I heard a man share this weekend about how much the Lord worked while he was on a short term mission trip and how often he's seen that happen in the many trips over the years. While he shared this reality, it was almost like a light went on about the reasons behind this - he began to share how he knew the reason God did so much during these journeys was partly due to much preparation by the trip attenders as well as an intense prayer life before, during, and after the experience. The trip participants prayed with anticipation of what God would do during their journey and travels. This struck me... we're serving the same God whether we go to Ethiopia or go to work... He hasn't changed. But the reality is, folks like you and me often have to "go away" to a far away place to see the hands and feet of God moving miraculously. What's the difference? We know God hasn't changed.
The difference is me. The difference is the prayer life I lead while here in everyday land, as compared to the prayer life I lead prior to departing on a mission trip, or the prayer life you lead during a dramatic time in your life. Why does God seem to move more in those times? I say it's because we're calling on the name of God expectantly. When life is going great, how often am I at the foot of the cross begging Him to show up? How often during my daily walk do I call on the Lord with expectation to move? Like Psalm 5:5 says, In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." God desires us to call on His name with anticipation of His moving!
While searching a bit for scripture online about praying big and asking the Father expectantly, I came across a blog article that struck a cord. You can read the entire article here. But here are some big points,
There’s a story of a young girl who wrote a letter to a missionary to let him know that her class had been praying for him. But evidently she’d been told not to request a response to her letter because the missionaries were very busy. So the missionary got a kick out of her letter. It said,
“Dear Mr. Missionary, we are praying for you. But we are not expecting an answer.”For many Christians, this girl’s letter is an analogy for their prayer lives. We pray all the time for the healing of a loved one or the reconciliation of a broken marriage, but we secretly believe it’s too late. We think we already know what God is going to do. So we pray, but we don’t expect a positive answer.
They can’t possibly imagine that God would actually answer their prayers.
But He did. And He does. Not only does God answer our prayers, but He can do so in the most miraculous, mind-blowing ways. We rarely see this happen because our prayer lives are so faithless. We are like the man in James 1 who asks but does not believe.
I challenge you to test God in this. The next time someone calls you with a prayer request that you immediately think you know the answer to, resist that reflex. Instead turn it over to God in genuine trust and see what happens.
In the last several weeks, I've been testing God on this... I've been praying with anticipation and expectation of His wonderful power and provision. And you know what? He shows up! Maybe not always in the exact way I asked or in the same way I thought I needed it, but He has yet to prove me wrong about showing up. He wants to show up and show off! Let Him!
I only pray that this is not only a season in my life or the life of my friends - but that I can begin to develop a lifestyle of prayer and expectation regarding the majesty of our Lord! Colossians 1:9 reminds me to "pray without ceasing"... and in essence, do not cease to BELIEVE He'll show up!