This week, as we continue to study the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the way that He wants to actively lead us.
'Years ago I was in the process of developing a close friendship with a person who eventually became one of my closest friends. I was going through a difficult time and needed his help. As I was saying good-bye after lunch one day, I asked him how late I could call him that night. He said I could call him as late as I wanted to. I told him I didn’t want to wake him up. So I needed to know what time he planned to go to sleep. Then he said to me. “It doesn’t make any difference what time I go to sleep tonight. For you, I am a twenty-four hour friend, seven days a week. Call me whenever you want. I’ll be there.” You see, availability is one of the primary characteristics of friendship. Friends are available to their friends.' (Jack Deere, Surprised by the voice of God
The Spirit is a person, therefore, prayer is about having a living friendship with the Spirit. It's those who desire friendship who will hear His voice. If we don’t pray, do we really want a relationship with Him? Do we really want to hear Him? Maybe it reveals that we don’t expect Him to speak?
True prayer is also about listening to God as well as speaking. We listen so as to pray for His will. John writes,
‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.’ ((1 John 5:14-15)
True prayer is asking for things that we believe to be God’s will. We know that things are God’s will through listening to God and becoming convinced that something is His desire as well as ours. As we seek to learn to pray, God will teach us to hear His voice.
PAUL HEARD GOD IN PRAYER
The Spirit has recorded this incidence for our instruction,
‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”’ (2 Corinthians 12:9
Paul prayed three times for deliverance from whatever this ‘thorn in the flesh’ was. Paul’s prayer was answered, but not as he had initially desired. God answered Paul’s prayer by reassuring him that His grace was sufficient for him. Like Paul, if one will seek God in prayer, He will begin to speak and direct. Another incident in Paul’s life is helpful; it was whilst they and the church were ‘praying’ that God spoke and commissioned him,
‘Whilst worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I’ve called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went…’ (Acts 13:2-4)
This text also teaches that a church that prays together will hear God’s voice together. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be led as a church into the ministry and mission that He has for us!
Relationships are not a formula. Learning God’s will is open to those who desire to know Him. In response let’s meditate and pray from Jesus’ words,
‘I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.’ (John 15:15)