TOUCHING GOD WITH YOUR FEELINGS
Many times Christians don’t believe that God will answer their prayers. I think that is why prayer is usually one of our last options or even the very last option. I mean, why spend time in something you certainly don’t count on it being of real help to you? Let me ask you right away, ‘when you pray, do you really believe that God will answer your prayers?’ Many will say yes, but our attitudes do not say the same. So you hear things like, ‘don’t just be praying o, look for how to solve your problem.’ It simply implies that your praying is not really a winning strategy for the solution you seek. And to be fair, many of our prayers go unanswered. I do not want to give you a one stop strategy on how to receive answers to your prayer here, I don’t know it myself. But I will show you a reason that may be contributing heavily to the backlog of unanswered prayers.
Ever wondered that most of the things you worry about or fear happen? They usually happen more than the things you pray about. If you are like me and a few others I know, you would discover that most of the things you would want not to happen happens, while the things you would want to happen end up not happening. If you could reverse this, maybe you would receive most of the things you wish to receive.
The first place we should look to is what the Bible said in Ephesians 4:20; Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…. This shows that both the things you imagine (including those things you do not want) and the ones you ask for, are prayers. You just might have prayed more seriously for those you do not want without knowing! If our imaginations are prayers, it means that we are constantly praying, even when we are not kneeling or conscious of the fact that we are. When you think and worry, your imaginations are engaged, it means that you are praying; only you didn’t know. When you soliloquize, you are engaged in active prayers, only you do not recognize that your heart is communicating actively with the one who answers prayer. And like God told the children of Israel in Numbers, it is those things you say (both with your mind and with your mouth) that God hears, that He will answer. In other words, God doesn’t sift your prayers and check them to refine them for you before sending answers. In love, He may not answer some, at least not immediately, but the ones you constantly ask for will eventually come to you, because you attract what you want. Like psychologists will say, your present life is a manifestation of your speaking and imaginations in times past, and your future will also manifest the ones you are presently praying for, knowingly or unknowingly.
And why I think that those we imagine (which unfortunately are usually the bad ones), happens is because we employ energies in ‘asking’ for them. When you imagine that your health will fail, you employ all your emotions, you feel the headache, you imagine the stomach rumbling and even see yourself in a hospital sometimes. You don’t want it to happen, but you are practically helpless as you engage your imagination and let it paint such a powerful picture of yourself in that detestable situation that every single vibration in your body agrees with it and presents it as request. When you imagine how broke you can be, how your pay will not be enough to sort out your bills, you engage all of your being in it. You make the calculations, you assign the monies to the bills and share the thing until you could see that ‘this will certainly not be enough’. You agree with it. You approve it. And you decide that this is actually the situation. If you stand up to pray for God to provide, the energy is not there. The motivation is gone. It is like climbing a hill, going against the current. You see that this is not only hard, but almost an exercise in futility. You conclude that this is a waste of time. If you go on to pray, it is only because you have to do it as a religious obligation. While you are praying, your mind may even be roaming around for a solution. You want to get it done with so you can look for a way to solve your problems. That’s certainly not prayer. The one you have prayed with your imagination-that things are bad-carries more energy and passion. That one will likely get answers instead.
I think why we pray in vague terms is because we rarely expect God to answer. It is like worrying after prayer, because you don’t really believe God will answer. So many times prayer to us is a vent. We just sit down and vent. We just talk to somebody/something so that we feel relief. It is like a psychological healing. Just talk about it and you will feel better. This is even when we are at our wits end. When we believe we have done all we could and there is no answer. So we come as though to take God to court. To question Him for failing us. We complain bitterly that He has failed us and pour out more bile and disappointment, all the time not getting a breakthrough.
I have heard it said many times that ‘big men’-; let’s interpret this now as rich people or people who are well to do financially, usually have their prayers answered more than the poorer ones. Some observations, including mine seems to support this, and I think what we are discussing here plays a huge role. These guys pray from a relaxed place. A calm peaceful mind and a restful spirit. They pray from a victorious point of view, not from a frightened worried mind. First of all, even in normal human relationship which is an off-shoot of the relationship we have with God, you don’t come before a benefactor with desperation. It is a turn off. It is negative energy.
It is when you are relaxed and in possession of your faculties that you can make a sensible request that could penetrate heaven. I mean, if you went to your parents to request something, you could be as detailed and as specific as you can afford to. This is because you believe they are listening, they are paying attention and would deploy efforts quickly and as soon as they can and as much as they can to solve the problem. You don’t want them expending efforts on the wrong direction or unimportant details. But with God, we approach it with trial and error. Let’s just talk to Him about it, and who knows, peradventure He might do something about it and whatever He can do, we will manage. After all we really were not looking forward to Him doing it.
If you believe God is listening to you now as you pray, you would be as detailed as you can, and not just that, you would be emotional. Elijah was a man of like passion, but he prayed earnestly; with sincere and intense conviction. The man knew his prayers would be answered before he was through. It was uttered with intense conviction. An earnest prayer will have to involve your emotions. Every fiber of your being will have to be involved in this. No, it is not about shouting or gyrating or summersaulting or speaking in unknown tongues or stuff like that. It is about engaging every fiber of your being in the process. If you were facing certain death sentence and you don’t want to die, and the judge just before he delivers his judgment invites you to make a request, how would you address him? That would be earnestly. You would not even be aware of a fly perching on your nose. You will be wrapped in it. You would involve every fiber of your being. Indeed, the vey clothe you are wearing will join in the plea. One could feel your soul as they pour through your mouth, and it doesn’t necessarily have to translate to you raising your voice and screaming. The theatrics does not deliver the result, the earnestness does. Look at the book of 1 Kings and see an example of Elijah praying earnestly, this time for the rain to return. He folded his head into his laps, shutting out all distractions and prayed out his soul. An earnest prayer will also involve you doing it again and again if situations warrant. If you have not received an answer, and you know that this source is the only one that can give you answers, what do you do? You will keep pleading with him, intensely each time of course to vindicate you. Elijah had promised the king rain was coming, even killed about 450 false prophets as a demonstration that he was the right guy. There was no coming back from here without result. It was a prayer that must be answered, so it is a good portrait of a guy to watch when you are in desperate situation. He was in that position, pouring out his soul, again and again, until he received the result he sought. Jesus Christ also prayed earnestly. He wanted to do God’s will, and yet didn’t want to die. Such a dilemma. He even excused himself from close friends who were likely going to be a distraction so he could pour out his soul. The Bible recorded that sweat dropped as blood. Every fiber of his being was involved.
Nigerians pray, but I think we mostly go through the motions of prayer. We pray as a religious obligation and for show, and maybe for competition. But we hardly think of prayer as we ‘pray’. We have neglected the power of imagination as prayers. And the result is that we have shelved off those things we really don’t want to happen to the imagination to go and fester and present themselves as our earnest desire from our soul and spirit, while we scream and shout about things we don’t even give a thought about. One of the things we should do is to think about the things we want to pray about before we pray about them. Think about it. Imagine it. Let it ruminate in your mind. Think in terms of number, in terms of specifics, in concrete terms so that your whole system will be in sync when you present your petitions to God. And also think about them when you have ‘finished’ praying, because most of the prayers start after we have stood up from the place of prayers. Prayer is a concrete strategy, it is not a fall back plan. If we believe the scriptures, then we agree that people of the Bible didn’t use prayer as an afterthought. They used it as one of their key strategies. I like as a man once put it, ‘Prayer is one of the strategies. If you want 1 million naira for a project, and you have two hundred thousand naira and know where to raise four hundred thousand, then you can safely say that strategy number three to raise four hundred thousand is prayer. It is part of the plan.’ It is not a crutch for a broken leg.
Scripture says; ‘whatsoever THINGS you ask for when you pray, BELIEVE YOU HAVE RECEIVED THEM, and you shall have them.’ (emphases are mine)
So from today, make prayer as it should be and you would see there will be an improvement in the positive results you receive from God.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: Eph. 4:20; Numbers 14:28; James 5:17; 1 kings 18:41-46; Mathew 26:36-45; 21:22.