“Hannah kept wailing even when Eli the priest mistook her for a drunk and questioned her sincerity. She simply set the record straight by telling him, ‘I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief'” (1Samuel 1: 15-16).
She didn’t care how she looked as she prayed. God knew her heart…
We know Hannah for her sorrow… She longed for a son, but couldn’t have children. We know her for her faithfulness. She never gave up hope that God would hear her prayer. We also know her for her sacrifice. She dedicated her baby Samuel to the Lord and left him at the temple to serve God “all the days of his life” (1 Samuel 1:11).
Hannah is one of the most recognizable women in Scripture for all these reasons. Many of us remember her story for her deep anguish over not being a mother. We all most likely recall her time at the temple, taking her request to God in powerful prayer. And what mom wouldn’t be impacted by Hannah’s bold move – leaving her little blessing at the temple to be raised by Eli the priest?
And did you know after God answered her prayer for a child to deliver her from her barrenness, God continued to answer the prayers for Hannah? She had two more sons and three daughters– while Samuel“grew up in the presence of the Lord” (>1 Samuel 2:21).
Hannah trusted God without doubt or concern. Her reverent fear of the Lord was just one more quality of her godly character.
We have to get serious in our prayer lives.
We have to determine that we will hang on and not stop believing until we see an answer.
That’s what Hannah did year after year.
She “showed up.”
She entered her conversations with God broken, resentful, bitter, unhappy, defeated and moaned like a drunken woman. She was herself without pretense.
Do you not think God knows our humaness?
But one year Hannah decided to focus on God and His provision instead of dwelling on her unchanging circumstances. Hannah did something that brought her into the inner courtyard of God’s presence: she prayed with determination.
And her relationship with God went from the possible to the personal, from inactive to active, from nominal to phenomenal.
I heard a teaching today about prayer…but not the way we ususally think of prayer…the point was being made that God already knows what we have need of before we even ask. Ever think of that…and have you ever questioned why, if He already knows, do we need to pray about it?
Because my long journey with the Lord has been a constant pondering about prayer and how to do it. There are so many types of prayer and where do we start?
What has really set me free is the fact that I have pressed into a very personal relationship with a very real God through His Son Jesus and the freedom has come in my “just talking to Him”.
So, I prefer to call prayer, “talking to Jesus”…It just makes it more personal to me.
That teacher this morning said we pray to Him to release our own FAITH….
MY FAITH ACTIVATES MY PRAYERS IN HIS PRESENCE.
That is why we ask!
It is acknowledging the fact that you are believing Him for His absolute involvement in your life and your desires, your healings, your journey….
There are many types of ways to pray, or talk to God.
Right now I am studying about Warfare.
We know we don’t fight flesh and blood, but principalities and wickedness in high places. We are seated in the heavenly realm in the spirit to adequately combat the enemy and all his forces of hell that want to defeat us on every level. But we have the power that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelling on the inside of us. We have the power to fight off those wicked spirits and be victorious.
Having been beaten down and disappointed, do you find it hard to boldly and specifically ask God for something in prayer?
I know I do.
But here Hannah was, at the lowest point in her life, offering up a request that she had probably thought a thousand times. The Bible says we don’t receive because we don’t ask. Don’t give up on asking for what you most desire. And do it believing that God gives good gifts to those who ask because He does, and He is a rewarder of all who seek Him.
Let’s not linger at the gate of God’s presence, going through the motions of worshipping God and yet holding sadness and bitterness in our hearts.
Let’s count ourselves as ones who have been brushed by His greatness and honored to have the profound privilege of talking to God on every level and make our requests known.
Let’s rejoice that He gave His power to us to combat the evil one dwelling on this earth. And we can do that well. It just takes determination!
He did NOT leave us here powerless and defeated. But as His children, we are equipped to walk within His Kingdom in the here and now.
I have always created pictures in my mind of the outcomes I want to see that weren’t what was really happening. I created pictures of my situations in life in my mind that were not reality and I lived that way off and on until only just recently. I thought I had a handle on it, but still found residue of this ability I had so carefully constructed in so many areas.
The mind is a powerful thing, and is the source of all our battles with the enemy.
How many of you know that God heals us and corrects us in layers?
Like pealing an onion…one layer at a time. We can’t handle it all at once.
1 Corinthians 13: in the message says:
12 We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
I wrote about my ability to create my own reality in my first book,
“Climbing Out of the Box.” (Which you can find on Amazon)
It started when I was a victim of incest as a child and I learned to remove myself from what was happening and would create a happy and safe environment to dwell in that wasn’t reality. I was forever being disappointed when my picture didn’t line up with what was really happening. It was a way to cope. As an adult it is an easy and tempting thing to slip back into and I have to be on my guard most of the time. But I am a grown up now, not the child victim.
The problem comes when we convince ourselves that we need a certain outcome — and that it has to happen on our timeline, in the way we’ve pictured it.
When we try to control outcomes, and make them fit our pictures, we cut ourselves off from the loving protection of God and let fear begin to rule our thoughts.
Fortunately, in any given moment you have a choice to change.
You can choose to reconnect with the reality of overcoming our circumstances instead of living in a false reality, thus enabling the enemy to continue to cause us pain in lives.
Here are some steps to follow to remind yourself of your powerful connection with Jesus so that you may begin to walk in the power to overcome that He has provided for you.
Be determined to see your circumstances with God’s eyes. Ask Him for His eyes to see clearly…not what you have created for yourself to see.
What are you saying, out loud or to yourself, that’s disconnecting you from your power?
Identify your story.
Once you’ve identified your real story, take a moment to get real about how it makes you feel. Recognize the way your words and beliefs block the manifestation of what you are praying about to begin to occur in your life..
What is the number one negative story that you have on repeat in your brain, and how does it make you feel?
Your honesty is what will open the door for you to remember and accept the power of God to change your circumstances or enable you to accept the place you are at in this part of your season.
Once you’ve identified your story, immediately say out loud: “I am more than an conqueror in all of my circumstances” You, my friend are a child of the King of Kings.
You have to let go of your fear.
Turn it over to the Lord of your heart, Jesus, and be patient.
Talk to Him with certainty and thank Him for giving you a clear picture of your life and a clear picture of what He wants to accomplish in you. Be patient within His fruit of patience.
Try not to control your picture, but let Him create a new picture for you. Your sign from Him will be crystal clear if you’re going in the right direction. He will show you His will for you right now. And remember that if it’s not clear, it is time to trust Him and be patient and learn what waiting on Him really means.
There may be some personal fears you need to clear up, or perhaps faith you need to strengthen, before you can get it.
When you try to control an outcome or even a time frame, you cut off your ability to be patient for the outcomes and disconnect from all the infinite possibilities that could occur.
Surrender to the Lord and remember that nothing can take away your true power that is yours in Christ and His love and peace within you. Let Him mold you into who He has created you to become.
What would happen if you chose to be thankful and content in the place you are in right now?
Or if you are in a really trying, and grief filled place right now, asking Him to strengthen and hold you up while you navigate the waters of pain? He promises to surround you with Himself every minute of the day. And nothing ever stays the same. You can endure until change comes within His strength.
But you have to invite this to happen..
or you could ignore it….
or forget that it is yours….and walk in defeat and fear.
Recently, my ladies bible study group has been discussing the many aspects and types of prayer available for us to pray. I really prefer the words, “talking to Jesus”, over prayer. It becomes so much more personal to me when I think of prayers being a continuous conversation with Jesus every day. It enhances my intimacy with Him and my awareness of just how interested He is in every part of my life. And it isn’t just me speaking all the time…..He gets to talk too! And most of the time, I write down what He says, and go back and read His words from time to time as a reminder.
We are never more anxious to receive from God than He is willing to provide. Let’s quit acting like we are bothering God! Beth Moore said, “Prayer is accepting a royal summons to the throne room of the king for breakfast with your dad. He says, Come here child, I’ve got something to give you today. And it’s just what you needed and sought and you are so relieved.”
We don’t know what the direction will be but we know our father will give it.
When you have this kind of prayer intimacy with God, you will learn to recognize when He is wanting your attention and wants to teach you new avenues of prayer, such as warfare against a very real enemy.
So, I am going to tell you of my experience with “Lisa” a number of years back that I find amazing still, even today. I have written of this experience before in my blogging, but I have even more revelation to it now and am still just as amazed.
This is the story:
For weeks every time I grew contemplative or was talking to Jesus, a picture of a hand gun would materialize in my mind. If I was walking by a television and a program was on where a gun was being shot, I would jump as if I was the one being shot at. A picture of a gun on a billboard would seem to be pointed right at me.
The eerie feeling just wouldn’t go away.
At first I thought my imagination was working overtime but somehow I knew this was a puzzle I obviously was missing a piece to. I began to live every day in expectancy of finding out what this gun consciousness was about.
At the time I was leading a weekly women’s bible study and doing some lay Christian counseling as a result of reaching out to the community with my bible study.
His gentle Spirit was teaching me how to totally rely on Him during these times for I felt so insignificant in the enormity of so many problems that women and men face. I never wanted to do anything without His help and in my own reasoning’s as I felt inadequate within myself. I felt it was imperative that I set “me” aside and listen to what the Holy Spirit would say in how to handle each one.
Sometimes, I would be perplexed at what He would have me say to a woman and even more amazed when I would see her set free in areas of her life to move forward.
One particular woman, whom I will call Lisa, was a real challenge. I learned many things as I counseled with Lisa on a weekly basis. This middle-aged-woman had many problems and desired the Lord’s healing and direction for her life. I would just listen to her many issues and offer support and pray for her. Sometimes I would simply counsel her in the many challenges she faced in her sad life.
The counseling went on for many months with Lisa. Then the visions of the gun began. As I prayed and asked God about it I started feeling that the gun issue was somehow connected to Lisa.
I couldn’t help but start to get nervous when she would come to our meetings carrying a backpack, wondering if the gun was in her backpack and she was going to go crazy and shoot me. I listened to her intently in our private meetings to see if there would be a mention of guns but there never was.
I thought about the gun almost continuously for at least 3 months while I spent time with this woman. The feeling really began to shake my faith and I wondered if I was being warned by God to stay away from Lisa. I noticed every gun shop in any place, in any town, and it seemed like they were on every corner, though that wasn’t the case.
I continued to pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to me what this meant.
One night I had a dream that someone was in my front yard with a gun and it was night. Lisa pulled up in a car and got out and this unknown person shot her and she fell dead on the lawn. I was horrified but went to her and began to pray earnestly.
To my amazement she was raised from the dead. Needless to say, I prayed all the more for Lisa after this dream and wondered where all this would lead.
Counseling her became a strain on me and I had to fight fear as this revelation became more pronounced. I has this sense of awareness and just “knew” that Lisa owned a gun and as I saw her growing more despondent I gave way to much prayer on her behalf (and, truth be told, mine too!)
Then one evening the most astounding revelation happened. I was teaching at my bible study and was quite tired as the staff took over with passing an offering basket to pay for overhead costs of the study. I sat on the stairs in front of the group of ladies preparing myself to pray for those who would come after the meeting was dismissed.
As the offering basket was being passed I looked up just as I saw Lisa drop something into the basket that wasn’t money but something else, but I could not tell what it was. After the meeting was all over and most of the other women had left Lisa walked over and sat beside me on the steps.
“Did you see what I dropped into the offering basket?” she asked. I told her I had seen her drop something but didn’t know what it was. She got up and went over to the offering and took the mysterious object out, walked over to me, took my hand in hers, and dropped a bullet into it.
I just sat and stared at it with my mouth hanging open.
“This is your bullet isn’t it?” I whispered.
“Yes, it is for my gun,” she replied.
“God told me you had a gun,” I told her.
“I know” she said with resignation.
Lisa then began to tell me her story. The reason she brought the bullet and gave it as an offering was because of something that had happened the previous Thursday night.
She had felt totally despondent. She had taken her revolver, and the one bullet she kept for it, into the closet with plans of taking her life.
She said as she sat on the floor of the closet she lifted the gun to her head and pulled the trigger.
It would not go off. She tried for half an hour to get the gun to discharge the bullet, but, mysteriously, it would not.
She then broke down and cried and Jesus spoke to her heart, revealing that the ladies of the bible study were praying and the prayers had broken the bonds of death that had a deep grip on her.
She literally could not kill herself because of the power of God and the power of obedient women to pray. God’s overwhelming love then flooded her as she sat in the closet and broke and wept before the Lord for hours.
She declared her life was totally turned around at that moment.
As I thought back to that same Thursday night, I remembered that was the night I had met with our staff to pray for the ladies of the study and I was again overwhelmed with the image of Lisa and a gun. We all then began to pray in earnest for Lisa, especially, and someone even mentioned a spirit of death over her.
I remembered feeling a relief as we prayed that night and believed that whatever it was with the gun and Lisa, it was taken care of in the spirit that very night. The gun awareness seemed to vanish.
I realized when I spoke with Lisa that while we were praying for her, it was the same night and at the same time that she was in the closet trying to pull the trigger.
I have often wondered if we had not prayed what would have happened to Lisa.
I think back to this time often and use it in teaching obedience when we feel the urgings of God to seek His face on another’s behalf.
And how to wait and trust when He is revealing something we need to see as we are praying.
I have been talking to Jesus for 45 years now, and I am still learning so much more about the many facets of communicating and obedience in the spirit realm of communication with God!
Do we ever stop learning? I think not.
As His children He wants to teach us true Kingdom living. He wants us to know how much He wants to use us, move through us, love through us, and reach others through our obedience and transparencies.
In our obedience to live in Him and obey when He impresses us to move on what He shows us, we can witness mighty things happen in the here and now.
The room was very dark as the movie played on a huge screen right in front of my face. I had never watched the Lord of the Rings series, and since my ankle hurt that day, I decided to ride the bike in the gym’s movie room instead of the treadmill in another area of the gym.
I fumbled in the dark and felt my way to just the right bike for me and because I couldn’t see, just coming out of the bright light, finally was able to punch in the right speed and time for my ride.
I had come in right in the middle of the movie but thought it would give me a good idea of whether I would like it or not and serve to hold my attention while I pumped out the miles.
Unfortunately for me I came in right when these humongous, ravenous demon wolf-type things, with what could only be demons themselves on their backs, were attacking the good army and demolishing them with their ravenous, canine teeth that were bloody and black.
The scene went on and on until I thought that I just wasn’t listening to God by picking this room for my exercise routine that day.
I was dodging and ducking as these demons jumped into the camera with bloody drool dripping. As I sat there peddling, I couldn’t help but be thinking I had to get out of there.
I needed peace–not whatever this was.
But in the midst of this horror and my attempt to leave the room, God spoke to me.
Ever have that happen? In the most unlikely place that you would expect, He speaks.
One time he spoke to me in a bar bathroom (I was there for a talent show my friend took me too, in case you’re wondering if I hang out at bars), and I was shocked at the time….but that is another story.
“I am looking, Lord. I don’t like it.”
“Look at the warriors in the good army.”
So, I watched like He told me to do.
The warriors fought with everything in them. Every time one good guy was attacked by a demon wolf, (I am sure this dark army had a name but it escaped me), he fought back and with great warfare and managed to kill a great number of them. But more would come and render some of the slower guys to pieces. It seems though, that the more the good guys fought the more they were attacked by the demons of hell itself.
In the end the good guys won and the demons were dead…to only return at a later time in the movie. I knew Jesus wanted me to see something about my own life in this illustration He was showing me.
“Dixie, isn’t this what you have been experiencing in your life recently?”
I began to see what He was showing me. First of all, He was reassuring me that He knew exactly what I was experiencing and was with me on the journey, but was teaching me more about extreme spiritual warfare.
Starting about 6 months ago, all hell has broke loose within my personal life and those I love. Just as one thing was fought through and seemingly won, another thing would happen that would literally shock and sweep me off my spiritual feet.
I have literally felt each time like giving up on all that I do. And it seems those wolves are still coming, and the more I battle in the spirit the more they come.
They want to steal my life.
They want to make me feel like a failure.
They want to render me helpless and defeated.
Just as those good guys in the movie used their weapons of warfare I am more determined to use mine. I don’t fight by my own power or I would surely die. The weapons of my warfare are not carnal but are mighty before God for the pulling down of the enemies strongholds that would seek to envelope me and tear me to pieces.
For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds 2 Cor. 10:4
At some point those wolves will get it…they will see they cannot defeat me because I may look “defeatable” but behind me stand mighty warriors of the most high God and they have to get through them first.
In myself I am weak and no different than any of you. But it is in my weakness HE is made strong.
“But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!” 2 Cor. 12:9-11
So, I watched the scene in the Lord of the Rings until the battle played out…and the good guys were plum worn out but were able to ride off, alive, and the enemy was defeated, with carcasses of demons strewn over the mountainside.
“You will win this battle, Dixie, because you have learned your strength lies in me.”
Boy, I wish He would tell me how long it’s going to last and when I can see His total deliverance from this time of attack..but isn’t that what it is all about?
Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategiesandthe deceits of the devil.
12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
13 Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resistandstand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Eph 6:10-18
It is learning to always be on our guard and decked out in our armor so that we find our true joy and deliverance in Him for always?