Core scripture: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:4-5).
Message: We learn lessons from our students on a daily basis. They remind me of the innocence of youth. To not take the world so seriously. To smile more. To live in the moment. Last Wednesday morning was no exception as I sat in our school’s FCA meeting, listening to the high school senior talk to my middle schoolers about prayer. His point was simple … all too often we forget to quiet ourselves during prayer to truly listen what God needs from us. We treat prayer as one-way communication and forget that God speaks back in His own time. We just have to listen.
That convicted me. I had heard this message before. I have even communicated it to others, but recently I had forgotten to quiet myself to listen to God during prayer. The following morning I sat in my comfy black leather chair, piping hot coffee in hand, warm blanket covering my legs, and began to pray. My mind was like a blank slate. Oddly, I didn’t know how to begin. My mind danced, not able to focus on a single thought. It bounced around like a pinball machine. Finally, I took a deep breath, shook the cobwebs off, and just listened. I asked a single question.
“God, what do you need from me right now?” I asked audibly. “Speak to me.”
I always speak my prayers aloud in the morning. It makes them more real. I feel the Lord’s presence around me. You might think I am crazy, but it works for me. I sat there trying to quiet my heart, breathing slowly, and calming myself to listen. It was not an audible voice but more of a feeling deep inside that surfaced in the depths of my heart. My students. God wanted me to pray for them. I reached down and grabbed my iPad, pulling up my first hour roster. Twenty-three faces smiled back at me. Each one unique. Each one an individual. I prayed over each one.
When my voice trailed off with the last name of first hour prayed for, I pulled up my second hour roster, another class of 23 students. I prayed over each face. Some needed confidence. Some I praised for their character. Others I prayed for their home lives. Some I praised for their academic successes. Others I prayed for homework completion. Others I prayed for them to come out of their shells. You don’t realize how many different types of students you have until you do this. No two prayers were alike. Each one raised up distinctive needs for different children.
I looked up at the clock. Twenty-five minutes had passed. I decided to hit third hour the next day, fifth hour the next, and sixth hour the day following. As of this morning, I wrapped up praying over all 98 of my students, finishing my sixth hour class. None of this would have happened had I not paused to listen to what God needed me to pray about. None of it would have happened had I not paid attention to the young high schooler that gave the message last Wednesday. What an incredible reminder it was to stop our racing thoughts and simply be in the presence of God, listening.
What is God whispering to you this week? How can He use you for His good? Pause and listen to God this week in prayer, and if you are bold, act out what He needs you to do. May the Lord bless you and your week!
Challenge: Pause. Take a breath. Quiet your heart. Talk to God in prayer. Breathe. Listen. And act upon what He tells you.
Song application: “Breate” by Johnny Diaz
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Quote: “Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God.” (Billy Graham)
Bible story: Read Judges 6:13-18. Why do you think Gideon is struggling with faith right now? What does he pray to God? What is God’s response? Is this prayer conversation one-way or two-way? What would you have done if you were in Gideon’s shoes?
Prayer: Lord, amidst my busy schedule, remind me to listen to Your voice and follow You wherever You need me to go. Amen.