When something is troubling me I often turn to prayer and Scripture. One morning while reading the Bible and feeling like I wasn’t finding the peace that I needed, a voice of conviction whispered in my head. “You are not soaking in the Word, but hiding in it.” In other words, I wasn’t correctly using any of the tools God had given me.
Upon reflection, there were a couple of things I was doing wrong. First, I wasn’t living out what I was hearing. Instead, I was waiting for and wanting constant reassurance. Many times we read through our daily devotions, attend a church service or Bible study and hear some comforting or convicting words, ponder them for a few minutes, think on how profound they are, and then get on with our day. We can recall the lesson, but we don’t put it into practice. Then we become frustrated when do not have peace in our situation.
James offers some wisdom in this area:
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (James 1:22-25 NLT).
Notice the promise that is also included in the above verses., “if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
The second mistake was in my prayer. We can read and even memorize Bible verses, but without a relationship with God it is fruitless. Prayer can be a dialogue between us and God that builds that relationship. If we have confessed our sins and acknowledged Christ as our Savior then prayer can become a source of comfort, strength, guidance, and healing.1
1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 says this:
Give thanks in everything,
For this is God’s will for you
In Christ Jesus. (HCSB)
Being in constant prayer doesn’t mean giving God a list of demands repeatedly, but having a dialogue with Him throughout the day. Thank Him for the blessings He has provided and ask Him for what you need. Most importantly, listen to the stirrings of your heart where His response may be felt. 2
After hearing from the voice of conviction, I redirected my approach and began to pray in a new way about the problem I was facing. I embraced the words in Scripture that applied to my particular situation, and when I prayed I asked God to not just reveal Himself to me, but to reveal Himself through me. I prayed in such a way as to model 1 Thessalonians 5. As a result, I witnessed God’s faithfulness and answer to my prayer.
In what ways do you keep from acting like the forgetful man in the mirror?
For more on prayer visit: The Priority of Prayer
1.Dr. Charles Stanley. “The Priority of Prayer.” In Touch Ministries, Inc. Sept. 8, 2016.
Accessed 9/11/16. https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer