There is a scene in the TNT produced Abraham movie which has always intrigued me. Abraham builds an altar, offers a sacrifice and then waits upon God to speak. It is obvious that considerable time passes as Abraham paces, then sits quietly, then paces, and sits again. He will not leave the meeting place. He was a man in need of an encounter with His God. His expectation kept him in that place until his God met His desparate need. A fascinating scene to me. Why? Because I seldom experience such expectation in worship services or prayer meetings. Usually it is quite the opposite. We speak or sing words of praise, offer a string of requests, add a few demands, and then wrap it up with a speedy Amen. When was the last time you met in personal or corporate prayer and you knew you would stay until He spoke? Time was not even a consideration to you. The only thing that mattered was hearing from God.
Expectation, my friends, is what is missing if you are not hearing the voice of God. The Hebrew people heard God speak through the prophets centuries ago that He was sending a Messiah to restore their nation. To this day, many still wait with expectation for that Messiah. There’s a deep truth within them that assures them if God said it then it is a ‘done deal’. They know that they know, He will do what He says. Let me remind you of some verses the Almighty has spoken through just one of His prophets:
Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
Jesus, God incarnate, speaks the same promises:
Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.”
Each of these verses clearly pronounce God’s desire for all seekers to hear His voice and know Him more intimately. But each verse also uses active verbs on our part: seek, call, ask, knock, and remain. These and many other verses offer conditions which give His prerequisites for our hearing His voice. All of these we will study in the coming weeks. But let’s focus today on answering the question, what do you expect?
If you truly believe that the Almighty God of Creation has proclaimed He will reveal Himself to those who pray, then why would you and I not stay in our prayer times until we heard His voice? There is certainly nothing on this earth that could be more important or life-changing than hearing the voice of God. If our prayer meetings do not allow time for God to speak because we have more important things to get to, then maybe we need to make some major changes in our lives. If we have somehow convinced ourselves that these promises are only for a select few, then we may want to repent for our self-imposed limitations of God’s Word. If we are truly a child of God, then we can and should hear His voice when He speaks. (Read John 8:47)
Journaling is a great tool to increase your expectation. Begin each day sitting before the Lord with His Word and ask Him to teach you as you read. Have your journal ready to record how He takes the Word and teaches, corrects, trains, and equips you for the day. (2 Timothy 3:16) Then as you prepare for bed each evening, plan a time alone with your journal to record all the ways He blessed you, equipped you, and just astounded you throughout the day. Journaling offers an accountability into your daily life. It helps true seekers become more aware of His Hand at work all around us.
Be like young Samuel and daily pray, “Speak Lord, your servant listens.” Then sit still to listen with a heart full of expectation. Practice quieting your heart and mind before Him. Make a commitment to increase your listening time. This is a perfect starting point. We’ll learn more in the coming weeks. Don’t get discouraged if you are not hearing clearly. He’s listening to your heart and when He sees your heart is ready to receive the power of His voice, then believe me, you will hear.