I said in our last post that we can learn to recognize what the Lord is thinking through time spent with Him in prayer and through practicing keeping our spiritual senses tuned in to Him. To a certain degree, we should also keep those senses attuned to the people we encounter, our surroundings, and our circumstances — but attention to the Lord must be primary, or our perspective will become skewed. Let’s talk about some practical steps we can take to get there.
The first step is to slow down. We can teach ourselves not to be in a big hurry — in prayer and in reading the Bible, for a start. However, this idea of not being in a hurry goes beyond our prayer and Bible time. It is going to be the thread throughout this series, because hastiness is the biggest way we fail to sync with God’s viewpoint. Our natural-minded soul is always desirous to furnish ideas which may sound right, but if we are going to have our spirits hear what the Holy Spirit has to say, we’re going to have to hush the soul, with all its insistent urges.
Let’s start with slowing down in prayer. When you come to prayer, before diving into intercession, spend time in worship, praying in tongues without a particular focus and simply staying quiet before the Lord.
If you feel the Lord is putting someone on your heart to intercede for right away, go ahead and move with Him in that, and then return to worship and listening mode. I am not trying to establish a rule that you have to worship and be still for a specified amount of time before you can bring petitions before the throne. Sometimes the Spirit leads us into intercession quickly, and we should obey His promptings. But it is also true that our minds like to distract us from worship and quietness by suddenly flooding us with the remembrance of umpteen needs to pray into. Have some paper handy, and write those needs down to pray into later.
I often prefer to wait upon the Lord in complete silence, but sometimes I like to have peaceful worship music playing in the background. If you don’t own a lot of music, YouTube is a great place to find what you need. You might even want to subscribe to my channel there. I’ve created a lot of playlists of my favorite music, most of which is worship-oriented, and I’m adding new things all the time, in a variety of styles.
It is OK if you never do get to intercession some days, especially if you have a limited amount of time to pray. The Lord can still bring needs to mind throughout the day for which you can lift a quick prayer. You can pray in tongues here and there, and accomplish intercession that way, too, while you are doing other things. We don’t always have to pray for hours into everything. Short, to-the-point prayers can be very effective in receiving answers, and the more time you spend simply waiting on God, enjoying His Presence, the more you are going to be able to accomplish a lot via short intercession — because you won’t have to dance all around the issue before receiving God’s counsel on how to pray. And if He does want you to be involved in focused, lengthy intercession, He’ll give you the time and the way to do it. So, don’t feel guilty about taking more time just to be with the Lord than you spend in intercession. It’s OK — really!
When we do intercede, the temptation is to look at the problem, have a desired solution in mind, and then immediately begin attacking in prayer. Take your spiritual sword in hand and start slashing, right? Not usually right – but this is what our natural man wants to do.
It’s far better to ask the Lord how to address the issue, and give Him time to reveal His angle on it. If you’re anything like me, this is not going to be easy for you. It takes discipline. But it is worth the wait, as you will end up praying with more effective results.
Some things we pray into are not urgent. We have the luxury of waiting for a few hours or days to hear the Lord’s counsel before we begin interceding. However, that is not always the case. And when the need is urgent, that’s when we are tempted the most to move into slash-attack panic prayer, which can be pretty earthly-minded.
When we need answers quickly, we can still ask the Lord to help us get His perspective, and then briefly listen for His cues before beginning, even if only a few seconds are available to do that. Even if you have to launch out in prayer without much (or any!) revelation of how to proceed, He will be faithful to adjust your prayers, as long as you have a heart of wanting to hear Him and follow His leading.
So, living from a prophetic perspective starts with slowing down so that we can pay attention to the Spirit. It starts with prayer. Next time, we’ll talk about slowing down in our Bible reading.