When you are taking time to pray, how often do you pause to ask God a question? When I first learned to pray, I know I had no idea to expect an answer during my prayers. Or even knew to ask a question.
My early days of praying were usually petitions. God would you? God, give me.. God, so and so needs this… God would you heal… a long list of the things I wanted to see Him do in my life and the lives of others. I even learned the acronym, PRAY. Praise, Respond, Ask and Yield.
Those things didn’t mean a lot because it was still one-way. I didn’t know how to respond to God nor truly how to yield. I certainly knew what I wanted. What was missing was listening to Him and getting His input.
Has that happened to you? Does prayer seem to bounce off the ceiling? Or you have this long list that you know you should pray through. Lists never excited me, although now, I do keep a list because I ask God who and how I am to pray, a question. It’s a two-way conversation and I see his hand. It’s much more exciting now.
What is a good starter question?
A good starter question starts in the scriptures. Jesus was always asking questions. In Matthew 20:29-34, the blind men call out to Jesus. His response to them is,
What is it you want Me to do for you?
Such a powerful question. What is it that you want Jesus to do for you today? How would you respond to that question? The blind men responded that they wanted “to see.” If you want “to see”, then asking Jesus what it is you are to see this day and sitting in the quiet for a few minutes to listen to the thoughts that come up about what you might need “to see” this day.
When I asked that question, at that time, a close relationship was quite rocky. He showed me ways to reach out and mend the relationship. And ways to let go of “fixing.” I could let go of what was not mine to fix.
What is a second question to ask?
In my own experience, a second question that has been fruitful in my prayer times is:
What do You want me to know today God?
As you sit quietly, listen for the thoughts and emotions that come up. Remember the character of God as you listen. You can trust that anything that comes to mind will not be outside His character. He will speak words of love, mercy, grace, trust over you. Galatians 5: 22-23 (NLT) speaks of the types of things we can expect. However, His words will be exactly what you need for that morning.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Invariably, I get impressions that I wonder, “Where did that idea come from?” Or someone comes to mind that I realize I need to be praying for. When I check on the person that God has brought to mind, they are in angst and in need of prayer often. I have learned not to ignore the prompts to pray for others.
What do you notice when you ask God a question?
Regardless of the question you may be asking of God, what do you notice about your mind, emotions and body when you begin to present God with questions? He tells us in Philippians 4:6-7. NLT,
Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
As you come to Him with questions and begin to get His viewpoint and sense His answers, I believe the peace that transcends all understanding will begin to envelop you. It may take practice, yet the practice will be so worth it. He wants to hear what’s on your heart and will bring things to your mind for clarity and wisdom.
The peace I receive when I “pray through” something cannot be measured. I want that for you, too.
What will be your next step?
What question do you have for God? Perhaps questions from the Psalms fits where you are as a lament- crying out your heart to Him because nothing seems to be going right and you want to hear from Him. Psalm 13 is a good place to read and ask Him the questions that David does.
Or you when you are waiting and waiting, Psalm 90’s questions are helpful. And throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus often asked questions that you may also want to ask of Him. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus asks if you are tired. Good question, isn’t it for these days? You might want to ask Him what to do with your tiredness.
I hope you can take moments with Him just to listen.
If this concept seems challenging to you, I’d love for us to meet and practice together. Contact me or reply back to this email and let’s get your listening ears in tune with what questions to ask God.
Nancy Booth wants to create safe spaces for you, helping you find ways to have two-way conversations with God. She loves encouraging you to look for ways He is at work. Nancy is a spiritual director and writer. She would love to accompany you on your journey of discovery to hear and see more of the God who delights in you. Peace, hope and freedom could be yours Contact her today.