Okay. If you have been following the last dozen or so postings, we are now ready to discuss the action steps flowing out of “Listening Prayer.” We are still inclining our ear to the voice of the Spirit as we move to obey any action step the Lord may direct.
Let’s discuss the options to fine-tune our obedience. First, here is a range of typical situations in which God may be guiding us to take action
1. Resolving Relational Tension: The Lord is directing us to reconcile a broken relationship, whether we are either the offending or the offended party. What is the best, God-directed way to do this?
2. An Act of Service. Sometimes the Lord speaks to us to act selflessly to meet the legitimate need of another. It could be an act of giving or serving. Can this be done anonymously? If not, let me show humility.
3. A Call to a Formal, Specific Ministry. Whether to teach kids on Sundays, or to join ELIC to reach lost people trans-culturally, what steps must we take to start down this road to formal ministry?
4. A “Word from the Lord.” There are times God gives us a word or an insight to offer to someone. There are times when a person may be in a quandary. They need a missing piece to the puzzle in their personal conversation with the Lord. God may give you that missing piece to offer to help them understand God’s answer.
In each of these situations, we keep on listening to the Lord for wisdom in acting on His direction. We begin asking, “Lord, how?” I want to suggest some ideas of what might need to be considered as we move to obey the Lord. I will focus mostly on the fourth situation above – “giving a word from the Lord.”
We ask, “Lord, how would you guide me to present this truth to others? I need both tack and courage.”
1. How do I prepare? Clothe myself with Jesus Christ – Honesty, humility, submission, and love.
2. Privately or publicly? Do I share specifically to an individual, or generally to the whole group?
3. Written or spoken? Do I ask for a personal chat, or do I email them?
4. Gently? If so, I will “offer and release” rather than “impose and control.” That means, I will:
> Ask permission to share.
> Offer my insight simply, without going too far in trying to interpret it or apply it.
> Release them to the Holy Spirit’s confirmation. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21
5. Directly? If so, I will confront in truth and love boldly, trusting the Spirit to support my obedience.
Additional Ideas: Consider making these determinations:
> I will take care not to violate the priesthood of believers by “corrective, directive” words.
> I will measure my response by 1 Corinthians 14:3 NIV.
“But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.
> I say, “Lord, if You speak clearly, I will obey courageously.” Let’s not rush the first part.
Listening Prayer, then, is a glorious conversation, yes, a communion with our Lord. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah. 33:3.