From Begging to Agreeing With God
Before God took me on this journey to learn about prayer, I often struggled to find the right words to pray. I thought there must be a right way and I wanted to be the most effective that I could be. I knew it was through the blood of Jesus we had been given access to the throne room of heaven and could now communicate directly with God. But when faced with the troubles of this life, what could I ask for? When I prayed it was in response to all the issues that would arise. I was very much on the defensive in prayer, and it resembled that Whack A Mole game.
But then the Lord gave me some insight into my prayer life. I remember being in the middle of praying when He asked me why I was praying like that. I didn’t know what He was talking about. But then He showed me I was praying with fear, dread, and worry. I was shocked! He opened the lid on the hidden attitudes of my heart, in the same way you roll back the top on a tin of sardines. I wasn’t even aware they were there. And then He gave me this poem.
What are we thinking; what is hidden in our heart? I love the verse that says, “I do believe: help my unbelief.”(Mark 9:24) Even when we believe something, we may have hidden layers of unbelief in our heart. Wow! So how are we to keep our heart clean when we don’t even know what’s in it? This could seem like an impossible task! Thankfully, we can ask Jesus to search our heart and pray as the psalmist did in Psalms 19:14, that the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable and pleasing to Him. God desires to lead us, and He will teach us how to experience victory in our heart and in our thoughts, when we ask Him.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,†for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ...”
When God began to challenge my thinking about this, I was in the midst of a major relational conflict. And if you have ever been through this, then you know you can’t just “get over it”. There is a lot of damage that takes place when you experience the loss of fellowship with another person. I was in so much pain. It was disheartening when I tried everything I knew to do but was still unable to resolve it. During this time of tremendous hurt and confusion, the Lord told me I was not a victim. But in my pain, the hurt inside me cried out, “they did this” and “they did that”. It said, “because of them, I can’t do this or that anymore”. Since I was so wounded, and all the facts of my circumstance pointed to these things being true, I believed I was the victim. Lovingly, God opened my eyes and helped me understand I was responsible for what I did with my hurt. It didn’t matter if the hurt was caused intentionally or unintentionally, the response He was leading me to was the exact same in either case. He said I could allow the hurt to take root inside and become a wounded, bitter person or I could allow Him to show me how to have victory in the midst of it. I asked Him to take all my pain and teach me about the victory He was talking about. And even though I didn’t understand how to do this, I longed to experience that kind of victory. (Here is my full story.)
It has not been an easy journey. Jesus opened my eyes to see the enemy’s lies that were trying to entangle me and I began to experience freedom as I took off the mourning and hurt that were wrapped around me. To get free from the trap I was in, I had to forgive everyone including myself, release the injustice to God and ask Him to heal the damage and open wounds on my soul. He brought me to the point I knew I was free, but it took a while for my feelings to come around and feel normal again. Now when I’m in the middle of a crisis, I know not to entertain the thoughts of fear, accusation or condemnation... because the enemy has been exposed and I recognize those old lies! Every lonely, physical battle and crisis in my life has had the opposite effect on me than what the enemy wanted. I now have more resolve and determination to yield to God and believe the truth of His faithfulness to me. When it feels like life is slapping me in the face, I restrain from believing the conclusions my mind is telling me. Instead, I agree with The Truth that God tells me. I confess it out loud, declaring it over and over so that I can hear it, the enemy of my soul hears it, and God hears it.
I am determined to agree with God’s view of what is happening in my life!
BUT HOW DO I AGREE WITH GOD FOR OTHERS?
It may seem like what I just shared has nothing to do with praying for others, but it does. When we experience freedom and victory in our life it will naturally seek ways to pour out to others. When we choose to let go of what we think and feel, it removes our own distorted perspective and exchanges it for God’s perspective. We don’t naturally know what that is, but when we willfully give up what we think is “right” and ask for His perspective, a supernatural exchange occurs. It is from this experience that He flooded my heart with His incomprehensible, magnificent, all-consuming love for us. Just the glimpse He gave me literally knocked me off my feet, and I asked Him what else He wanted to teach me.
A short time later, I came across 1 Timothy 2:1. “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.”
The phrase thanksgiving be made for everyone, stuck with me. I couldn’t get it out of my head; I knew God was speaking to me. So, I looked up the word thanksgiving and discovered giving thanks in the original Greek is literally translated: to confess. I had studied the word confess earlier that year, from Hebrews 13:15, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise -the fruit of lips that confess his name.”
Definition of Confess in Vine’s Dictionary: “to speak the same thing, to assent, agree with; to confess, declare openly by way of speaking out freely, such confession being the effect of deep conviction of facts; to confess by way of celebrating with praise."
Thanksgiving is to speak the same thing God says in His word by celebrating with praise!
This study impacted my life! I was experiencing physical and emotional breakthrough as I applied celebrating with praise to my daily habit. Now, I realized thanksgiving in 1 Timothy 2:1 is talking about my confession. Everything became clear! I had learned the power of thanksgiving and confession in my own life, and now I was to apply this same principle as I prayed for others. And the “thanksgiving for all men”, is about more than an emotion of being thankful; it involves our confession. We are to joyfully speak forth the same thing God says in His word, placing us in agreement with God where other people are concerned. Through intercession, we call out to God for His word, not our ideas, to happen in their lives. This releases us from unbelief, and with boldness we are able to pray the prayer of faith. This transformed my prayer life! I now have a confidence as I pray for others, because I know I am coming into agreement with God on their behalf. His compassion for us is overwhelming, and getting a glimpse of it floods my heart with gratitude and praise once again.
With thanksgiving, I will confess The Way, The Truth & The Life over myself and others!
Blessings, Tami Gaupp
Next Monday I will share what happened next on my prayer journey and how God taught me to take my executive position. I would love to hear what God does with each of you this week also. I invite you to come back and comment or send me a message. If you don’t want to miss the next posts in this series, sign up below to get an email alert when the articles are posted and a little extra encouragement I’ll share.