If the truth be known, most of us just give up on the whole thing and continue our monologue when we pray. Personally, I think there are two dynamics going on that we are not aware of. Let me give you an example from 1 Sam. The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli. In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.
Thursday, 3/30/17 - Honest Dialogue with God - %
The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. Then the Lord called Samuel. That leads us to my second dynamic. Let me explain. God is speaking to us all the time. A year or so ago, we came upon a teaching by a man named Mark Virkler. Last session we talked about getting rid of a lot of the old rituals that we use in prayer. We could see how they might have been profitable in the beginning, but became impediments to effective prayer as we matured.
But remember, it is only scaffolding. Once the building is erected, we do not leave the scaffolding in place.
We read in Psa. Why is this? Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language? My daughter-in-law was born in Vietnam and speaks the Vietnamese language every bit as well as English. When she tries to teach someone to say something in Viet, the nuances of the language, the inflections, the subtle speech phonetics, just are not obvious to us who speak English.
To learn to say something correctly takes concentration. You have to block everything else out and listen very carefully. This is not transcendental meditation or opening oneself to spiritual darkness. If you come to God and ask him to speak to you, do you believe he is going to let the demons crowd in? That makes no sense. Of course not. Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
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That would be Transcendental Meditation or some of the other mystical spiritual exercises. We must also focus on Jesus. In Heb. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
This passage should take on new meaning for us. Focus on those who are watching the event from another dimension. Get rid of everything that distracts — sin, money, power, stuff, the responsibilities and duties of the day, the endless demands from the kids, the debilitating stress from the job, all of that. Most of all, focus on Jesus! Have you ever imagined yourself standing with Jesus, talking to him, interacting with him, laughing with him?
It is important to visualize yourself with him. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
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The author captured all kinds of ideas about the three persons of the Trinity and flings them out to us in a way that we can understand and identify with. On this journey to hear God speak, I would encourage you to read the book, as it will really help you in this area of visualizing yourself with him.
We read in Eph. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, Did you know that our hearts have eyes? Who knows what visions God may decide to impart to you. If you are reading your Bible, put yourself in the story. Personalize it. Imagine that you are Zaccheus, the hated tax collector, vertically challenged, scurrying around in the crowd of towering people, trying to get a glimpse of the latest celebrity, Jesus of Nazareth.
Imagine yourself spying a tree that is easy to climb and has great overarching branches over the road. So you run quickly to it in advance of the mob, scramble up, nearly falling once or twice, until you find the perfect perch.
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You can even pick Jesus out in the advancing horde of robes, sandals, and dust. Then as he passes under the tree, he suddenly stops, and looks up, right into your eyes. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm , NIV. Here is a man like you and me, on his knees, tired of feeling the heaviness of his guilt. In his pride or stubbornness or sheer independence, David resisted humbling himself before God long enough to become physically ill, so consumed is he by his guilt and shame. After all, all sin is a sin against the Lord himself, which makes all sin personal between a man and his God.
Even better, he has been restored to his safe place. Now, the voice changes, which is clear when the speaker uses words David would never say to himself:. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
Psalms , NIV. What an effective visual! In fact, David never actually left that place, but his guilt and shame separated him from his confidence in it — as it does most of us. You may know what that is like. Or you ignored the warning signs and married someone who jolts you out of your joy place on a regular basis.
Dialogue With God
He is always offering the wise way. His default is to guide and mentor you as a real Father, Teacher and Friend, to help you make the kind of choices that bring blessing and build character. Obedience to God is always the right thing; but we tend to overlook that God loves us more than we love ourselves. Verse Obeying God and following his leading will require trust. David has been there, in that uneasy place that requires trust in an unseen God. David has wrestled with that issue and he is speaking from experience.
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! Trust in God is tested most in the little decisions of every day, as well as the big decisions of jobs or who to marry or where to live.
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Over the years the Spirit has led me often to Isaiah I wanted you to back off consider your ways, and just sit with me. Rest with me, and consider my way. I know because after you pray to me for help, you get up and ride off on your horse to solve your own problem. Have you ever done one of those trust exercises? If so, you know trust can only be proven by stepping into the risk. The story goes that a daredevil prepared to walk a tightrope from the top of one skyscraper to another, at a terrifying height.
In the following verses of Isaiah 30 the Lord describes the consequences of riding off to do your own thing.
Dialogue with God
Then He says tenderly:. Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! This is the old testament validation that God communicates with and will personally guide His people. The New Testament affirmation of this is found in James where it says,.