Saturday, May 9, 2015

Encouragement for the Waiting: Waiting Is a Time for Prayer


Last year around this time I was hopeful.

See, the American Christian Fiction Writer's conference takes place each year in September, and I was planning to go. One of my writer friends were also hoping to go. I was so excited. I knew who my roommates would be, and I even knew what I would wear. But circumstances fell through, and neither me nor my friend were able to attend the conference. Bummer.

But we prayed and kept working hard on our writing, and we both entered ACFW's Genesis contest, praying our stories would do well. To be honest, I forgot about my prayer for a while. I got busy with writing, family, church, work...

Then things started happening.

I got an email saying my name was drawn for a free conference registration with ACFW's "The End" program. A couple months later, my friend text messaged me, saying she'd applied for a scholarship to the writer's conference and won! This week, we both found out we're semi-finalists in the ACFW Genesis contest. Some people might think that's just a result of chance or fate. I choose to believe that God answered those prayers.

Sometimes God answers our prayers sooner than a year. Sometimes it takes longer than a year. My mom, for example, prayed for over 28 years that her mother to come to know Christ. Eventually, God answered.

What I'm trying to say is, prayer is a powerful thing. Prayer can get you through your time of waiting.


· Prayer involves Seeking God.


Psa 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. 


Psa 9:10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.

Psa 105:4 Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. 



James 5:16b The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
 
Psa 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;


Do you hear David’s desperation in that last verse? He feels so dried up and desperate, if he can just have another taste of God’s presence he can make it… Wow, if we could only get to that place in our lives where we’re so addicted to the presence of God that we’d thirst for Him like a thirsty traveler in a desert.

While it’s wonderful to be able to ask God for things, we should also seek God for Who He is, not just what He can give us.



“Many seek God, but only for His hand. They don't want God as much as they want something from God, such as a man, happiness, or a family. . . . Would you want someone to say he loves you just so you would do something for him? Seek God's face. Seek Him for who He is, not just for what He can do for you." -- from Lady In Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debbie Jones.



Anybody else love Pinterest.com? Here’s a quote I found on Pinterest for you:




God loves you and wants a deeply personal relationship with every one of us. Seeing His power and His love and affection for us, we should pray as a first resort instead of a last resort. Pray just to talk to God sometimes, without asking Him for anything. Tell Him how your day went.

"Girl Talk With God,” by Susie Shellenberger comes to mind here. It’s an imaginative look at a girl’s prayer life where Susie writes out God’s responses based on His Word. It’s a great way to encourage your own growing relationship with God.


You can’t have fellowship with someone you don’t communicate with. It’s important to talk to God.
Jesus is a person. We should never think of Him as less than God, but we should never think of Him as less than a person, either. Three persons, in fact. He’s more than just a vague spirit or an idea. He's the God who can be known. He’s the God-man who walked this earth and felt pain and hunger and loneliness just like we do.

Having experienced this earthy life, He knows what we’re feeling and wants us to come to Him and communicate our needs and desires and wishes. As we become aware of this, sometimes we need to come to God in prayer just to bless Him. Just to see what we can do at that moment to make Him happy.

Note of advice: While you’re getting to know God, keep a record of your prayer requests. It may be a list or a notebook or a shoebox with little pieces of paper in it. (Read a post about my Prayer Box HERE). When God answers a prayer request, write it down and date it. You will be amazed at His faithfulness, and watching Him work will grow your faith.

Pursuing and loving Him is an ecstatic adventure in itself. A side perk is that the things we want so desperately, the things we're waiting on that seem to take forever, all fade into shadows when we're delighting in His luminous presence. Oh, we may still be desperate and needy, but spending time with the Lord reminds us of His eternal plan for us. Cares of this life begin to crumble into unimportance, and the balm of His sweet fellowship soothes the sting of our earthly struggles.



Is there a specific time God answered a prayer for you? 

Do you remember a time you got so lost in conversation with God that the thing you were praying for began to seem insignificant? 

2 comments:

Courtney Ballinger said...

I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this post. (In fact, I'm going to read it tomorrow when I'm not quite as sleepy.)

You've been an amazing encouragement to me, Natalie, and I truly can't wait to experience the conference with you. So glad God connected us!
It has been a surreal God thing, hasn't it? I hadn't lined everything up in my mind until now, but you're right. The provision for both of us to attend ACFW this year...the Semifinals...
And even if we (or I) don't final, I know God has a plan for us there.

:)

Natalie Monk said...

Glad you like the post, Courtney! God is so good!!! I'm so excited/nervous about the conference, but I don't think it will truly become real in my mind until I check into the hotel. Ha!