Tag Archives: Praise

5 Habits to Do While Waiting on God

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What unanswered prayer are you waiting on God to answer?

Still got unanswered prayer? Try these 5 habits while waiting for God to answer them.

Like you, I have unanswered prayers. And it is from a place of deep longing to see those prayers answered that I write this post.  Waiting on God is just plain hard. And sometimes we wonder why it takes so long to see the hand of God move in our circumstances or in people’s lives.  I’ve been a Christian for forty years now, but twenty-eight of those years there’s been one prayer request in particular that I’ve been waiting for God to answer.  Sometimes the waiting just overwhelms me. My heart is torn and I’ve written in my journal the words, “How long, O Lord? How long before You answer?” (Taken from Psalm 13:1) (nrsv)  It’s not that God doesn’t want to answer my prayer request, but there may be some serious behind the scenes work that must take place first. And it seems like it takes longer for people to change then it does for circumstances.

Do you have a prayer request that has gone unanswered for many years? Are you praying that your next PCS move will be to the place you want or need? Are you a military spouse who is praying for a certain job to come through? Are you praying that a possible deployment won’t take place so your husband or wife can be home during a critical time in one of your children’s lives? Do you or a loved one need a healing? When praying,  do you wonder what He wants you to be doing while waiting? I’ve asked myself that question, too. Here are 5 habits worthy of doing while God is working on your requests:

1). Recollect God’s Faithfulness. When we become restless over unanswered prayer it has the potential to turn our attention inward and to focus on ourselves. This mindset might even lead us to accentuate other things we perceive to be wrong in our life.  As soon as you notice you are doing this, turn your heart and mind back on God. Focus on what remarkable things God has done for you in the past. I often start my journal with a psalm that reminds me of God’s faithfulness. For example, Psalm 40:5:

 “O Lord my God, many and many a time you have done great miracles for us, and we are ever in your thoughts. Who else can do such glorious things? No one else can be compared with you. There isn’t time to tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

 All through the Old Testament are accounts of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites. So often they were the targets of oppression and persecution by their enemies, but many times over God intervened on their behalf.  God was for the ancient Israelites, and He is still for us today.

Remember, if God could be trusted in the past, He can be trusted also for our tomorrows. We have hope as the anchor for our souls. Since God’s Word is unfailing, it’s also true that God does not fail either. He will answer your prayer requests, but it may not be exactly as you expect.

If you keep a journal, record those times where God came through for you. That way when you grow weary in waiting, go back and read those accounts when He proved His faithfulness. It will refresh your soul and restore your confidence in God.

 2). Allow God to Do a Character Make-Over. One of the truths about God is that He doesn’t want to leave us in our current spiritual state. His goal is to mold our character and grow us into the mind of Christ. But, for this to happen, we have to allow God’s Word to do a make-over in our minds. As this process takes place, we become more Christ-like.  His character is manifested in our life. What I’ve also found to be true is that while I waited for God to answer a prayer request, He was also working on some aspect of my own character. Instead of resenting this process, take God up on the challenge and ask Him, “What aspects of my character do you want to change?” Ask Him to show you, then when He does record it in your journal.  You’ll discover new ways to react to circumstances.

 3). Safeguard your heart from A Complaining Spirit.  If like me, you’ve been waiting for many years for God to answer a prayer request, the years of longing can take their toll. It’s easy to grow impatient. When we become impatient we tend to complain. Complaining comes out of a sense of dissatisfaction. The Israelites found themselves in the complaint department while on their journey to the Promised Land.  They had become dissatisfied and stopped trusting God. In doing so, they became rebellious (Numbers 14).  Their rebellion led them to complain about their present circumstances. What’s worse, when they succumbed to the emotion of the people, they lost their perspective on God’s nature. They forgot about God’s faithfulness.

 While waiting for God to answer our prayers, reframe from complaining, verbally or in our thought life. Instead, cultivate a habit of thankfulness.  It will safeguard your heart from becoming rebellious which leads to stepping away from the Lord. Psalm 37:34 gives us clear instruction:

 “Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Keep traveling steadily along his pathway and in due season he will honor you with every blessing…” And God’s blessings are worth the wait.

 4). Seek Godly Discernment. Sometimes God’s answers don’t come in the way or in the time we expect. Then there are times when we don’t even understand what He’s doing at all. It just doesn’t make sense or we can’t figure out the reason why a situation went this way or that way. While waiting for God to answer, seek His face for understanding. He is a generous God and wants us to know we can come to Him for clarity on our prayer requests.

 Psalm 119:27 says, “Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works” (nrsv) When we make seeking His face for understanding a habit, it helps us to assess what course of action is needed. It will give us insight into people and circumstances that we might not otherwise have.  Discernment is one of those habits that will serve us well all our lives.

 “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright…” (nrsv).

Did you catch that last part? God stores up wisdom and understanding for those whose hearts are His. How marvelous is that! Our job is to ask Him for it, and He will gladly supply it. This will help us to know how to pray for a situation or person. At the same time, be still and wait. This is called, “active waiting.” We are not throwing up our hands and saying, “oh well, I’ll just let the chips fall where they may.” Instead, we pray for discernment, so that when God supplies it, we will know how and for what to pray for.

 Psalm 119:169, “Let my cry come before you, O lord; give me understanding according to your word” (nrsv).

 5). Praise and Honor Belongs to Him – The Book of Psalms is a treasure trove for how to praise God. One of my favorites is Psalm 118. Praise is acknowledging God’s greatness, His power, His forgiveness, His authority, His sovereignty, His faithfulness, and other attributes. When we feel powerless to change our circumstances or people’s hearts, our praise catches God’s attention. Authentic praise helps to drive out doubt, and in particular, discouragement over unanswered prayer.

When I take the time to write out a psalm of praise in my prayer journal my hope in God is restored. Complaining focuses on the problem, but praise focuses on God who has the solution. Praise changes my outlook and I can trust God with my personal concerns and requests. And praise quiets my restless heart. And this gives me the endurance to keep praying for that one prayer request I still desire to see to fruition. If what you’re praying for is in alignment to His will, You can be confident God will answer. You have His Word on that.

 Delight in the Lord today,

Lisa

Psalm 134 – Give Thanks to the Lord

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Have you blessed God yet?

How many ways have you blessed God yet?

Psalm 134 is much like a psalm of thanksgiving. Written by King David, it is three short verses with a powerful call for the ancient Israelites to bless the Lord. Singing this psalm at the temple in Jerusalem was an acknowledgement for all that God had done for them. But what does blessing the Lord mean? First, the word “blessed” (barukh) is related to the Hebrew word for “knee” (berekh), as is the word for “blessing,” (b`rakha), thus implying an association between humbling ourselves, (i.e., kneeling before God in recognition of His blessedness) and receiving personal blessing from Him. Simply, to bless the Lord is to acknowledge God’s goodness He has bestowed on us, as well as His exalted status. In short, blessing the Lord is thanking Him for being the great Overseer of our lives. Psalm 103 is just one psalm among many that praise God for His greatness. I encourage you to read it as a part of today’s devotional. It is a good example of “why” we should bless God:

  • His forgiveness of sin (v.3)
  • His healing (v.3)
  • His Kindness (v.4)
  • His provision (v.5)
  • His justice (v.6)
  • His mercy and grace (v.8)
  • His patience (v.8)
  • His compassion (v.13)
  • His steadfast love (v.17)

This psalm highlights God’s magnificent acts and His inconceivable nature. Our list of praises ought to include His provision of good health (v.3). Even though He may not choose to heal every disease, every healing does come from God. He is on the side of the helpless and extends justice for those oppressed. The Psalms of Ascent are God’s record of all His miraculous feats of preserving the ancient Israelites from their enemies, as well as sin’s destructive nature. He is for us as well. We are precious to God. We are the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). God is all-powerful, yet He is also patient, compassionate, and kind. This makes Him a perfect father. He knows we are mere mortals; our lives are like grass “they flourish like a flower of the field; for the wind passé over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more” (vv.15-16). Yet, for those who revere and obey Him, His love never ends. His nature and His ways can’t be compared with any other god. And His blessing remains upon those who are steadfast and vigilant in their faith.

If your faith journey is difficult right now, read Psalm 103. David’s list will encourage your heart and revitalize your appreciation of Him. It will also give you a fresh awareness of His presence in your life. We are fragile children, but God’s care is mighty and eternal. He never takes His eye off of you.

As Christians, we are called to bless the Lord. When we examine all He has done for us, we perceive and appreciate what God is really like. Today, consider your life. Is it a reflection of His blessings?

 Blessings to you,

Lisa

I can also be found on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies and on Twitter at Twitter.com/lisanixonphilli. To order my book, Faith Steps for Military Families click on the book’s cover above.

A Prayer of Praise to God, Our Defender

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Facebook Template -This Weekend's prayer A Prayer of Praise to God

Lord,

As I grow to know You, the more I appreciate You. As the apple of Your eye (Psalm 17:8), You have kept me from being swallowed by the raging waters of overwhelming circumstances and from people who despise me. Out of immense care, You have made a way of escape, a way through to victory. You are my Defender. You did not leave me defenseless. People may leave me, but You will never quit on me. And Your protection is limitless; it has no boundaries. Thank You for being my Defender. Use any pain or suffering I endure to teach me spiritual lessons to that it makes me into a better servant for You. Let me be a praising person who never forgets what You have done, or will do, telling others so they will see Your mighty hand at work and praise Your name (Matt.5:16).

Lord, show me the areas I am vulnerable to attacks by Satan so I can arm myself with Your Word. Continue to develop my level of trust in You so I remain firmly rooted in my faith. With Your defensive help, I will prevail over my enemy-Satan. Like You did for the Israelites, keep Your eye upon me. Because You were on their side, I can trust that You are for me, too. Thank You for being my Defender. Amen.

-Prayer taken from Faith Steps for Military Families by Lisa Nixon Phillips. Click book cover to the right to order, or email me at info@lisanixonphillips. Each copy is just $13.00 and that includes shipping. Get free prayer cards for your service member and for military families. Thank you!

See Lisa also at www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies

Praising God in the Depths of Despair

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Praise Letterpress

Praising God results in seeing God’s Power revealed.

 “…the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea…’” Jehoshaphat was afraid; he set himself to seek the Lord , and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the towns of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

I love the stories of the bible in which God defends the underdog. Such is the case in 2 Chronicles 20. It is the account of a king on the verge of disaster.  Warned that a great army was bearing down upon him, King Jehoshaphat became fearful. These three kingdoms coming against him all at once had formed an alliance against him. And Jehoshaphat knew he didn’t have enough fighting power to defeat them. “For we are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us” (2 Chronicles 20:12 nrsv). Jehoshaphat may have been terrified, but he didn’t panic. Instead, this king did five incredibly wise things:

1. King Jehoshaphat’s fear was the catalyst to seek the Lord first. He positioned himself before God. He committed his dire situation to God before moving forward with preparations. Then he told all of Judah to do the same. Knowing that the army was fast approaching, this king did the opposite of what one would expect. Rather than quickly ordering his army to assemble and gather weapons first, Jehoshaphat assembled “all [his people of] Judah before the Lord” (v. 13). This communicated to his people that their victory was not in their hands, but in God’s.

2. King Jehoshaphat  recognized that God was in control. King Jehoshaphat knew he had little fighting power, and in fact, didn’t even have a plan! “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12). Just imagine for a moment, this king didn’t know what to do, and instead of throwing together a hasty counter-attack, looked to God to be their unseen Defender. As the enemy bore down on Judah, God spoke through Jahaziel: ‘Do not fear or be dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s’” (v. 15).

 You and I may not fight an actual enemy army, but our loved ones serving in the armed forces do. Even today, when it seems like the enemy is gaining ground, recognized that God still remains in control. We are to keep our eyes focused on God, ask for His help, acknowledging every battle they fight is really His. And God will fight for us.

 3. King Jehoshaphat praised God for the great God He is.

“…are you not God in heaven? Do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In your hand are power and might, so that no one is able to withstand you. Did you not…drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham?” (vv. 6-7). The above verses are verses of praise to God. They are the expression of faith. Before the battle even started, Jehoshaphat praised God.

In the midst of our own battles that are greater than our strength or abilities, if we praise our Lord for His sovereignty (His control) over our situation, acknowledging the battle is not ours but His, then move forward with God’s Spirit in us, and trusting in His promises, God will prevail in our behalf.  When we praise Him, He reveals His power.

 4. King Jehoshaphat declared to the people of Judah his dependence on God, for their deliverance.

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12). Jehoshaphat relied on God’s power and might instead of his own. He knew what his own weaknesses were. A sign of a great leader is one with a humble heart towards God and who also acknowledges his strength comes from God.

 5. King Jehoshaphat was content in God’s promises. God promised Jehoshaphat victory. “This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf…do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.” Jehoshaphat trusted in God’s plan and promise. We are to do no less. A key factor in having victory in God is having confidence in God’s promises. One of my favorite promises is Deuteronomy 31:6:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.

You can’t get a better promise than that. Praise, Promises, and Prayer–all keys to moving the heart of God in your personal battles.

 But wait! There’s more to King Jehoshaphat’s victory. As they went out to meet their enemies, Jehoshaphat had the people of his kingdom do this one thing while the Lord set an ambush against their enemies. Return for part 2.

Blessings,

Lisa

Have you experienced a situation in which you praised God even while in dark circumstances? How did God reveal His power in your circumstances? I would love to hear your story. You can post it below in the “reply” section. For more on this subject, see chapter two of my book, Faith Steps for Military Families

Also find me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsforMilitaryFamilies