*To preface this blog post I must tell you this was a homework assignment for a Bible Study. The pastor explained a dream and part of it was explaining that there is a file drawer filled with answered prayers with our name on it. The homework assignment was to answer this question: What is the Lord saying about how I can obtain the file with unanswered prayers. The following is my completed homework assignment.
When I was posed with this question of how to obtain the file drawer with all the unanswered prayers the first and most immediate response in my spirit was:
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
For my study purposes I looked it up in The Message version of the Bible and starting at verse 30 and going to the end of the chapter, this is what we see:
Matthew 6:30-34 The Message (MSG)
30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
The four main things I took away from this discovery were (1) Seek God, (2) Don’t worry “how” it’s going to work, (3) place your entire attention on God, not what is in front of you and (4) relax, stop trying to figure it out on your own.
Before I explain the four things I discovered I would like to take a look at the word “steep” for a moment. It’s first definition is rising or falling sharply but that’s not what God wanted me to see, it’s the second definition: soak in water or other liquid so as to extract it’s flavor or to soften it. Surround or fill with a quality or influence. To wet thoroughly in or with a liquid; drench, saturate. So let’s call steep soak and reread part of Matthew 33: Soak your life in God-reality. Soak your life in God-initiative. Soak your life in God-provisions.
If we take this thought process and apply it to prayer let’s see how it works. If we pray in an atmosphere of soaking in His reality, initiative and provision and follow these four points our prayer life should begin to change right before our eyes. We could begin to gain access to those files of unanswered prayer quicker than ever before.
Step One. When we pray we should seek God first. What does this mean? It means lining our prayers up with the Word of God. Seeking His Kingdom principles in our asking process. If our prayers do not line up with the promises of God then how can we expect them to be answered? If our prayers from the beginning are out of His will how could we possibly expect God to answer them without going against His own written Word?
Step Two. When we make our prayer request known we have to let it go and not worry about how it’s going to work out. If we followed step one then our prayer should already line up with God’s Word and He will be the One to make the final arrangements. Here the key is to surrender. When we learn to to let go of our prayers, God can move freely and in the way He desires without it becoming tainted with our own motives or how we think it should play out.
Step Three. Pray with your entire attention on God and not the problem in front of you. When we are staring at the very thing we are praying about we are not in surrender mode nor are we able to seek God. We were not really designed to multi-task His plans. We can’t be asking God to move on our behalf if we are sitting on the issue waiting to see if our ideas will work.
Step Four. My personal favorite and most difficult step, relax and stop trying to figure it out. God desires us to operate from a place of rest. Figuring it out requires work on our part. Figuring it out on our own takes the seeking God part right out of the equation. When we don’t let God be God we often delay the answering of prayers and complicate the process. Always remember that His ways are higher than ours (Isiah 55:8-9).
To Recap. Prayer is a four step process of steeping (soaking) ourselves in His Presence. How are we ever going to get to the file of unanswered prayers if we do not seek God first, stop worrying, paying full attention to what God wants to do and relaxing in the knowledge of who God is (Matthew 6:32)? Besides, to be in the file room itself means we have to enter into the Kingdom in the first place.
In the end when the prayer has been answered do we really want the credit? God’s Kingdom in the one place where we want our credit score to be at zero. We want to reside in a position of worship and thankfulness and the only way to do this is to give God all the credit for answered prayers. This is why keeping our hands out of it is so important.
Seek. Let Go. Be Attentive. Relax.
God has all the answers available to you and there is nothing for you to figure out so go steep in His Goodness. Begin to extract His Word and let it saturate your soul. Begin to drench your prayer life in His Kingdom. Surround your life in God-reality. Surround your life with God-initiative. Surround your life in God-provisions. Once you begin to do this your prayer life will become a cup of tea!