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User Archives: Stormie Omartian

  • Maturing in Prayer

    Posted on April 15, 2014 by Stormie Omartian

    Stormie Omartian

    "You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures." James 4:2-3 (NKJV)

    During the first couple of years I walked with the Lord, my prayers went something like this:

    "God, help me get that job."

    "Jesus, please heal my throat."

    "Lord, send enough money to pay these bills."

    "Father, take away my fear."

    It took me a while to realize that those spur-of-the-moment prayers were not accomplishing much. I guess I thought the idea was to do the best I could on my own, and then if I needed a lifeline from God, I grabbed it. The only problem was I needed a lifeline every other minute.

    I loved the Scripture verse that says, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7, NKJV). I took God at His Word and was asking, seeking and knocking on a pray-as-you-go basis. I also took to heart the verse that says, "... you do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2b).

    Great! I can easily remedy that, I thought, and proceeded to ask God for everything. But I still wasn't happy, and I didn't see the kind of answered prayer I desired.

    One day as I was reading James 4:2, my eyes were opened to the next verse, "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3).

    Could it be that the "God give-me-this, do-that, wave-your-magic-wand-here, get-me-out-of-this-mess" kind of praying was not what God desired for my prayer life? In utter frustration I said, "Lord, teach me how I'm supposed to pray."

    He did exactly that!

    I came to understand that prayer is not just asking for things — although that certainly is part of it. Far more importantly, prayer is talking with God. It's getting close to and spending time with the One you love. It's seeking Him first, getting to know Him better, being with Him and waiting in His presence.

    Prayer is acknowledging Him as the source of power upon whom you can depend. It's taking the time to say, Speak to my heart, Lord, and tell me what I need to hear. It's partnering with Him. It's aligning our spirits with His to see that His perfect will is done. It's establishing ourselves and our lives as being connected to God.

    We can't receive God's best for our lives, and we can't push back the things that were never God's will for us, except through prayer. We can't leave our lives to chance. We have to pray about everything all the time, not just when things go wrong.

    We have to pray over anything that concerns us, no matter how big ... "For with God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37, NKJV) ... or how small ... "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30, NKJV).

    The Bible tells us the basic qualification for prayer: "he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6b NKJV).

    The more you pray, the more you will find to pray about, and the more you'll be led to pray for others.

    Don't allow discouragement over unanswered prayer to cause you to doubt that God heard you. If you have received Jesus and are praying in His name, then God hears you and something is happening whether you see it manifested in your life now or not. In fact, every time you pray, you're advancing God's purposes for you. Without prayer, the full purpose God has for you can't happen.

    Dear Lord, Help me today to draw closer to You, in my words, my thoughts and my deeds. Help me share more of my life with You, and through that, help me discover Your perfect will. In His holy Name I pray, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Looking back in your walk with Christ, how has your prayer life matured? In what ways does it still need to grow?

    Have you ever had a prayer answered? Does this memory help you when facing discouragement over unanswered prayers?

    Power Verse:
    Jeremiah 33:3, "'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'" (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Stormie Omartian. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with James

  • The Three-Word Prayer God Loves

    Posted on January 13, 2014 by Stormie Omartian

    Stormie Omartian

    When my husband, Michael, and I were first married and differences arose between us, praying was definitely not my first thought. In fact, it was closer to a last resort. I tried other methods first, such as arguing, pleading, ignoring, avoiding, confronting, debating, and—of course—the ever-popular silent treatment. And the results? Not surprisingly, they were less than satisfying!

    When I did pray, often resentment, anger, unforgiveness, or an ungodly attitude clouded my communication with God. While I may have had a good reason for these emotions, my prayers were not coming from a right heart. What's more, I was praying that my husband would conform to my ideal image of him. My prayer was for God to change him into the person I wanted him to be.

    However, as I went to God in prayer every day, something unusual started to change—me. I was the one God decided to work on first, not my husband. Gently, the Lord began to soften my heart. Humble it. Mold it. And reconstruct it. As He did so, He erased the bitterness and resentment that were affecting my attitude and damaging my marriage.

    And this is how I came to discover a three-word prayer God loves: Change me, Lord.

    Gradually I came to realize that it was impossible to truly give myself in prayer for Michael without first examining my own heart.

    And it wasn't just my relationship with my husband that required me to pray this powerful three-word prayer. My relationship with my son and daughter required it. My relationships with my friends required it. Most of all, my relationship with God required it.

    Change me, Lord.

    I went into my prayer time with the goal of asking God to change others—making them less critical and more obedient. Less fearful. More loving.

    I came out of my prayer time with my own heart changed. My mind changed. My attitude changed. My life changed.

    Now, if you're like I was, this might make you mad at first. "Wait a minute!" you might object. "I'm not the one who needs changing here!"

    But God sees the things we can't see. He knows where we have room for improvement. He doesn't have to search long to uncover attitudes and habits that are outside His perfect will for us.

    Sometimes God uncovers sin in our hearts. This is important to identify because it separates us from Him and hinders our prayers being heard as Psalm 66:18 tells us, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (NKJV). God wants our hearts to be right so the answers to our prayers are not compromised.

    Early in my marriage, I knew it was important to pray for my husband. And a favorite trio of three-word prayers was often on my lips: Protect him, Lord. Save our marriage. Change him, Lord. I was convinced that this was the right way to pray, that God and I had the same goal in mind—a changed husband who was able to better meet my needs. But God's way is not always our way. God didn't choose to make those first changes in my husband. He chose to make them in me.

    One of the greatest gifts I could give to Michael was the gift of my own wholeness. One of the most effective tools in seeing transformation in his life was my own transformation.

    You have to trust that God is big enough to accomplish all this and more.

    I learned to pray a new prayer: Whatever you want, Lord. Show me and I'll do it. Change me, Lord.

    Lord, create in me a clean heart and a right spirit before You. Give me a new, positive, joyful, loving, and forgiving attitude toward others. Where there is anything that needs to change in me, I pray You would enable that change to happen. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you praying for God to change others but ignoring the possible change needed in you? What might God need to work on in your own life—selfishness, impatience, resentment—before your relationships with others can begin to change?

    When you begin to get frustrated with others, take a look at your own heart and pray Change me, Lord.

    Power Verses:
    1 Corinthians 10:24, "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being." (NKJV)

    Psalm 139:23, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties..." (NKJV)

    © 2014 by Stormie Omartian. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Psalm, Stormie Omartian

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