Category: Prayer

How Does God Speak To Us?

Does God still speak today – and how does God speak?

If you expect God to speak to you, how do you expect Him to speak? Should He speak to you through visions, dreams or in an audible voice? Perhaps you are going through a challenge or a problem in your life and you’re looking for answers. Perhaps you have difficulties in making the right choices in life and you seem to be failing to hear God’s voice.

Below is an outline of various different ways in which God speaks to us today

 

HOW DOES GOD SPEAK TO US?

1.       God Speaks Through The Bible (His Word)
The Bible is one of God’s effective methods of communication. God speaks to His people through His word which was written by the inspiration of His Spirit. The Bible contains answers and solutions for every social, spiritual, political, economic and life situation. In the scriptures we find the mind and thoughts of God. We also discover the nature and character of God and the love that He has for you and for mankind.
Therefore if you seek answers and if you seek to hear from God, then you need to take the time to read His infallible word and without a doubt, you will find godly solutions.
2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

2.       God Speaks Through Christ
There was a time, especially in the Old Testament period, before Jesus came to the world, when God spoke to people through prophets or priests. The prophet or priest would stand as a mediator between God and the people.
However, because of the finished work of Christ Jesus, God does not need to speak to us through a prophet or priest. God speaks directly to us through His begotten Son Jesus, who is the only Mediator between God and man.
Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV – Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world.

 John 14:23-24 NKJV – Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”

 1 Timothy 2:5 NKJV – For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus

 

3.       God Speaks Through The Holy Spirit
One of the main purposes of the Holy Spirit is to GUIDE you into all truth. Therefore through the Holy Spirit, God will guide you so that you are not led astray and so that you walk in God’s will and plan for your life.

John 16:13-14 NKJV – However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

Romans 8:15-17 NKJV – For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out,”Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

 

4.       God Speaks Through His Creation
There are skeptics and atheists who do not believe in God. They claim that there is no physical evidence of God. Yet everything in life has a creator / inventor / builder.
God’s word says that even atheists are without excuse in relation to God’s existence because the very nature and attributes of God are communicated through the things God has made.
Even atheists agree with Christians that the universe had a beginning. However, skeptics & atheists will not acknowledge that God is the cause of the universe.
However, if we study creation itself, we will discover that the universe exists as a result of the hand and work of Someone far greater and more intelligent than we can ever imagine.

Romans 1:20 NKJV – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse

 

5.       God Speaks Through Other Believers
At times, God can use a friend, a pastor, a believer or even a total stranger to speak to you. The person God uses will speak directly into your situation. Perhaps you happened to attend church one Sunday and on that day the pastor preaches on the very issue that you are facing in your life.  Or perhaps even this particular blog article itself could be an instrument that God is using to speak to you about specific issues in relation to how God communicates.
Therefore God is able to use other people to communicate with you His message for a specific situation or issue in your life.
The key thing about this type of communication is that it must always be tested and verified against the Bible. Because of the rise of false teachers and false prophets, whatever is communicated to you as advice or counsel by a pastor, friend, believer etc must be verified and aligned with scripture and properly interpreted. We should therefore take the example of the Bereans who after hearing the word from Paul and Silas, examined & verified the scriptures themselves to understand if what they were hearing was really true or not.

Acts 17:10-12 NKJV – Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.

 

6.       God Speaks In Prayer
As you are praying God can speak to your mind and your spirit. The Holy Spirit may give you specific guidance on your issue and lead you. Your ability to know if it is God truly speaking to your mind and spirit depends on how deep your relationship with God is. However, whatever communication you believe to have received in prayer must again be verified and tested with scripture in order to avoid walking in deception. God will never tell you to do anything that is contrary to His word (the Bible). Even our personal feelings, opinions & perceptions must not be mistaken as being from God because feelings and opinions cannot always be trusted. We must take captive every thought & feeling and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians  10:5).

Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV – ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 NKJV – Test all things; hold fast what is good.

Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

 

So does God still speak to us today? Yes He does.

Why Doesn’t God Answer My Prayers

Do you feel as if God is not answering your prayers? Should God say “YES; OK” to our every prayer request or petition? Does God answer all prayers? Or does He choose to ignore some of them?

Jeremiah 33:2-3 NKJV
“Thus says the Lord who made it, the Lord who formed it to establish it (the Lord is His name): ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

God has promised to answer us if we call Him. However the fact is, many people (myself included) pray for God to do specific things in our life, and at times it feels like either God is taking too long to answer, or it appears as if God may never answer some of our prayers.

Therefore, when we pray to God and talk to Him concerning the many diverse issues of our lives, why does it seem as if He is so silent or so slow to respond to our prayers?

REASONS WHY IT MAY SEEM AS IF GOD IS NOT ANSWERING …

(1) You Need To Be Patient – God will answer you in His own time. God does not always respond instantly to our prayers. He does not answer us according to our own timetable. Therefore whenever we pray to God, He will at times expect us to exercise patience and He will want us to wait patiently for His response.
Romans 8:25 ESV – But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Psalms 37:7 NKJV – Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.

(2) Learn to Listen & Discern – It’s important for us to listen just as much as we speak. Perhaps you are not listening. God might be speaking to you but perhaps you cannot hear Him because you do not recognize His voice. It might be that the answer you want or expect is not the answer that God is giving you. Sometimes we want God to answer the way we want Him to – but God does not always answer the way we expect. Sometimes when you have prayed for something specific, you might expect God to answer you with a specific outcome that you would have pre-determined on your own – but sometimes, God’s plans are not our plans – and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8 NKJV). Therefore how you expect God to answer you can hinder your ability to listen or discern God’s voice if God is preparing to answer or speak to you with a different outcome than the one you are expecting.
In the Bible in 1 Samuel 3:1-10 NKJV, God called Samuel’s name 3 times and 3 times, Samuel mistook God’s voice for Eli’s voice. He thought that it was Eli who was calling him when it was in fact the LORD who was calling his name. Samuel failed to distinguish between the voice of God and the voice of a man.
Therefore when you have prayed, it is important to be able to listen and to distinguish between the many voices that may speak to you so that you are sure to hear God and obey Him. There are many voices that will vie for your attention: the voice of man; the voice of the world; the voice of emotion; the voice of natural intellect and even from the voice of the devil – but it is important to discern and to know God’s voice.
John 10:27 NKJV – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

(3) Have A Relationship with God – If your best friend, your spouse or even your child were to call you on your cellphone, would you be able to recognize his/her voice via the cellphone? When you have a strong and close relationship with God, you may not be able to see Him, but it is possible to recognize His voice. It is however pertinent that our relationship with God is strong and sound. Unless you have a genuine, one-on-one relationship with God it can be sometimes difficult to hear God’s answers to your prayers. Therefore, the more you know God, the more you will recognize Him. It is important to note that in 1 Samuel 3:7, when Samuel could not recognize God’s voice the scriptures say “(Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)”
Therefore if you do not know the Lord or have a relationship with God, it can be very difficult to hear God’s answers pertaining to various issues in your life and pertaining to your prayers.
Revelation 3:20 NKJV – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.

(4) You Are Praying Amiss – Whenever you seek God’s help, do you pray with the right motives? For example, as you pray are you seeking vengeance and damnation on other people, when in fact God wants you to pray for their salvation? Or are you praying for God to give you material things only when in fact God would wish that you would focus more on praying for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life?
In 2 Chronicles 1:7-11 Solomon became King and God asked Solomon what he wanted. Solomon then asked for wisdom & knowledge. God ended up giving Solomon MORE than what he asked because Solomon had asked God with a pure heart and with the right motive. This is what God said to him after Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge: 2 Chronicles 1:11-12Then God said to Solomon: “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life — but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king — wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”
Therefore if we are to hear God’s answers to our prayers then we must pray according to His will and His purpose. We must pray God’s will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
James 4:3 NKJV – You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

(5) You Are Not Adding Faith and Works to Your Prayers – God is not a magician or a wizard. Neither is He is genie. You can therefore not simply wish things into existence. Whatever God does, He does to glorify Himself. If we expect God to answer our prayers, then we must have faith in Him. And our faith must be accompanied by action. For example, perhaps you are looking for a job with good remuneration. It is good to pray for a job, but you must also spend time sending your applications and CV to respective companies. You cannot just pray for a job but not make the effort to practically search for the job you want through the newspaper, employment agencies, internet sites etc.
Or perhaps you want to give up an addiction such as smoking. When you have prayed for God to help you to overcome the addiction and temptation of smoking, you must then accompany that prayer with action and effort by avoiding to smoking cigarettes.
When you put faith and works together, you will then experience the God’s practical answers to your prayers in your life.
James 2:17-19 NKJV – Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

(6) Spend More Time Reading His Word – God’s word, the Bible has many answers to many issues and questions that we may have in our life. God is able to answer your prayers through His word. However you cannot receive or understand His answers unless you spend time reading His word. Many times God has answered specific issues in my own life simply by using His word.
In 1 Samuel 3:7 the scriptures say (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)
Therefore part of the reason why Samuel did not recognize the Lord or His voice was because the word of God was not yet inside him. It is therefore important for us to study and meditate God’s word if we are to hear and understand God when He responds to our prayers.
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJVFor the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

CONCLUSION

Jeremiah 29:11-14 NKJV
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

God loves us and He will not ignore us if we come to Him with the right heart. God is more interested in the condition of our heart and if we come to Him, He will listen to us.
You don’t have to be perfect for God to listen to you. In fact, God will listen to you more so when you are flawed and broken.
Psalms 34:18 NKJV – The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Psalms 51:17 NKJV – The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart — These, O God, You will not despise.

In conclusion: Does God answer prayers? Yes He does.

3 Things To Do When You Are Desperate

Have you ever been desperate for help in your life? What do you do when you have a problem, and every possible solution you try fails you? You have tried all you can do with your own strength but nothing works; You even try to get friends and family to help you with your problem, but nobody can help you through your trials and affliction. When in such a situation, it can be very easy to give up hoping that things will get better. It can also be very easy for one to give up on life.

However, the Bible talks of a woman who had a disease and who was desperate for help after having tried all that she could on her own and still failed.

Mark 5:25-26 NKJV
Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse.

The Condition of The Woman with the Issue of Blood

  • It is believed that the type of illness that this woman had for twelve years was perhaps a type of chronic cancer or tumor of the uterus.
  • Her illness had caused her to continuously lose blood and therefore she would constantly be in a weak, frail and overwhelmed state.
  • She was socially alienated because of the custom / tradition at that time. Her issue of blood was perceived as being “unclean” and therefore most likely caused her to be constantly isolated from society and from family. (Leviticus 15:19-30 NKJV). Everything and everyone she touched became ceremonially unclean, so she would have been shunned by everyone, including her family and friends.
  • Her illness had caused her much affliction. Therefore she was frequently in physical pain. Therefore whenever you are in a state of unending physical pain, this will begin to have some negative effect on your mental and emotional state.
  • Her finances had suffered because of her illness. She had spent all the money she had on getting treatment from doctors but no physician could successfully help her with her affliction.
  • Her problem grew from bad to worse. Clearly her illness was going to kill her.

In summary: Her health was failing; the experts had failed her; her finances had failed her; her friends & family had failed her; and society had failed her.

Mark 5:27-29 NKJV
When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.

Despite the physical pain; despite the failures; despite the isolation from society; despite the financial meltdown; despite the mental and emotional anguish, during her 12 years of affliction, this woman did not lose at least 3 important key principles & characteristics that were pertinent to her receiving her breakthrough from her afflictions.
Even in her desperation she still showed the following 3 positive attributes from which we can learn:

  1. Don’t Give Up – This woman did not want to give up looking for a solution to her problem. She never resigned to the notion that her illness was not curable. All her doctors had failed to cure her for 12 years, and the doctors had probably given up trying to help her. This woman “heard about Jesus” and so therefore she was not going to waste an opportunity for Jesus to help her. There are some people in life who have “heard about Jesus”, but whenever they have problems, they do not come to Jesus. They would rather focus on resolving issues with their own strength and influence; There are some people who have “heard about Jesus” but they do not believe that Jesus can help them in their time of need. Even under desperate circumstances they don’t believe that Jesus has the power to help them and so they seek help elsewhere or they give up hoping. When this woman “heard about Jesus”, she wanted to go to Jesus; she believed that Jesus would fulfill her exact needs. (Read also Luke 18:1-8 NKJV)
  2. Be Bold & Courageous – Remember that because of her issue of blood, this woman was considered to be “unclean” by society & by law and therefore she was not supposed to have any physical contact with anyone. She was supposed to be isolated from the public, because if anybody touched this woman, that person who touched her would also become ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 15:19-24 NKJV). This woman however showed boldness and courage by ignoring the potential backlash from the multitude of people that followed Jesus. When she saw Jesus, this woman did not feel embarrassed about her uncleanness but rather went through the multitude to approach Jesus so that she can receive her healing. As she went through the crowd to approach Jesus, she told herself “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Sometimes in our own lives, do we fear achieving our goals and doing the right thing because we fear what other people will say? Are we afraid of standing up for the right thing even if it is not the popular thing? Do you fear being ridiculed and embarrassed or are you bold like this woman who had the issue of blood? (Read also Joshua 1:9 NKJV)
  3. Have Faith in God – This woman had faith that Jesus would heal her simply by touching His garment. Therefore despite being failed by money; despite being failed by doctors; despite being failed by society; this woman did not lose her faith in God. She believed that Jesus would heal her. She believed that Jesus would not fail her. This woman was going to die from her illness and she had lost many things in her life, but this woman was not going to give up her hope and her faith that God would heal her. (Read also Mark 11:22-24 NKJV)

Sometimes when we are in a desperate situation – we may not have the money; our friends & family may have failed us; the experts who could help us may have given up on us – however even under such desperate circumstances – the only thing that you can hang onto is your FAITH in God. Your only choice is to have faith and let God do the rest.

Mark 5:30-34 NKJV
And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?'” And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

This woman was made well by her faith in Jesus. She finally believed that only Jesus would help her. Her faith in her finances failed; her faith in the doctors failed – but her faith in Jesus did not fail.

Pray, Believe, Receive

Do you feel like your prayers are not being answered? Do you feel like God just doesn’t seem interested in your problems? Have you been doubting God? Do you feel like God is just taking too long to reply? Have you lost all hope in what you have been praying for?

Mark 11:24 NKJV
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

According to Mark 11:24, Jesus says that there are 3 things that you need to do if you want God to answer your prayers.
1. You need to PRAY to God concerning your prayer request.
2. You need to BELIEVE that God will answer you
3. You need to RECEIVE God’s answer or your prayer request even before you have seen it.

Believing is a choice. Just like doubt & fear is a choice.
So you can either CHOOSE to BELIEVE or you can choose to doubt.

The world says “I’ll believe it when I see it”, but the Christian says “For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV)”
Are you living by faith like a BELIEVER or are you living by sight like a non-believer?

Faith does NOT require that you see first before you can believe; Faith requires that you believe FIRST before you can see it. “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV)

Mark 11:23 NKJV
For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

So what are the mountains in your life? Is it unemployment? Is it finance? Is it a relationship?
Jesus says SPEAK to your mountain, remove it by speaking and DO NOT DOUBT in your heart that the mountain will be removed. Believe that what you have said will happen and you will RECEIVE what you say.

Whenever you pray to God, remember that He does not behave like a magician or genie from a bottle. God is not like that. God can choose to respond instantaneously or He can take His time to respond. And in the process of responding, God will bring glory to Himself and help you to learn a lesson in the process so that you grow and continue to mature in Christ.
So FAITH requires that you have patience but STILL BELIEVE.
Faith requires that you speak to your mountain and NOT DOUBT.

Matthew 13:58 NKJV
Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Where there is unbelief and doubt, you do not give God room to work or answer you. God wants you to trust in Him. Because if you doubt Him, it means that you believe that God cannot help you.
Like I said earlier: Belief is a choice and Doubt is a choice too.So make the right choice.

Luke 17:6 NKJV
So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

How big or how small should your faith be? Jesus said that all you need is faith that is like a mustard seed. Now if you know what a mustard seed looks like, you will discover that a mustard seed is one of the SMALLEST seeds.
Don’t worry too much about how “big” your faith should be or how “small” you think it is. Just ensure that you have faith in God and do not allow doubt to dictate your actions.

Mark 11:22 NKJV
So Jesus answered and said to them, “HAVE FAITH IN GOD…”

Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen

TODAY. God only requires that you BELIEVE and not doubt Him and then God will answer. Pray, Believe & Receive.

 

 

Give God The Priority

We live in a busy world. A lot of things in life compete for our time and attention. However we need to give God the Priority. We can become so busy with such issues as our jobs, our family responsibilities, meeting deadlines, and all sorts of activities that we at times forget to do the most important activity of any day – which is to spend some quality time with God.

Luke 10:38-42
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Like Martha, the daily issues of life can distract us from spending quality time with God. The reason is that sometimes we do not have the correct priorities in our lives.
It was such a great privilege for Martha to have the Lord Jesus inside her home, but somehow Martha failed to realize the importance of being in the presence of the Son of God. She took God’s presence for granted. Having been in the presence of God, Martha should have dropped all her serving chores and given priority to focusing all her attention on learning and listening to Jesus.
Martha’s sister Mary had the right attitude. Upon seeing that Jesus had visited, she sat at Jesus’ feet and focused on hearing God’s word.

In life we should not take God’s presence for granted. We should learn to prioritize God and His presence over everything else. The issues that God teaches are everlasting and life changing in comparison to some of the activities that we prioritize in life.
For example. In our world today, sometimes the television can take priority over spending time in God’s presence. We tell ourselves and give excuses that we don’t have time to read the Bible and pray because we are too busy.
Even though Martha was busy, she did not realize that at that particular time, what she was doing was not important. It was more important for her to be learning from Jesus because God was in her house. Jesus had to tell Martha: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But ONE THING IS NEEDED, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Therefore you might be busy and a lot of issues in your life may require your attention – however only ONE THING IS NEEDED – spend some quality time with God – and he may even take care of your issues.

Sometimes we need to be like Mary, and drop everything for a while so that we may devote our time and attention to be in God’s presence and listen and learn from God. When you put God first, God will take care of the rest.

TODAY. One thing is needed. Spend time with God.

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