From cover to cover, the Bible makes it clear that the Lord hears and answers the prayers of His people. But what happens when we seek God's will in a situation, and no matter how long or hard we pray, we still don't know what to do? We do what we know is the Lord's will in every situation and circumstance, as revealed in First Thessalonians 5:16-18.
First we are told, "Be joyful always." (v. 16) When I was in a very discouraging trial recently, I heard the Lord speak to my heart, "Choose joy!" He led me to Habakkuk 3:17-18 (AMP), which says: "Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive fails and the fields produce no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the LORD; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation!" Habakkuk was, in effect, saying that no matter how bad things got, he was determined to remain joyful in the Lord. He goes on to reveal how he manages that: "The Lord GOD is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds' feet and makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility]." (Habakkuk 3:19 AMP) In other words, this man of God knew he wasn't able to be joyful in his own strength; he was drawing on God's power to help him stand firm in his faith. We can do the same because as Christ-followers, we have the Spirit of God dwelling on the inside of us. After hearing the Lord speak to my heart in the midst of my turmoil, I began to declare repeatedly, "I choose joy!" At first, I had to do it by faith, but before long, I began sensing the joy of the Lord rising up in me. And for the first time, I experienced a profound peace in my soul about my situation.
Next, we must "pray continually". (v. 17) Think of being on the telephone with God. We should never hang up the phone, but we should stay on the line with Him at all times. Constant communication is what is called for in this Scripture. The more we practice this principle, the more sensitive we will become to the subtle promptings of the Holy Spirit. When He prompts us to pray about something, we won't put it off until a later time, but we will do it right then and there, because we are already in a prayer mindset. Consider Nehemiah. The Bible says that while he was in the middle of a conversation with the king, he whispered a prayer to God. (Nehemiah 2:1-5) When we adopt a prayer mindset, we will find ourselves doing the same thing. Our praying should be like breathing. We shouldn't have to think about it. It should just naturally flow out of a vibrant, intimate relationship with our God. Being in tune with the Lord in this way will make us more likely to hear from Him the moment He is prepared to reveal His will for our situation.
Lastly, we are told to "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for [us] in Christ Jesus." (v. 18) David declared, "I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises." (Psalm 34:1 NLT) This attitude of his was undoubtedly one of the reasons why God called him, "A man after My own heart." (Acts 13:22) We can be people after God's own heart, too. No matter what is going on in our lives, we can choose to give thanks and praise to our God. We can thank Him for all of the blessings, rewards, and opportunities He has already given us. But we mustn't stop there. We can thank God for all of the good things He has in store for our future. The Bible says that Abraham praised God in advance for giving him a son. (Romans 4:20-21 TLB) When we thank the Lord for blessings that haven't yet manifested in our lives, we demonstrate great faith, and we know that it is faith that pleases God. (Hebrews 11:6) Scripture says: "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." (2 Chronicles 16:9 NKJV) One of the ways we can show our loyalty to God is to give Him thanks and praise in the midst of our problems. When we demonstrate our faithfulness in this way, we will surely witness the Lord moving heaven and earth to reveal His perfect will for our lives.
I believe that if you will take this message to heart, 2016 can be your year for major breakthroughs and blessings, and that's my prayer for you today.
Prayer: Lord, when I don't know what to do in a situation, even after I have prayed in faith, remind me of these powerful principles. No matter what comes my way, give me the grace I need to continue to pray, praise You, and rejoice in You. Thank You that as I do my part, You will reveal Your best for me in every situation and circumstance!
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