Praise. Repent. Ask. Yield. It’s such an easy acronym that even my kids remember it. It may not a comprehensive guide to prayer, but it’s a great place to start. Jen Cudmore has written about the praise and worship aspect of prayer here and here. Last week, I wrote about the importance of repentance.
This week, I was going to write about the “A” step, but I find that I can’t really separate it from the “Y”. Asking and yielding go hand in hand.
“What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” –James 4:1-3 ESV
There are two reasons we do not get our prayers answered:
- We do not ask God.
- We do not yield to God’s desires.
Until a couple years ago, I didn’t see enough prayers being answered to fuel my passion to pray. I didn’t ask God for much, because it didn’t seem like it did much good. When I did ask, I wasn’t necessarily yielding to His will. It was a vicious cycle. Once I realized how important it was to pray Scripture over my problems, the answers were fast and furious. It almost scared me how powerful those Scripture-prayers were!
God began to whisper to my heart about my children, my husband, our church, and our city. He led me to Bible passages to pray over these requests. Gradually, like a building tsunami, I started to see these prayers being answered…not because I am any great prayer warrior. Far from it!! I am weak and inconsistent at best. The answers come because I am asking for what He has already said in His Word that He wants.
Does this mean we cannot pray for a nicer car or a better job? Of course not! We simply must ask with an attitude of surrender, a willingness to let God answer those prayers in His own way. When we ask with a yielded heart, God will answer in ways far better than we could imagine, even if it doesn’t seem that way right now.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” –Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV
We must remember that God sees the end from the beginning, while we only see through the pinhole of the present. His time frame is not the same as ours. It is so much better.
When we ask God for what He has already promised while surrendering to His will, we begin to see wave upon wave of answered prayers…which encourages us to pray more. Before we know it, we see massive waves of God’s blessings pour out on those around us.
Let the flood begin.