Welcome to the 40-Day Challenge! Now is a great time to get serious with God. The time you spend seeking God is never wasted. As I’ve said before, training our heart to hear God’s voice is our most important task on earth. But listening to God and praying with power can be hard in our busy, noisy world.
Each Monday for the next six weeks, I’ll share some practical steps to help you connect with God. Your tools? A Bible, a journal, some 3×5 cards (I like the wirebound version) and a copy of Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning to Hear the Voice of God. Now let’s get started!
Step One in our 40 Day Challenge is to BE ALERT. Simply being awake, rather than sleepwalking through life, is the first step in becoming sensitive to God’s voice.
Seems like everywhere you look today, there’s trouble. Trouble in our schools. Trouble in our families. Trouble all over the world. Some even think we are in the “end times.” Did you know there is a “doomsday preppers” website with a free app showing you how to build your own dream bunker to protect you from “apolyptic dangers.” Seriously? Sometimes we can grow numb in the face of all the worries.
Bombarded with so many voices, we can grow even numb to God’s voice. The book of 1 Peter was written to Christians who constantly faced trouble and persecution. They were always in danger of getting killed, and therefore had lots to worry about. But Peter didn’t warn them to run for safety, build a bunker, stockpile their goods, or form their own commune.
Instead, he tells them to stay alert so they could pray:
The end of all things is near. You must be self-controlled and alert, to be able to pray. (1 Peter 4:7)
Two ways I stay alert for prayer are by watching and listening.
- Watching: for signs of God at work, for prayer and for answers to prayer
- Listening for His voice: through His Word, through other people, through His quiet whisper
Here are just a few practical ways to Be Alert for prayer:
1. Select a prayer trigger, an object that will make you more alert to pray. It’s fun to have a prayer trigger for yourself and for your family member, friends, co-workers, anyone you want to pray for.
2. Pray the BLESS prayer when you come across someone’s prayer trigger: B- Bless their Body; L-Bless their Labor; E-Bless their Emotional health; S-Bless their Social health; B-Bless their Spiritual health.
3. Memorize Colossians 4:2: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful
4. Spend five minutes listing things for which you are thankful. Did you know this simple activity raises your disease fighting antibodies? How might simply being thankful help you be more alert for prayer?
Homework: Read the Introduction, Chapters One and Two of Sometimes He Whispers…. Click here for a free download of these chapters if you don’t have a book yet.
Answer the following Personal Reflection Questions (page 189 in your book):
Chapters 1, “Listen, and 2, “Keep Watch”
- How would you describe your prayer life…fueled by crisis or daily and powerful?
- What fear or worry is causing you to pray more fervently? What are a few things you’ve already tried besides prayer in order to solve the problem?
- How might you turn that worry into a prayer? Is there a verse from the Bible that gives you hope in this circumstance?
Lord, I hear so many voices in my head. So much is happening in the world all around me. Don’t let me grow numb. Instead, help me to become more sensitive to your voice, even your quiet whispers. You have given me the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Draw me close this week as I seek You. Show me who is on Your heart so I may begin to turn my worries into prayers. I ask that you begin to turn my eyes outward and show me how I may even become the answer to someone else’s prayers.
Together in the journey,