My study is always about trying to grow closer to God. To seek after Him that I might better understand Him. A big part of that study is beginning the day with prayer but there are times when I hit a wall after praising God and giving thanks and praying for others that I do not know where to go or what to pray. The past week or so has been that way for me, and it is not the first time, but I have learned that I need to listen and keep moving and God will reveal what He wants me to see.
You see it is in my nature to find a way around a road block: traffic jam – find a different route, something broken – fix it or replace it. I have a nature that says I need to do something to fix this prayer jam too. But Henry Blackaby taught something in his study, “Experiencing God”, that over time stuck. He said, “Don’t just do something, stand there.” Pure insanity to a person like me, but once I let the Holy Spirit show me the value of it a few times, (yes, sometimes it takes more than once), I realized the wisdom of it.
When I am stuck I have come to realize God is showing me something and he is patient and willing to wait until I see it. This week it was me trying to insert my will in place of His. Though I had the best of intentions I was getting in the way of really listening to the Holy Spirit. Sometimes that happens when I really want something specific to happen and I am too impatient to wait and listen or simply trust in God. Then I become anxious and worrisome and I am inwardly focused rather than trusting in the Lord. But today my ears cleared. It came in Proverbs 4.
A Fathers Wise Instruction
It began with verse 1 and 2
Proverbs 4:1-2 (ESV)
1 Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
2 for I give you good precepts;
do not forsake my teaching.
As I read this passage the Holy Spirit pierced my heart with every word. It was a cautionary opening. “Here me for what I give you is wise and of value; do not ignore it or make light of it.”
As I read these two verses all I could think is, “Yes Lord.” Every word of Your scriptures is true and every passage You share with me are “good precepts.” I continued down through the chapter 4. Every verse shows the preciousness of God’s Word against the darkness of the world. Finally, I came to verse 20 – 27 and the pray jam broke free.
I read these words and my heart softened and my eyes opened and I could see my errors and I was overjoyed.
Proverbs 4:20-27 (ESV)
20 My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.
I read this passage and was reminded that I need to keep my focus on the things of heaven. Trust in God and be attentive to His Holy Word and listen to what it teaches. Listening takes more than a quick read like through a novel, it takes prayerful consideration.
How often do we let them escape our sight by letting our desires come first and not spending time in the Word? He warns us to not let them escape our sight but keep them in our heart, and for good reason; they are life to those who find them.
Let Your Eyes Look Directly Forward
I found that I had been losing focus and getting caught up in fix it mode rather than leave my requests with the Lord and it was truly foolish. I had no more control over these situations than shedding 100 pounds over night or suddenly playing guitar like Eric Clapton.
I had done my part I had prayed and offered encouragement and extended a hand of friendship. What I could continue to do was called out in 1 Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 (ESV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing
It took me a while to remember that God has these circumstances under control. I do not always know how they will unfold, but I do trust Him and love my Heavenly Father. There is this gift he gave all of us that believe in His Son Jesus. He is the Helper; the indwelling Holy Spirit. He guides us and opens our hearts if we will listen as well.
I think of this mighty gift of the Holy Spirit and how easy it is to not listen when he is teaching. But he too is patient and I am thankful. It brings me in mind of a passage in Galatians.
Galatians 5:16-17 (ESV) 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
If we will simply walk in the Spirit and keep the Word of God in our heart and in our mind, He will keep us from doing the things of the flesh and settle our spirit. He brings with Him contentment in a world that prefers chaos over contentment and strife over peace.
Lord God, I pray a prayer of thanks today for your correction setting me once again on the right path. Lord, I know that I can be stubborn and I am thankful for your grace and gift of repentance. Father, I love you and am grateful for your forgiveness. I ask that you strengthen me to cling to you and not be distracted. In Jesus name, I pray! Amen!