“Just pray about it.” “I’ll be praying for you.” We have either heard these common Christian phrases, spoken them, or both. Prayer is something we are expected to understand and utilize. Often times we believe that baptism automatically instills this ability. When this is not the reality, however, we are afraid to ask questions or dig deeper. We should just know how to pray right? This unrealistic expectation and the fear that follows can rob us of the joy and power of prayer. It is through prayer that His peace, His provision, and His power are experienced.
In my prayer life, I found myself envious of people who would say they heard from God, or that God had revealed something to them. I never felt like I had those moments. I started questioning myself. If I don’t feel like I hear from God, does that mean my faith is not as strong? Does that mean something in my life is preventing me from hearing clearly from God?
As I looked through scripture for examples of people who heard from God, I was led to Habakkuk. I found a great example of things to consider when I pray, and action steps toward discerning God’s voice. Habakkuk 2:1 begins with, “I will stand at my watch”. In other words, if I want to hear from God when I pray, a good first step is to be still. I think one of the biggest challenges in prayer is not quieting life enough to truly hear from Him. The “noise” in our life prevents us from truly connecting with God. The second part of Habakkuk 2:1 says, “I will look to see what He will say to me.” After being still, ask God what He has to say to me. I wait for Him to put someone on my heart or reveal to me a situation in my life, or someone else’s that He wants to address.
Finally, in Habakkuk 2:2, I discovered a third thing to consider in prayer when it says, “The Lord replied: Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald (whoever reads it) may run with it”. In other words, I should journal if God brings a specific person to mind that I am to pray for or reach out to. In addition, I make note of any images God reveals. Journaling what God reveals allows me to do two things. First, it allows me to measure what He said against scripture. God will not contradict what He has spoken through the Bible. Second, it gives a written history of all of the ways God answers my prayers. Having that written record of His faithfulness makes it easier to believe that He will answer again.
So as we pray, we should be still and ask God to speak, make note of what we are hearing, and measure it against God’s word. Over time we will become more comfortable connecting to God through prayer. Our prayer life will be stronger when mirrored after what is recorded in Habakkuk. Hearing from God more clearly will have such an impact on how our story intersects with His and will add depth to the words “just pray about it”, and, “I will pray for you”.