"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." (Matthew 26:41 NIV)
Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV)
Every day provides both opportunities and hidden dangers. We should expect them. If we are not watching--if we are not expectant and aware, we will miss the opportunities God has for us (God-adventures). We will also fall into temptation if we are not spiritually prepared. Our prayer life is essential. We must keep a beaten path to God's throne of grace if we are going to "make the most of every opportunity."
As we begin the fast, make prayer a priority. Prayer is talking to God and listening for him to speak back. This is what it means to "watch and pray." We should expect to hear from God. How does He speak to us? More often than not, He will speak through His word. As you read the Bible, certain passages or verses will stick out. Begin to ask questions and if possible write out your thoughts. What does the passage tell you about God? How does it apply to you and your situation? Is God encouraging you? Giving you wisdom? Peace? Don't be disheartened if your thougths don't seem to have any direct application at the moment. Sometimes God speaks by giving us puzzle pieces (I call it "connecting the dots")--we can't see the whole picture at first but as we continue to seek God--being faithful in prayer, we begin to connect the pieces into something that makes sense.
The process does take discipline. It takes effort to think and be consistent. But hearing God's voice is well worth it. As you grow in your relationship with Him, you will begin to have more and more God-adventures--opportunities to meet needs that God is directing you to meet. A phone call to a discouraged friend. A word of wisdom to someone who is confused. A helping hand to someone who needed it. A sense of God--an awareness of Him begins to permeate your life. This becomes fun!
You can do it. You can hear God's voice. You can have a real relationship with Him. Don't be discouraged and don't give up. He has many great adventures for you this year and it all begins with watching and praying. Over the next few days, I want to share some thoughts about developing a relationship with God through daily prayer. I will continue the theme of a "beaten path to God". I hope you are encouraged to begin cutting your own trail to Him. God-adventures are waiting.
Be sure not to miss this month's message series: Restart