Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Being Guided in Prayer
from A Journey to Victorious Praying by Bill Thrasher
Lord, all my desire is before You; and
my sighing is not hidden from You.
Praying in the Spirit is leaning upon the Spirit not only for His motivation and His enablement but also for His guidance. Wesley Duewel was on a trip from India to the United States and fighting a fever. He thought, If only I could find one Christian and ask him to pray for me. In describing the experience, he states, “Suddenly I felt as if a human hand with a cool wet washcloth had wiped my brow. Instantly my fever, headache, nausea, and sore throat were gone and I felt completely well. I thought, ‘Who prayed for me?’”1 Later Duewel received a letter from a Christian half a world away who had felt a heavy burden of prayer at that exact time and day!
A lady named Dianne repeated a childhood story from when her parents were missionaries in Jordan. An angry mob marched toward the mission compound with murderous resolution. Although the compound was walled on all four sides, that day the gate opened. Dianne and her younger brother were playing in the courtyard as the mob advanced. She remembers a dazed look coming over the forces of the mob, who inexplicably veered left, marched to the side wall, and scrambled back over it like a stream of fire ants.
Weeks later they received a letter from her grandmother in Chicago who had been awakened in the night to pray for her family in Jordan. Gripped by a sense of impending danger, she got on her knees and began to earnestly intercede until the burden lifted. Her letter inquired what crisis the family had faced. The date and time of the letter precisely matched the date and time of the threatening mob.2
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S KNOWLEDGE
OF OUR HEARTS
True prayer starts with God and the prayer burden He places on our heart. For that reason the greatest discipline in prayer is the discipline of communicating with the Holy Spirit as He aids us in sharing our real concerns, burdens, and desires. I have written about how to use the Lord’s day to aid this process.
God is seeking to reveal Himself to you as you seek His will. Let me offer a simple suggestion that I have found to be very helpful. This idea came to me when I set aside a special time to seek the Lord concerning the dryness in my Sunday worship experience. I had ceased to have a sense of anticipation in regard to the Lord’s day. It had dwindled to a mere duty.
As I sought the Lord concerning this situation, I walked away from that day with a solemn personal conviction. The conviction was to never have a Lord’s day in which I would not seek to share my heart with God. This requires preparation and the enablement of God. I take time during the week to write down the three greatest concerns of my heart, finalizing it on Saturday night. Then, going into the Lord’s day, I lift up these concerns to Him. It may be an upcoming responsibility, an area in which I need direction, a relationship that needs His gracious aid, or a temptation. I write down any insight that God gives in response to the request, and I review it the next week. These sheets of paper are filed away and would be worthless to anybody else. But to me, they are a reminder that my God is a living God who knows my name and address and is willing to be involved in the affairs of my life. God reveals Himself.3
In prayer I used to ignore my fear or anxiety and seek to continue in my previously determined plan as I sought God. I discovered that at this point of my not paying attention to my heart, true prayer died even though I continued to be involved in the mechanics of it. When our hearts cease to pray, we are not praying. The Holy Spirit has been given to help us stay in touch with our hearts so that we may fellowship with God in a genuine way.
THE HOLY SPIRIT’S LEADING IN PRAYER
It is possible to even get bogged down in the discipline of prayer by attempting to pray through all the various requests that people give. It was a great breakthrough to realize that God was not necessarily leading me to pray for everything with equal intensity. To try to do so will kill a prayer life. To learn to let God set the agenda of our prayer life will resurrect it. “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).
God will not give any of us every prayer burden. Our responsibility is to present our lives to Him and let Him place on our hearts the prayer burden He has for us. One routine Saturday morning I arose to have some time with the Lord. I was quite ready to go about my errands for the day, but I had a great uneasiness in my spirit. Attempting to be sensitive to what I had ignored too much of my life, I sat silently before the Lord and asked Him if there was anything else about which He desired me to talk to Him. A couple of things came to mind, and then there was the thought of “safety.” After I prayed for God to keep me safe that day, I felt a liberty in my spirit to go into the day. Four hours later as I was driving, another car pushed me into the lane of oncoming traffic. Somehow I avoided contact with the cars on either side of me, and all I could think was “safety.” I praised God for how He had prepared me for this in prayer and confessed to Him the many times I had ignored Him by living in a spirit of rush. God knows how to prepare us for all that is ahead as we seek to be attentive to Him.
On another occasion I was taking a walk with my wife and we both had a sense of the need to pray for a neighbor boy whom we deeply love. Jeff has been a big brother to my three boys and we love him as if he were our own son. We poured out our hearts for him in prayer as we walked. God knew that that night Jeff would be rushed to the hospital with an injury to his eye, and I would have the privilege of sitting with his parents as we trusted God to deal with the situation. Praise God all went well, and God once again showed me that He can intervene in our agenda and give us a prayer burden to prepare us for what is ahead.
I do not want to give you the impression that this happens every time I pray, for it certainly does not. However, it is necessary to be open to it. Many times I have taken walks and asked the Lord to bring to my mind anything for which He would have me pray.
As we seek to obey the Spirit’s guidance in prayer, let me tell you what will often happen—nothing! But sometimes “nothing” means that the Spirit desires to slow us down and lead us into silence. Our society is addicted to noise, and for that reason we are often insensitive to the Spirit of God.
One day years ago my car radio broke. As I was planning to get it fixed, I sensed a restraint from the Spirit. Every time I sat in my car I turned on the radio. This is not necessarily wrong, but what was wrong was that I did not include the Lord in this decision. I needed to learn how to welcome times of silence and be more available to the Lord in letting Him bring things to my mind for which to pray. It was a wonderful year that I lived without a car radio.
The Spirit of God desires to guide you in praying your heart. The apostle Paul says, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1). Note the link between the desire of the heart and prayer. As you delight in God and allow Him to put His desires in your heart, you will learn true prayer. Ask God to deliver you from anything that is hindering you from praying your heart to God. What is on your heart at this moment? Ask Him to help you pray your heart’s desire to Him. Say with the psalmist, “Lord, all my desire is before You, and my sighing is not hidden from You” (Psalm 38:9).
I strongly believe in Lord's guidance while we are in prayer. It is a balanced pacing, perhaps silence comes from God and perhaps, He moves us into certain direction. He requires our willingness and to stay surrunderred to His Lordship, so we can hear His voice.
Once I was enjoying worship time in my church, and a name appeared in my heart. I had to stop worshipping and pay attention.
It was a missionary in a sensitive country. "Every breath from your being, Lord, let's work for this man's life".
A fortnight passed, and I met his brother, a pastor, in a prayer meeeting. "!What about your brother?, I asked".
"Haven't you heard? A fortnight ago, he had an accident during Ramadam. A helicopter was needed to pick him and send him immediately for a surgery in hospital". He was fine now, recovering in a healing process.
This is our beloved Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we are Jesus friends when we hear his voice and obey Him.
Thanks so much by this insight, it refreshes me in my prayer life and provokes me hunger for His presence!