view, these are very explicit instruction & a stark contrast from the first battle.

So here are some ingredients for the recipe to Answered Prayer:

  1. AFDI:  Ask For Divine Input rather than depending on your own brilliance or willpower
  2. Unlimited obedience, served up with daily consistency
  3. Trusting God more than a method:  yeast goes with flour like trust goes with God;  God seems to work uniquely in each situation, so trusting in a method isn’t as helpful as trusting in God 🙂
  4. DBS:  Don’t Be Surprised when you have to repeat something, but with a different method

In addition to these ingredients, it’s also important to consider how these ingredients go together, some possible marinading time and what happens when heat is applied over a length of time.  To this end, when I asked God about changing someone and making them more flexible, like I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I received an interesting reply.

I felt God say to me, “Sarah, maybe the answer to your prayer is a combination of that person becoming more flexible and you being less controlling.”

I had to sit with that feedback and let that marinade for a little while.  And truth be told, I’m still ruminating on what God said to me.  Maybe I’m a little similar to meat marinating in a sauce.  Maybe it takes God a little time to break down the fibers of my resistance and self-deception so that God’s truth and loving flavor can influence my thoughts, attitudes, words, decisions and action.  Ultimately, this is what I want.  This is the ultimate answer to my prayers, even in the heat and fire of daily living.

In our quest to get our prayers answered, let’s be committed to allowing God to change us and help us grow.  Maybe the tasty outcome of God’s culinary efforts in our lives is the expression of genuine love, as we are wholly dependant on God’s presence yeasting into our core identity 🙂

Selah 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, cooking, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Divine Provisions

“My God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory,” – Philippians 4:19.  I’ve prayed this verse far more times than I could ever count, asking God to provide time, wisdom, strength, money, direction, anointing, etc.  Usually, when I’ve prayed this verse, I have some specific things that I want from God, to match up to the needs that I’m experiencing at that time.  What never ceases to amaze me, however, is how God meets my needs and answers my requests – often in ways that I didn’t consider.  Here are some examples that might encourage you about the creative ways that God is our Provider:

  • money:  I’ve had God divinely supply money, provide an unexpected resource, or decrease a bill / expense.
  • time:  there are innumerable times when I’m overbooked & trying to figure out how to get everything done, when an appointment I’ve booked will cancel or get rescheduled
  • energy:  somehow when I run out of energy, the Holy Spirit finds ways to help me with strength on the inside to go the extra mile and to push through the tired or drained.

Let’s be sure that we let the Holy Spirit be our provision, however the Holy Spirit would chose to provide 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Way Better!!

My husband & I use different routes for driving our kids to their various activities. Normally, I think my way is better: faster, less traffic, etc. Today, I see that I’m wrong. The route he uses is far superior to my way & I could’ve learned this much sooner had I not been so obstinate.

This seems to ring true between the Holy Spirit & me as well. How many times have I stayed glued to my methods & plans only to learn the hard way that the Holy Spirit always has better ways than me. Let’s live in the reality of Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
God’s ways are always the upgrade!!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Hot Topic: more & better

Have you ever been mad at God for seemingly not coming through with one of His promises?  Have you ever prayed one God’s promises fervently & it didn’t turn out like you had prayed?  

This happened to me a few years ago on a group trip with my mom. We were leading a team of maybe 200 people in Romania & I had ardently prayed that no one get their airline ticket nor passport stolen / lost (pre- 9/11). Sure enough, one of travelers had her ticket & passport stolen. I spent the next 24-36 hours trying to get her a replacement passport & the US embassy wasn’t helpful. I felt like an awful failure when I let Sheila know that I wasn’t able to get a replacement passport & that she would likely have to stay several days in Romania & work with the embassy on her own for the passport thing. 

Needless to say, I was really ticked off with God – didn’t answer my fervent prayers, didn’t keep His promise, failed at a point of great need, etc. 
I was totally lit for several days until I learned that Sheila made it safely back to the US without a passport, just a Xerox copy of her passport (before the 9/11 attack). I was entirely dumbfounded, stunned & altogether speechless. When I tried to challenge God about keeping His word & promises, He totally arrested me with this question:  Sarah,  which method of answering your prayer was more glorifying to Me – the maintenance way that you asked or the miracle solution that I orchestrated?  
Let’s be mindful that God’s ways & methods far surpass anything we could imagine, suppose or propose. God does more & better than we can ask or think!
This is a picture of my friend Sheila & I this last weekend 🙂
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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, hot topic, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 0 comments