Knowing God’s Heart in Troubling Times

Annie OakleyIn recent weeks, I have been seeking the Lord for greater sensitivity to Him. I’ve been asking for an opening up of my spiritual senses (especially my seeing capacity), so that I can understand His heavenly perspective and be able to better discern what is of the Lord and what is not. I’d like to share with you what He has been speaking to me as an outflow of that prayer.

“The seers will see and know how to pray.” It’s interesting to me that the Lord singled out the seers, since the hearing gift is more dominant  in my life. Those of us who are primarily hearers or feelers (those who perceive God’s direction more by a deep knowing inside than by either hearing or seeing) can also draw on the Spirit’s promptings for prayer direction. But I also know that when I see something, it nails it more concisely for me. I am more sure of what I am receiving. Seeing is not superior to the other spiritual senses, but I believe God does want all of us to see more than we do. We should not be content with only using some of our spiritual senses. Therefore, I will be pursuing Him for more seeing.

intercessor handbookThe Lord mentioned that we would know how to pray by what we see. Seeing, hearing, and other forms of receiving are not just so we can have something spectacular to talk about. They are given for specific purposes, and a big one is so that we can pray accurately and receive answers. This is why I used Annie Oakley’s picture on the front of my book, The Intercessor Manual. Annie was a sharpshooter, and that should be our goal in prayer as well — to hit our targets as quickly and cleanly as possible.

Probably all of us still have moments when we aren’t sure how to pray, when we take some stabs in the dark. Because He knows our frailties and our limited understanding, God still answers many of those petitions, but the more we gain sharpshooter intercession skills, the less time we spend needlessly wearing ourselves out as we try to find our way in prayer. Honing our skills comes through listening to the Lord, which brings me to the next point.

God wants us to watch His body language carefully and respond to His slightest gesture. By that I mean being acutely aware of His smallest whispers, nudgings, and promptings. Psalm 123:2 illustrates this for us: “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until He has mercy upon us.”

It takes a lot of practice for a servant to know his or her master’s body language well. He learns by watching, by studying, until he can almost get inside his master’s head, so to speak. He knows what that twitch of the eyebrow, a certain glance of the eye, or an ever-so-slight sigh means. With the Lord, we can only accomplish this intimate knowledge by investing time in being with Him — by carefully reading and meditating upon His Word, and by waiting quietly in prayer. There are no shortcuts, special techniques, or three-point methods to speed up the process. This is about  “dwelling in the secret place of the Most High and abiding under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). It is costly to our flesh!

At this time, the Lord is looking to see who will be faithful. For many of us, our faithfulness will be measured by how we use our time — especially during this coronavirus lock-down season. If we’re forced to be at home more, will we use our extra hours indulging in recreational pursuits to relieve boredom, or will we heed His wooing to come away into the secret place of quietly waiting on Him? Will we pursue knowing His heart?

Extra time on our hands is not everyone’s story. Perhaps you have family at home who are not usually there all day with you. For you, faithfulness to the Lord might be measured in your patient and loving service to your children or spouse. If that is where you are at, be wholeheartedly faithful in caring for them. This is priceless in the Lord’s eyes too!

Each of us has specific opportunities to either ignore or follow the Lord’s promptings moment by moment. May we make the right choices, thereby pleasing and honoring our Father.

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