I want to share with you a revelation I had about 2/3 years ago that has radically transformed the way I speak and interact with God. And since being drawn into intimacy with the Father and therefore having more times of just lingering in His presence and pushing deeper, this revelation has opened up a whole new level.
It’s such a simple revelation that I kind of wonder why I hadn’t figured it out on my own… but hey – it just reminds me that I am feeble, weak and so dependent on God!
The revelation I had was about asking God questions!
I think so much of the time we consider prayer to be that time when we send our requests up to Heaven and hope that they have been heard. But this ‘traditional’ form of prayer, or often known as the ’emergency’ prayer time when things all go wrong and finally you turn to God and ask for help, isn’t the whole story – in fact it’s nowhere near the whole story! We see throughout the Bible, particularly through David, that there is an inquiring of the Lord for direction. Each time David ‘inquired of the Lord’ (1 Sam 23:2, 23:4 30:8, 2 Sam 2:1, 5:19, 5:23, 21:1) he received a direct reply giving him direction in the battles he was facing. This is definitely a way we should be talking to God, asking of Him and receiving direction. But we can do this in such a shallow way. I’ve decided that the word I love to use over the word ‘prayer’, which for me brings all the legalistic connotations that I have put on it over the years, is the word ‘conversation’ or ‘chatting with God’ because it describes a two way chat that isn’t just one question and an answer but continuous talking .
Over the past 2/3 years I’ve been further exploring the privilege we have of being able to have conversation with God at any time, and I’ve found that questions in conversation with God in three areas have really opened up this whole new level of knowing the heart of the Father.
This is the original revelation I had which God has built upon over time. The simple revelation is that when you ask specifically, God will answer specifically! It’s as simple as that!
The problem with general prayer requests is that you can’t really identify when God has answered your prayer. It also makes it easier to explain-away any acts of God.. as unfortunately it’s not just unbelievers who end up doing this. Whereas if you ask specific requests then it is much more obvious when He answers it.
This applies in so many contexts that I’m struggling to think of the best example to explain it. But I guess one example would be in praying for a friend who is an unbeliever. Through knowing some of the situations they are facing you have the opportunity to intercede for them. Rather than just praying that God would encounter them and save them, you could start praying for specific areas of their life, that God would reveal himself in a specific way, that He would provide for a specific request of theirs. By asking specifically on behalf of your friend, it will not only allow you to see obvious answers to prayer, but it might even open up an opportunity to share about Jesus. Just think if you were praying for a friend and saw God break into a situation that they were facing, you could then go and show that friend the prayer you were praying and link that with the breakthrough God gave them – what an opportunity to share God’s love! Maybe even being bold sometimes and tell them what you are praying before you see the breakthrough. I don’t think many would see it as a negative thing that you were praying for them!!
This is also a way to see how God is moving in your city – praying “God save this city” is so general that it would be hard to see where He is answering that. But praying specifically for your neighbour or friend, or for favour with a project in the city, or seeing key people across the city saved – now that can be answered specifically!
What I would encourage you to do is a ‘holy zoom-in’ – haha! I’m laughing my head off now because I have literally just made up that term… oh well… we’ll go with it! A holy zoom-in is where you start with those general prayers, but allow God to direct your prayers to focus specifically on the things God is wanting to do.
So often I would get prophetic pictures, or a word of knowledge and would feel the pressure to figure out what it means and what God wants to say. The result of this was a few years of rather ‘fluffy’ and incomplete pictures and words that often lacked in power. God is so amazing that He would use them all the same and would speak to people through them, but I just knew that there was more – there was more accuracy, more detail, more power. I saw people ministering using prophetic pictures and words that were delivered with such power and accuracy that it blew situations wide open, convicted in powerful ways that lead to repentance, brought encounters and revelation to unbelievers that resulted in salvation. There is such power in bringing the words of God, but that wasn’t what I had experienced so far in my own walk.
But since learning to connect with God in conversation and to ask Him questions, I have discovered that you can go so much deeper when it comes to prophetic words and pictures.
Next time you get a prophetic picture or word, starting asking God questions about it. What does this mean, what does that represent, who is it for, what are you going to do through this, what is the application, how are you going to encounter, what of this do they need to hear. Don’t get too caught up with the pictures – the picture is the way God will reveal to you what He wants to do, but it doesn’t mean that you need to go and share the picture in it’s entirety, don’t get lost in the detail of how you figured out what it means. Often now I will get a picture, and I will end up briefly describing what it was that God showed me (and focus on a specific part of it if that is what God is drawing out of it) but then bring how this picture relates to the person it is for, delve into the application, delve into drawing that person into an encounter. I find God will often give me a picture just as a means of telling me there is someone He wants to encounter, and how He wants to encounter them.God wants to use your words and pictures to draw others into an encounter – so if you are listening carefully to Him throughout and partnering with Him it will be powerful! Don’t forget God has given you authority to speak His words with power and to cast out enemies at the name of Jesus.
Sometimes we are also very quick to get up the front a share a picture when we have it. But we forget that God loves to reveal who it is for. More and more I am receiving pictures and asking God if he will reveal the person to me so I can go and minister to them privately, and if not then I would go and share it from the front. Also it’s important to ask if the picture or word is for now – God has told me to wait before, and he has then brought me into an encounter with the person who needs that word at another point.
Everyday Life and Meetings
In the Bible it says this:
So Jesus said to them “Truly, truly, I say to you, the son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows his all that he himself is doing.
Sometimes we are so lazy that we just sit back and ask God to do all the work and let Him show us what He is doing. But actually, there should be a pushing into His presence, pushing into His will that causes our hearts and minds to align with what the Father is doing and therefore to see where He is working.
A question I have learnt to ask wherever I am is:
What are you doing?
This question has focused my mind to see what God is doing, but also shows God that I’m available to be used. So many times I would find myself drifting and getting distracted, and now when that happens the way I fix my mind on God again and focus on Him is by asking this question, What are you doing? It opens my eyes to look for the work of the Holy Spirit – and often He shows me so much more than I expect. I’m the kind of person that will sense things around me, sense what God is doing and what the atmosphere is like. So this question almost turns on my sensing gifting, it activates me.
Another question which I have learnt to ask (which I was kind of doing but not being specific in asking) thanks to Simon Holley’s book ‘Sustainable Power’ is:
What is my part in this?
This opens you up to receive words and guidance from the Spirit as to what He wants you to be doing. What He may want you to share either privately or publicly. Often though, your part in it is to simply receive – don’t miss out on those moments!
But this isn’t just for in meetings, God is working everywhere and at all times, so even when you are out and about you can ask what He is doing and what He wants you to do – and you can see radical encounters out on the streets!
It’s all a journey – by my writing these things I am NOT saying that I am living this perfectly. Far from it, this is stuff I am still learning and adventuring into, sometimes more nervously than at other times. But there’s something about walking in intimacy with the Father that means a permanent connection to His heart and therefore eyes to see what He is doing and how you can get involved! And Jesus promised that we will see even greater things:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.