“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”— Philippians 4:6
What a challenge this poses for believers on every level of their faith walk. If we are honest with ourselves, I would like you to take a moment to ask yourself, “before I talk to anyone else have I talked to God about my situation?"
Not just a simple prayer and then move on. I’m saying to fully sit down and talk to God like you do the best friend, or a co-worker, or family? Not only is important we learn how to fill ourselves up with God, but we learn how to direct our fears, passion, joy and questions to Him as we do others.
I’m going to share what I have learned when I took this challenge to talk to God before others. I was the woman who can honestly say, leaned on others opinions more than my own words or Gods wisdom when I first started my walk with Christ.
When I first started my faith walk, I prayed but I was in the new stages of prayer, where I found myself studying other people’s prayers and used their prayers as my own. I think for me there was a science to prayer, a method on how a proper prayer should be said. Crazy right? I never just talked to God.
But when you start talking to God as a new believer it’s a bit awkward. I even found myself peeking to see if anyone was watching me while I started praying. I wanted to address this, because if you are new to faith like I was, it’s okay it feel this way! It’s normal! You are not shameful or a bad Christian, like I felt.
In the beginning, you may experience how awkward prayer can feel. Maybe you don’t know where to start, maybe you are lucky and prayer just comes naturally! But if you are like me and you do feel weird, especially when praying out loud, it’s okay!
I feel this is not discussed as much, because to say prayer is awkward may cause judgment from others (which should not happen, but it does) or you feel prayer is supposed to be natural? What’s wrong with me?! It is one on one time with God, but why does it feel this way?
Do not worry if you feel this way. I’m here to say praying made me feel like a crazy woman at first and it was far from natural. My first prayer was a bit weird and I even remember saying at the end of my prayer, just, “Amen.” When I realized I was leaving off the powerful words of “In Jesus name I pray, Amen,” I went into panic mode saying, “Great now none of my prayers were heard!”
I was praying, but not praying to talk to God about my daily concerns or worries, or casting my cares upon Him. In fact, if I am honest with you, it was about one year into my walk with Christ, when I fully understood my own prayers.
My prayers felt as though I was just meeting my religious requirement. I was supposed to pray. It wasn’t until I learned why I was praying and actually talked to God, to see how powerful prayer can be, both mentally and physically. I didn’t understand how talking to God about my day could have such and effect on my future prayers or my attitude I had with God and those around me.
When you stop talking to everyone else, friends, family and coworkers, you allow God to work on your problem. You are not placing the burdens or worries in the hands of those around you. Most of the time as much as these people want to help they can’t. When you don’t rest, God cannot work within you.
When you consistently handle your own problems or concerns, God has nothing to do. You are showing Him you don’t need Him. But when you rest, God can then work in your life. Your problems are not just your problems.
While it is good to vent to someone, I started asking myself two questions first before asking someone other than God. First, if I say this out-loud (venting to people) what is the purpose? Why am I discussing this with someone and how will I feel when the problem is resolved, after sharing the information I shared?
Second, is it my flesh that wants to share this information, to gossip? Do I really want the opinion of the person I am speaking with, or do I just want them to know?
Our flesh wants to take over in our world of constant sharing and social media overload, we feel the need to let everyone in on our business. However, God listens, and the more you talk with Him the less you need to share with the world.
The more you pray, your concerns and worries become less. You won’t have any shame or guilt when talking to God. Especially if what you spoke about to others was out of anger or sadness. Sometimes we speak to quickly and regret the information we share. You can never take back words you say.
God heals, He answers. When you pray, stop and listen, give God time to speak! In a world of now, instant gratification, sometimes we think the faster to resolve the better the outcome. We might want to reach to a friend that can make us feel better immediately, but sometimes this isn’t always helpful.
Of course talking with friends and family can help heal, but praying and talking to God first can humble you, heal you, and prevent much more damage emotionally or mentally.
I have finally learned this lesson. I have seen what it does on the inside of me to give God my fears, questions or even my anger. God understands anger, it’s okay to be angry and pray. He calms your soul.
In our journey with Christ, we will have lessons we pack inside of us, as we fill our tank with knowledge and wisdom to learn how be more Christ-like. We find out how much life can change when we fully give our lives to Christ. Let’s break away from keeping God in only certain parts of our lives, and let’s put God in all we do!