[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]E[/mk_dropcaps]ver feel like a broken record when you pray? I have, many times. My prayers would be more like going to God with my “ To Do” list of requests instead of a conversation. Over the the last year, my prayer life shifted as I shifted my requests to declarations. For example, during the 7 years of being single I would ask God to bring me my match. That request changed to, “Lord thank you for bringing me my husband.” There were many others that I brought to God over and over in prayer (i.e. financial breakthrough, healings, etc..). Yet, over time, even those became automatic and dangerously close to meaningless. Declaring it as finished, however, was still not enough. Why was that? I know God wants to give us the desires of our heart. I know that which I was requesting was in alignment with the Word of God. So, what was the missing piece? It was not what I was praying that was the issue. It was, however, the fact that I had begun to use prayer as a crutch. Like a little kid who goes to their parents and say “Mommy/Daddy fix it,” I was treating these situations just like that. I was saying "God, thank you that you wave your all powerful hand and miraculously change all these situations I’m struggling in." It is not a question of if God could, but would that be the best for me? The issue was with my heart. Would I trust God enough to grow me and position myself and those around me to bring breakthrough? Was I not only willing to praise Him before it happened but act as though the prayer had been answered? You see, while timing is out of my control, my thoughts and response are not. I am in full control of shifting my faith and putting into place the corresponding action. This brings up my next question. When you are faced with situations out of your control, what do you do to exercise your faith?
The real issue for me was that I was praying out of my doubt and unbelief, not faith. It is faith that moves us to action, and doubt the holds us bound. I wanted a different outcome without doing my part to put the promises of God to work. I was being foolish. I am not being hard on myself. This was the healthy correction I needed. You see, Jesus himself warns us about the risk that comes with knowing the Word of God and not doing it. He explains it clearly in Matthew 7:26:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.”[/mk_blockquote]
There is power in our obedience. When we not only hear the truth of God but commit to walk out those promises and principles, we become unstoppable forces for the Kingdom of Heaven. My life reflected and reaped the consequence of not doing this. I would make some progress, but it was in my own strength and consequently short lived. It was a foolish use of my energy as none of it produced lasting results.
I liken myself to someone frustrated with their phone because it won't turn on or operate as it should, only to realize that the vital step of plugging in to the power outlet has been missed. Connecting the charger to the power outlet is the only way to ensure operation at full power. It was not that I did not have the capacity for full power but my inaction in the simple things meant that God's power could not flow through my life. I needed to take a few practical steps for God to do what only He can do. Our ordinary actions produce extraordinary results when we are powered by the Holy Spirit. In that same chapter, (Matthew 7) just a few verses earlier, Jesus describes those who not only hear but "do" the word of God as wise.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” - Matthew 7:24[/mk_blockquote]
While the steps themselves are simple, they still can seem daunting and are certainly not easy. That is because they require faith. Even baby steps require faith because the outcome is not guaranteed. They can seem so insignificant that we question their effectiveness. But God loves using even the smallest amount of faith, faith even smaller than a mustard seed, to accomplish great things. There is evidence in the Bible; have a look for yourself:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]...if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20[/mk_blockquote]
Nothing is impossible with God, no matter how big or small it is. Nothing. Sometimes our part in prayer is to stop asking and start doing. We are to stop using prayer as a crutch and rather, go exercise our faith out in the world. We must be bold to act according to the truth and believe He heard our prayers and is acting on our behalf. We are to bring our very best to today knowing that God is bringing those deep desires into reality behind the scenes.
Let me pause and state that as we step out, there will be frustration. Frustration is part of faithfulness. Will we continue on even when it does not look like the promise of what our future holds? It is frustrating doing the small things in faith of God’s promises with no visible proof of the outcome. Yet, who says for our desires to come to pass means they have to happen on our timeline? This is where obedience comes in. Will we continue on, even when it gets difficult, until God's promises come to pass? This is what it means to plug into the power outlet. We know that as long as there is connection to HIM, the power will be there for exactly what is needed - when it is needed.
I have seen this truth at work in my life. While I prayed to find my match for close to 8 years, I went through a whole spectrum of emotions. Peace, confidence, insecurity, fear, doubt, hopelessness, apathy and numbness to hopefulness and faith. Many times that promise felt so distant that it seemed more like a far off, disconnected dream than a potential reality. But, I continued to pray - clinging to even the smallest amount of hope I could muster. It was just last year around this time when God corrected me. He placed it on my heart that it was time to take action to position myself in such a way to be open to receive who He had for me. This required me to humble myself and face my fears. I had to face my fears of rejection, my fear that I would repeat past mistakes, and gain courage to be bold enough to know that no matter what the journey looked like, He would get me through it. I had to actually open myself up to possibilities instead of just say that I was open. The steps I took were ridiculously simple and included engaging single guys in conversation, looking them in the eye, and smiling. Those baby steps were small but required faith and God moved. After about six months of doing those small things I went on my first date with Alex. We are now just at the six month mark and I know he is the man I prayed for all those years. It is far better than what I thought it could be. I didn't force anything, but I did remain willing and open to God’s promise for me and then stepped outside of the prayer-only comfort zone with boldness into action.
What have you been praying for breakthrough in? Are there any baby steps you have avoided taking in that area? Are you plugged into the "outlet?" Why not be bold and step out in faith? It is not always about making the right decision. But it is imperative that you make a decision and then make it right in the process. Please comment with what your very next step is below. Share this post with others so that together we can stay accountable to what God wants to do in and through us.
Blessing and God's crazy favor all over you!