Pray, Multiple Times A Day
Last week we talked a little bit about my story and how I came closer to God.
This week I really want to dive deeper into the 7 secrets of getting and keeping God close. It might take more than one devotional.
Here they are:
- Pray, multiple times a day
- Read the Bible daily
- Listen to Christian music
- Look for God’s hand in everything
- Talk about God
- Proclaim your faith publicly
- Surround yourself with believers
Before we dive deeper, I would like to pause and ask your permission to share some EXTREMELY personal things with you.
Is that ok if it gets really personal over the next few weeks?
I have one more thing to ask.
If you don’t agree with me will you not laugh too loud at me? Notice that I didn’t ask you not to laugh at me, just keep it on the quiet side. Lol
Alright, now that we have covered those bases let’s dive right in.
Why do you think that praying is at the top of my list?
Before you really answer that question let me talk to you a little bit about what prayer is to me and how I do it. Because as we all know, I do things slightly differently than most people. (ok I do almost everything WAY different than others do them.)
To me, prayer is a 2-way conversation with God.
To be 100% honest most of my personal prayers start with, “Hey God, how’s it going? How has your day gone so far? Is there anything that I can do for you?” Then I stop and listen for an answer.
God has never left me hanging. He always sends an answer to me.
It took me a while to tune into his voice though. When I say “a while” I mean years!
I also use what I call my “NET” to pray.
What is NET?
It is my No Extra Time.
What I mean by that is that I pray while I am driving. I pray while I am flying, I pray before I go to sleep, I pray while sitting in the bathroom, or taking a shower. When my body is on autopilot I pray.
That’s not the only time I pray though.
I pray before any big decision. I pray before most meetings. I pray while writing these devotionals, and the 1000 or so emails & texts I send out every day. I pray silently in the middle of phone conversations.
When I was younger, before I really came to know God I would only pray when I needed something or there was an issue that I could use help with.
The other thing that I do when I pray is that I don’t ask for a specific outcome.
If I do pray for something specific I always end it with, “God only allow this to happen if it is your will. If your will is different please allow me to come to terms with it quickly and without much pain or stress.”
This comes straight from the words Jesus spoke. You can find them in Matthew Chapter 6 verse 10.
“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
You see, a lot of times we as people think that God should be giving us what we pray for every time.
What we forget is that God’s infinite intelligence is much greater than our human intelligence. (That does include the teenagers who know it all, believe me, we have a couple in the house right now and you can not tell them anything. Lol)
But Garth Brooks said it best in his song Unanswered Prayers.
“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers.
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs.
That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care.
Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
In the song, he talks about how in high school he prayed to marry this girl. It didn’t work out. He moved on with life and found his current wife. Then at a high school football game, he ran into his old girlfriend, and she wasn’t as perfect as he remembered her.
To end the song, he looks at his wife and thanks God for unanswered prayers.
In the middle of the storm, it is hard not to get scared.
That right there is why I pray for inner peace almost every day.
So, how much do you pray?
What do you pray for?
Are you praying for God to give you want or what you need?
Remember that there is absolutely no judgment here, at least not from me! There are about 7.96 billion sinners in the world right now, and I am one of them.
Today I want you to take a few moments and think about your prayers. Are you having a conversation with God? Or are you demanding things from God?
Then think about how you react when someone demands something from you.
How does that make you feel? What are your reactions?
Next, I want you to think about when you are praying. Can you pray more?
Lastly, I want you to pause and pray right now!
What are you waiting for?
God, how’s it going? Is there anything that I can do to help you today? Where do you need me to go and what do you need me to do today? God today I pray that you give me the guidance that I desire so that I can come closer to you and do what you need me to do. God, I pray that you give guidance to everyone who is ready for this and is praying this prayer. Guide them to find ways to come closer to you. Give them guidance on how to really love you and have a conversation with you through prayer. God, we know that your wisdom is so much greater than we’ll ever be. The creativity you have in your fingernail is more than we will ever have in our whole life. Your solutions are much more ingenuitive than ours will ever be. I pray that you help us to tune into you and your GREATNESS so that we can live the lives you NEED us to live. I pray that you would help us to give you full credit for everything that happens. That includes when you don’t answer our prayers. Help us give you thanks for unanswered prayers. Lord, I would like to pray the prayer that your son taught us. ‘Our Father, who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment]. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’ For if you forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others [nurturing your hurt and anger with the result that it interferes with your relationship with God], then your Father will not forgive your trespasses.’
We ask all these things in your precious Son’s name.
A Little More
Just a quick heads up, this is going to be EXTREMELY personal and is 100% real and true.
Up to this point in my life, I have only ever told 3 people about this. My wife, my mother, and a pastor.
God gives me visions sometimes. They have been to teach me lessons, and they have also been of things that will happen.
He sends those visions to me in the form of a dream.
You might be asking, “Dan, how do you know that it is not just a dream?”
I know that they are from God because I DO NOT dream. I have hardly ever had a dream. When I go to sleep at night, I sleep dreamless.
When I first came to realize that God was speaking to me through visions I didn’t believe it.
It was before I was a FIRM believer and I would give credit to the vision of “déjà vu”.
There was this one time before I confirmed my faith when I was working for a pipe company. The night before I dreamed that I was in a specific aisle in the store, and this one employee from upstairs (someone that had never been in the store) and I met in the aisle. Then we had a conversation about his family and a few other things.
The very next day it happened.
WORD FOR WORD exactly the way I did in my dream.
It was like I already knew what to say.
The crazy thing about this was that he started the conversation, not me.
Just like it happened in my dream.
Now get this.
Instead of giving credit to God and asking for his help to determine the real meaning of this.
I said, wicked cool déjà vu!
I was not ready to accept that God wanted to speak to me this way.
Then a few years later and a few jobs later I was struggling with a fellow employee. I turned to God for help.
He guided me to open the bible and read.
So, I started carrying my bible with me to work, EVERY DAY! and reading every time I had a free moment.
I started by taking me to the story of Joseph and the visions he interpreted.
Then he took me to Daniel.
Next, he took me to Paul.
Then he led me to Abraham.
Then over to Ezekiel.
I have told you in the past the way that I read the bible is by praying for God to guide my hand to open the bible to the chapter that I need to read right then and there to better serve him.
Then with my eyes closed, I open the bible and start reading.
God was telling me about the fact that I was about to start getting more visions from him. All I had to do was accept that they were from him.
It was almost instantly he gave me a vision.
To begin with, I was scared to death. Why has God chosen to give me visions? I am NOT worthy!
One morning I woke up after a vision. I was exhausted both physically and mentally. As soon as I woke up I thanked God for the vision.
Then I prayed, “God please help give me the wisdom to discover the real meaning of this vision.”
He led me through the process of deciphering the vision.
After that, I started recording the visions and their explanations.
This is really scary for me.
I mean REALLY scary!
But I feel compelled to share the first vision that I recorded with you.
First Vision from the Lord
Approx. May 2013
Billy, Nathen, Brianna, Jacob & I are walking across a big rock.
I noticed a big lizard approx. 4-6 feet long, the lizard is somewhat hidden in a crevice of the rock.
As we walked across the rock the lizard did not even attempt to strike at us.
After we descended from the rock to the ground, I pointed out the lizard to the kids.
At that point, the lizard attempted to strike us, and I had to keep the kids safe from the lizard because the kids were intrigued by the lizard and wanted to get closer.
End of vision.
Explanation from God to me about the vision, later when I was alone
The rock symbolizes God or Christ, while the lizard represents evil or Satan.
While the kids and I are on the rock / with God we are safe from evil, and God protects us.
But when we were on the ground away from God. It was my duty to protect my family.
Furthermore, it was I who pointed out the evil to the kids, otherwise, they might have never seen it there even though it was so close to them.
While we were on the rock of God or the foundation of Christ, the kids didn’t even notice the lizard or evil.
The evil stayed calm when we were on the rock of God and didn’t try to strike. But when we were away from God, evil attempted to strike at us.
When we are close to God and Christ he protects us from evil. To elaborate more, God told me that it was my duty to point out evil to my kids. If I don’t tell them and show them, then who will help them to determine the difference between good and evil?