I consider intercession to be a dialogue between God and I; a conversation between two friends who take time to hear each other out.
Over time, I’ve come to realize that hearing what God is saying and accurately interpreting what He means can often be two distinct things.
How we interpret God’s words informs what we expect of Him…what we expect to happen in our lives as well as what we definitely don’t anticipate to deal with.
This means that if our interpretation is wrong, then our expectation of God is off and when He starts to move in our lives it’s confusion galore. At this point, many of us begin to question the goodness of God and in some extreme cases, His very existence. Yet all along, we’re the ones who heard His words but didn’t hear His heart.
Today I want to share some of the common themes I’ve seen in how God answers prayers:
He moulds His answers based on our maturity.
How you respond to a 2-year old who asks you something and a 20-year old who asks you the same thing will certainly differ.
Similarly, how God responds to newly saved believers is different from how He’ll converse with someone who’s journeyed with Him for decades.
If you needed fare to get from point A to B and you made a simple prayer as a new believer, God may send someone to literally hand you the exact amount you need. Fast forward some seasons of growth later, and you make another provision for prayer, but this time round God sends a friend with a business opportunity you can partner on and make some money. He is still answering your prayer of provision just not the same way He used to.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t transition our hearing as God transitions His speaking. We want to be addressed like toddlers that we no longer are. Yet for us to grow as believers, He has to continually modify how He addresses us so that we can enter deeper levels of intimacy and understanding with Him.
If it feels like God is getting harder to hear/understand, perhaps you need to check whether your frequency needs to be elevated to match your growth in the faith.
He answers in seed form.
This is especially the case as our maturity grows.
Using the same example of provision – literally getting the fare is like getting the fruit you need for sustenance; but getting a business opportunity is like getting seed that you need to plant and grow in order to harvest fruit that you can then eat.
When we don’t recognize the seeds God is sending our way, it’s easy to despise and dismiss them as bothersome problems that we don’t have time for. All the while lamenting how God has abandoned us in our time of need.
Are there seeds in your life that you need to start working on to yield the fruit that you’ve been asking God for?
He puts you in an environment that will manifest your answer.
Sometimes we ask for things that we already have but are completely unaware of because they’ve been dormant thus far or we missed the moment when God deposited them in us. There are also answers that won’t make much sense if we remain in the same environment we’ve been in. Giving someone who’s in the middle of a desert a gallon of water makes more sense than giving it to someone right next to an ocean. The one who’s in the desert treasures the water more and in so doing learns to steward it better.
When I ask for the ability to love my neighbours, He ushers into my life the kind of people who have me muttering “Jesus, help me” every five minutes. In learning to relate with them with the kindness of God that they desperately need, I find myself loving unconditionally in ways I didn’t think I was capable of.
When I ask for wisdom, He brings more challenges my way to draw to the surface the wisdom He has deposited in me.
When I ask for breakthrough, He allows the storm to stir with up with just enough intensity to make me mad enough at what’s happening to break forth from despair and break through into victory. Beyond supernatural power that seems to operate in a mystic vacuum, He’s revealing His power at work in me and through me. He’s showing me what I can do in Him as He unearths what He can do through me.
When I ask for strength, He places me in situations that exhaust every ounce of my own strength to make room for His abundant strength. My weakness is no longer a place of shame but one of trust and honour where I can be held by the One who has it all covered.
See, God doesn’t waste. He will not give you anything that will just sit unused in your life. Inherent in His answers to your prayers is the requirement to (1) make room for what He’s bringing and (2) make good use of what He’s releasing into your life.
Have you been resisting changes in your life that are in fact answers to prayers you’ve been making?
He changes His mode of speaking with the seasons.
Throughout the Bible we see examples of the many ways God has communicated with humanity ranging from spiritual leaders of the time, angelic visitations, the still small voice, to a donkey. As the seasons come and go, God will vary how He speaks in part to guard against us becoming casual and familiar with His voice in our lives. Also, God isn’t as dull and boring as we sometimes make Him out to be as Christians. When He changes things up, it’s always a fun and incredible opportunity to discover new ways God is using to reveal Himself to us.
In one season He may predominantly use the Bible while in another He uses the people you least expect to speak into your life. This certainly doesn’t negate other forms of communication. It just teaches us to adapt and grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him.
Have you been waiting for God to speak to you in a certain way you’re used to when He’s in fact been speaking to you all along in a new way?
This post is by no means exhaustive. Just a glimpse into some of the things I’ve seen in my own life and in the lives of those close to me.
Here’s to more clarity between you and God and a prayer life that is full of fun adventures with the Lord.