Have you ever felt like your prayers might be hitting the ceiling? Or that perhaps God is so wrapped up with someone else’s request He just hasn’t gotten around to yours yet?
This morning, I read these words from Psalm 106:4, “Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people.” The words resonated with the cries of my heart. I paused and luxuriated, reading them again several times. What a thought! God invites me to ask Him for favor. It reminded me of another man in the Bible who boldly asked God for favor.
Nehemiah, the cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes, begged God for favor from the king. Broken hearted over the situation back in Jerusalem, Nehemiah needed permission from the king to do the very thing God had called Him to do – rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 1:4-11, I see some tips on how to ask God for favor:
Let your Soul Feel the Depth of Your Need. What do I mean? It’s okay, and even good, to feel broken hearted over the need. Don’t try to talk yourself out of your feelings. Instead, take the depth of your emotion and press into God with that need. Nehemiah wept before the Lord over the situation in Jerusalem.
Try Fasting. Before Nehemiah even asked for favor he spent several days fasting and praying. I could write an entire post on fasting and praying, but for now let me say, God honors the discipline of fasting. Jesus said, “When you fast”(Matthew 6:16-17). He assumed we would fast. Fasting is simply a spiritual discipline to help you eliminate distraction and encourage greater focus in your prayer life. Please note: If you’ve had an eating disorder please don’t fast food. There are plenty of other things you can fast to focus on the Lord more fully; social media, T.V., or shopping. A great rule is to fast whatever you normally run to for comfort.
No Matter How you Feel, Choose Praise. I have concluded that praise has to be a choice in my life. If I wait until I feel like praising God – I may not do it!
Our feelings fluctuate. Remember, praising God isn’t just some glib hallelujah when life is going great! Praising God is the intentional declaration that God is good above your life circumstances. Nehemiah began his prayer by praising god saying, “O Lord, God of the heaven, the great and awesome God” (Nehemiah 1:5).
Pray Back to God the Promises He has Given in Scripture. For example, pray the promise found in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Nehemiah prayed back to God the promise God had given to Moses, “If you return to me and obey my commands, then even in your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling” (Nehemiah 1:9). By praying God’s promises, your remind yourself that God is faithful and you can trust Him.
Ask God for Favor Boldly. Finally, Nehemiah prays, “Give your servant success today by granting him favor” (Nehemiah 1:11). God honors bold faith and He invites us to keep asking Him for favor.
As you enter this new week, remember, God is for you! Ask Him for favor so that you might be successful at the things He has called you to do. Keep asking until you receive an answer. I don’t claim to always understand God’s ways nor do I have easy answers for when He seems silent.. Sometimes, I know He makes us wait. Sometimes, He answers, no because He has a different plan. But sometimes, He pours out favor beyond anything you can possibly imagine. So here’s my challenge to you for this week, Don’t give up. Keep asking Him to pour out favor until you are sure God has said, “No”. When he says, “No” ask the Holy spirit to bring your heart in line with His.
I’d love to hear from you. If you haven’t taken The 30 Day Praise Challenge yet, I encourage you to give it a shot. I believe that when we start intentionally praising God, He brings revival! I’m boldly asking God for 100,000 people to take the praise challenge in some form and that as a result of God’s people praising Him He will send revival to our hearts! Will you pray with me about this?