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4 Important Things you Need to Know About Prayer

Let me talk to you about prayer for a minute. Our human minds seem to always have expectations. We often expect things to go the way we have planned them in our heads, but when it comes to prayer, those expectations are not always met. God operates outside of our thoughts and expectations, which means that our answers can come from the strangest of places and show up in the weirdest of ways.

As we start this year, here are four important things you need to know about expectations in prayer:

Four Important Things You Need to Know About Prayer

Your answer may come from the weirdest of places in ways you don’t expect it

Have you ever prayed for a car and been given a bus ticket? Or have you asked God for someone to love and instead been surrounded by a community? God has a way of answering our prayers in ways we don’t expect.

God operates outside of our thoughts. He sees yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The things we think we want or need may not actually be best for us in reality. When we pray, we have to surrender the parts of us that expect something specific from God; we have to give Him our dilemma and allow Him full control of the answer.

This also applies to where the answer may come from. We often expect the answer to come from our family, our friends, or our church. God, however, is not limited to using people we know or even believers in answering our prayer requests. That’s what makes His way so amazing.

Faith makes a difference

A few years ago, I attended a women’s prayer retreat. The speaker was Esmie Branner, the author of an incredible book, Beyond the Veil of darkness.' If I learned anything from that woman, it was that we need to have an attitude of faith when it comes to prayer. Instead of just asking God for things, we can thank Him in advance for what He is about to do, believing He will do it.

It turns “Lord, I don’t know how I’m going to get through the month with no money, please help me” into “God, I thank You in advance for how You will provide for my needs this month.”

Give it a try; instead of asking God for things this week, thank Him for what He is going to do. See how much of a difference it makes.

”Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.“ ‭‭Mark‬ ‭11‬:‭24

Sometimes the answer is wait

We live in a society where the things we want come to us in an instant. Instant messaging, fast food, even parcels can be shipped with next day delivery. As much as we may not want to admit it, the environment we live in has affected how we expect God to answer.

What happens when God says wait? We are so used to getting what we want, when we want it, that waiting seems like such an impossible task. Friends, sometimes the answer truly is wait. I don’t even mean wait for a few days or weeks; it can be months or years. Rest assured, if God makes you wait, He’s preparing you for something, or He’s preparing something for you. Hold on, trust God; He knows what He’s doing.

If you are waiting on God, then there’s no need to worry; get some rest.

important things to know about prayer

Be sure to leave your request at Jesus’ feet

When you submit an essay, it’s gone; there’s no more editing or amending. When you send a letter, it’s gone; you can’t reach back into the post box and try to make changes. When we send a prayer request, however, we often let it run wild in our minds, we worry about the outcome, and we hold tight to what we were supposed to have let go of!

God truly wants to give us peace; that’s why He asks us to give our requests to Him, to trust Him with the things that steal our joy and break our hearts.

”Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.“ ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭6‬-‭7

If there’s one more gem I want to leave you with, it’s that prayer is a tool you need to use. What use is a paintbrush if the painter never picks it up? What use is a pen if it stays in the writer's pencil case? What use is prayer if the Christian never taps into it?

I don’t know what your prayer life is like, but I encourage you to stop what you’re doing and pray. Tell God everything that’s on your heart. Surrender your pain, your joy, your expectations and allow Him to respond in His way and in His time.

What are your thoughts on answered prayer? How has God answered your prayers over the past year? Share with us in the comments below and don't forget to join the fun on Instagram.

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