within our lives
A guide to
recognising God’s presence
within our day-to-day lives
through the practical use of faith.
CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE
It is suggested that readers should first gain an
overview of how to build faith and belief in God by accessing the Lead Article for this section
of the website, titled, “Believing in God”,
before going any further. That article explains how: knowledge, faith and belief work together; to learn what God actually offers us through faith; to create a relationship with him;
to understand how and where his presence can effect us personally; to soundly evaluate evidence of that presence; to walk in step with him through
to find real personal freedom for ourselves.
During my professional career I relied on
disciplined analysis and evaluation to succeed.
(If you wish to know a bit about my knowledge, skills and the theological accuracy of articles, then click here.) Given
my background, you may be wondering how someone like me came to hold
such strong faith and belief. Well, like many other analytical, open
minded individuals, I found that if we
are willing to ‘really’ look for evidence and
where to look, then each one of us should actually be able to
to ourselves that God exists! And
I was originally a pretty good atheist, I admit, so it did require genuine (soundly evaluated) evidence to change
Essentially, the use of ‘faith’ in everyday
life, within every
aspect of our lives, can provide us with the opportunity to experience God’s
presence there, as he attempts to provide loving care to each of
us. Undeniable to those who know him, he is a God of action. Of course
we do need to know something about faith first and how it can be
applied to life.
You may wonder at this point whether, as Christians, we can ignore the Church? That is, if it
is possible to build belief in God by recognising his presence in
day to day lives, are there good reasons why we should join a community
of faith: a church? The answer is a firm "Yes" from my point of
I have briefly explained my reasons later in this article. Also, please see the
article,“God within the Church” within this section of the website.
But, getting back to the subject matter of this article, how do we start this use of ‘faith’
within everyday life? Initially, and most importantly, we
must just take the first step, no matter how small it may be.
that God is there,
and then gradually move on to fully using the two-way personal
we eventually find
is available to us. Basically, we look for God within our lives; fully engage with him. And when we do, his
life changing power will be released there.
I began my own search
for evidence, in my early days of faith, by evaluating what the Bible actually offers us: examples of how God could supposedly affect
my life and thus
be recognised there as a result. Bear
in mind that evaluation was performed decades ago and I have been
validating and expanding on the successful results ever since. Bear in
mind too, that I do not think for a moment that I am the first and only person to use
the Bible’s advice in the way that I promote here.
As sure as I am about the positive results in my own life, I have
discussed the subject with many other Christians as well. They too
could give me many solid examples within their lives to bear out my views. I
can tell you how reassuring that was, and still is. Actually I never
tire of hearing from others about their experiences of God. Once on the journey of faith, you
too will find the accounts of other Christians, which mirror your
own experiences, to be very encouraging. In effect God rewards
all those who diligently seek him, and they are generally ready to share their stories.
moving forward though, I want to make it clear that, although I know
God can make our lives fulfilling and contented through our use of
faith, I do not support the theories of Prosperity Theology. That
theology, with Bible verses taken out of context according to my understanding and experiences, suggests that we can all be
totally healthy, wealthy and happy, with God’s
help of course.
No, my view of contentment with life as a result of faith does not relate to financial
wealth, and certainly does not guarantee continually good health. Also, I
do not mean that bad stuff will not happen to any of us during our
The rolling dice of chance, and our own poor choices, can
both impact us negatively at any time in life. Those issues, relating to life’s hard times, and how God can
assist us when they do occur, are discussed under Heading 5.4 in this
From my own research and life experiences, there are
two common areas where God’s
most obvious to us within our daily lives. The first is through recognising his
guiding, helping hand. The second is through the beneficial use of prayer.
These areas, then, are
where we primarily look to find evidence of God’s presence in our lives. I have also included some
advice on how to hear God’s own ‘still small voice’. Towards the end of the article I explain where God’s presence in everyday life becomes the most obvious: when we ‘walk’ closely with him in complete trust.
The truth is – from my evaluation of experiences, and verification from other believers –
God not only proves that he exists within our lives, but will also make
his presence all the more purposeful when
we enter into a committed relationship
with him. And also, as I have highlighted above, the closer and more
trusting our relationship with him
becomes, the more obvious his presence becomes. You will find that this
article emphasises that outlook as it progresses. Contentment with life
is a major outcome. Our lives are
substantially, ‘make no bones about it’. I am so confident to write this! Maybe, that looks a bit ‘over the top’ for you? Well, if I came to believe it so wholeheartedly, I am fairly sure you can too.
Let's get into it then!
A GUIDING, HELPING HAND
Initially, God’s presence in our lives can
become evident, when time is taken to evaluate his influence over
of our lives. He knows each of us intimately, and has a plan for each of us.
I am sure that God
tries to guide all
humans, unbelievers and believers
alike, down their right path of life – knowing what is best for
each of us, and
others who will be affected by our actions. From the Christian (pre-Jesus) Old Testament:
I will instruct you and teach you in the
way you should go;
counsel you and watch over you.
guidance from God is applied towards all
important elements of our lives: spiritual path, family life,
relationships, education, career and daily work,
helping others, even issues like acquiring essential assets etc. Of
course, as unbelievers, we are unlikely to make the connection; recognise it at work in our lives.
actually provides guidance through a number of methods. As explained
below, these are all recognisable and can also prove to be very
helpful during our journey through life. From my own research and evaluated experiences, some of his methods are more definite and
noticeable. Others are more subtle and flexible.
should really be able to
recognise, in retrospect, that God was
present there in our lives even though we may not have realised it at
time, and even though we may not have held any religious faith at the
time. Now, it is likely that older people, because they have had more
life experiences, should retrospectively see more examples of God’s
methods of guidance within their lives. But
even younger people should still be able to
locate some examples there.
Remember again, as I have said, it
does nor matter whether you are an atheist, God will still
try to guide you, out of his love for you. And when you accept that he
may have guided you in the past, you can then look to his valuable guidance to assist you in your everyday life.
2.1 Opening and
knows the abilities we each
possess and what we really need in life. In other words he knows our
personalities, our natural gifts and where we should be headed. God
has a plan in mind for each and every one of us. (He also has a plan
for humankind in its entirety as well, but
although that subject is fascinating in its own right it is
the scope of this article.)
As I wrote earlier, God
does know what will work best for each of us. This is due to his view of our
lives on Earth which is outside the constraints of our space/ time
continuum (that he also sustains). And
some areas of God’s plans,
for each of us, appear to be so important that they are non negotiable. Whether we like to believe it or not, God has sovereign
power over all his creation. Although he may use this power sparingly
in our lives he can, through seemingly normal events, adjust our
direction in life. For example our plans to significantly
deviate from God’s view of the best way forward can simply be blocked by him
through his ‘arranging
I refer to that guidance method of God as “roadblocks”
in the Lead Article, “Believing in God”.
other words, if some direction in life is vitally important to us, even
though at the time we
may be ignorant of it, God will prevent
us from heading away from it! Of course, on the other hand, he can also open the way
to a life direction in a fashion that cannot be closed. Christians refer
to this guiding power of God in life as “opening and closing doors”. A simple example from the Christian Old Testament (pre Jesus bits):
In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps.
These words are from the Christian New
Testament (the Jesus bits):
These are the words of him who is holy
the key of David.
opens no one can shut,
he shuts no one can open.
good example of God’s “door shutting” in the Bible is described in the
Book of Acts within the New Testament. Personally, I just love the
bland, ‘matter of fact’ way the events are described there (I have added the italics), “Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept from preaching the word in the province of Asia.” Additional details of God’s
actions, to ensure that Paul and his companions did go exactly where he wanted
them to go, can be read in Acts 16:6-15. Even so, the verses do not state how God ‘closed the door’ on the so-called province of Asia. Another destination actually became known to them through a dream experienced by
Paul. It subsequently became obvious that God indeed did have a clear purpose
within the events. I also suggest you read on from Acts 16:16 to follow
events as they subsequently unfolded for Paul and his companions.
Some examples of ‘closed doors’ in my own life, as I identified them, relate to personal relationships. I can look back, to a time when I was an atheist, and now recognise God’s
hand at work in me finding my partner for life, i.e. my
wife. At the time that relationship was beginning to form with her
there were other young women coming and going in my life. And I could
matched up with any of them. But, there were solidly closed doors
placed in my way to steer me
away from, and out of, those relationships as soon as any hint of
mutual attraction began.
Although an atheist, please understand that I was at least capable, at the time, of
recognising the sudden preventative circumstances and their outcomes. Yes,
I could identify the incredible
timing and unlikely nature of differing events; the end of any further
opportunity in all cases.
hindsight those other women just would
have suited my path in life. And so I found myself in that long lasting
and satisfying relationship that my wife and I have shared. As an important starter in God’s plan, my wife was a Christian
before I met her. Although I remained an atheist for ten years or
longer, after commencing our relationship, her faith proved to be
immense support to
me after I did come to ‘see the light’.
I can now understand this was an area of life (my faith journey) that would become
increasingly vital as time past, where God’s
plan for me was not going to
be thwarted by my ill informed choices. There is a fair chance that I
would never have come to faith (or created this website) if he had not
changed my life’s direction in that way.
Now, this is not
to say, of course, that God will ‘arrange
circumstances’ to influence your
love life. It is just that for me he knew that my life direction would
be heavily impacted by my wife to be!
I believe if you too look back over your
life there is a good chance you will recognise similar instances
there. For example look for obvious
turning points in your life, or where you became locked into a
certain critical direction in life (education,
relationships, etc), resulting from ‘pear shaped’ events,
where you can
your blessings. When you get in touch with
them; the way they just happen
times in life, then they really do stand out.
course, it is unlikely that any of these examples, you might
in your life, will in isolation prove that God exists to you, but
recognising them will start to build that body of evidence you need for
‘believing’. So, read on please.
Clearly not all areas of God’s
plans for our lives
are so ‘set
in concrete’, as it
were. Indeed, most are not. Simply, we are normally left to just get
on with our lives to the best of our ability. But even so, God does know the ideal way
for us and he just shepherds
us with hints one way or another as he sees fit, but leaves us
with our free will to
make final decisions. He is simply providing directions through the events unfolding in our lives,
quietly suggesting we follow his
His hints within day to day life are most
definitely recognisable, particularly when we ‘twig’ to his presence
there. And when acted upon appropriately, these hints can make life a
lot more ‘stress free’ as a
For this God is our God for ever and
be our guide even to the end.
As Christians, we should know to look for obvious
warnings from God. He invariably piles up ‘warning signs’
or omens in
front of bad choices in life. What I actually mean by warnings (or omens) are
odd little things that crop up unannounced more than we would
expect, creating difficulty – preventing us from easily moving
forward in a direction that we are
planning to commit ourselves to. The test comes when we really
want to commit to it (i.e. it may even have become an obsession) and then
we start getting these ‘vibes’ that we shouldn’t
go that way!
course, God does not just provide negative
leadings, he also just as effectively provides positive
well. If one direction planned in life e.g. study, career, dating,
important projects, buying essential assets etc. is becoming difficult
to pursue and its alternative appears easier, then God may be
indicating that the alternative (which may not be as desirable to us, mind
you) is the better choice. In the analogy, God is squeezing the door on
the wrong direction in life and widely opening another one that is more
suited. The easy route is often the right one, in other words.
days of trialling its use, it is wise to really apply adequate thought to what
be God’s leadings. But
once we get a better understanding of God’s
method or ‘code’
for leading us – that he
establishes with each of us as individuals – then its reality becomes
much more concrete and extremely useful.
It is a significant benefit for each of us to have a 'guide' on hand,
always knows what will work or fail in our lives; what might harm us or
those close to us in some way (physically, spiritually, emotionally or
The significance of these
‘leadings’ throughout life are again well
above what could be accepted as mere chance. It just happens too often
and when you get in touch with it, then, it really does prove
Like me, if you think back in time, you should
overriding some of those more significant ‘leadings’ on occasions and
making bad choices anyway. That
is, going against strong ‘gut feelings’
that are often brought on by unexpected obstacles,
or possibly a series of obstacles.
can remember examples, you will probably also recall the consequences.
may not be good memories. I know I ‘blew it’
with a couple of major
family asset purchases over the decades for example, despite leadings
to act differently. On those occasions, this led to a level of
financial difficulty which negatively impacted quality of life for my family.
It took a while, but I eventually
learnt to take stock of such leadings. Yes, sadly from my point of
view, some of the best proof of leadings actually comes from ignoring
Please also read the small article titled, “The will
for a better understanding in a Christian sense of that well known term and its relevance to the present topic of leadings. The
terms are, of course, related at least as far as where we should be headed in life.
put, as I have already alluded, it means doing what is essentially the
best in the long
term for all those
To my mind, God’s methods for deterring us from bad ‘life choices’ can actually offer some strong evidence in daily life of his existence; his presence there. For example, his
disapproval at our seriously inappropriate decision-making – that
may actually harm
ourselves or others (either directly or indirectly)
become increasingly obvious as he tries to deter us. Self-destructive
behaviour, i.e. ‘bad habits’ and other wrongdoing also fit into
category. Warnings of this nature from God, whilst
normally starting out at a subtle level, may eventually
obvious and maybe even embarrassing (as he possibly tries to shame us
out of them). Does it sound like I have been on the receiving end of
this sort of treatment? Yes, I am quite confident that I have. That is why I can vouch for it!
is not to be seen as cruel or harsh in these actions. No, he does
it because he loves us! He wants us all to have meaningful
lives, and doesn’t want us lost in some mire that we
cannot dig ourselves out of. If we do get lost in life, then the
possibility of an effective
relationship with God is extremely limited. The underlying cause of the
problem can even dominate our thinking; our very identity, and
thoughts for others and God, often making us lost even to ourselves.
means that the most important things
that God wants of us are severely compromised.
Bear in mind though, there is a limit to God’s
attempts to put us on
the ‘straight and narrow’. God does not normally force
himself upon us, and when
the wrong things in life present too much of an obsessive interest to
us, he may
well withdraw. In other words, he respects our right to ignore him, at
our own peril of course. Inevitably, in such circumstances, we suffer
the full consequences of those poor decisions. But, while there is life
hope (as the saying goes). God will always use our mistakes to
we re-join our true path. He will also assist us to dig ourselves out of any ‘hole’ we may have placed ourselves in ... if we ask for help.
2.3 Advice from
too, God also guides us with advice through the
mouths of others. First and foremost we are expected by God to
seriously listen to people’s
relevant quote, again
The way of the fool seems right to him,
wise man listens to advice.
me, I am sure you already know that personal experience can be a cruel
teacher, so it is in our best interests to be open to sound advice.
And ‘wise counsel’ often arrives whether we ask for it or
not. I really don’t know the exact
mechanism God uses. Maybe, he gives such people the courage to
advise us in a way that they normally would not. In any case, at this stage in my life, I particularly
take note when advice on a subject of importance to my path
in life comes unexpectedly from someone I know. When it happens to you, there may well be recognition: “Gee, I wasn’t expecting her/him to advise me about that?” I can say there is a kind of ‘bong!’ note to it ... that is intended to unsettle us; indicate that all may not have been well with our previous reasoning. After years of observation, I almost
certainly know when to take heed of advice on life issues.
Now obviously not all advice received from friends and family etc will be sound, so we do need to use some discretion here.
But if advice offered to us, in this way, provides sensible alternatives to our own
thoughts on something
important in life – spiritual journey, family life,
relationships, education, career,
helping others, acquiring essential assets etc. – then it pays for us to consider it seriously.
I learnt the hard way not
quickly discount advice like that. I
gained my first lesson about not listening to such
advice thirty odd years ago, and the words echoed in my head for a long
time afterwards, in view of the prophetic message I ignored. There were
As you can tell from my admissions on ignoring
forms of guidance from God over the years, learning the hard way many times
over, I have a somewhat impetuous nature (that I
regret) and I am definitely a slow learner. I sincerely
hope you, the reader, can learn from my mistakes.
2.4 Seeking and trusting his
Again, the odd example of God guiding us – opening and closing doors, leadings, advice from others – may not be interpreted by you as convincing proof of God’s
presence in your life. But eventually, if you are open to the
possibility, you should begin to see the accumulation of what is probable evidence arising again and again. Some of the odds in these examples can be just ‘plain old’ too hard to explain away. I
say without doubt that it becomes all the more obvious as time passes ... when we are actually open to it.
should, after analysis of past events that are accepted by us as relevant, recognise that
all guidance from God
is actually related to better life outcomes for us and other people who rely on us. The next step in our journey with God, in this regard, is to attempt to actively engage with him within his methods of guidance. As such we start to relax into ‘trusting’ him more and more; moving forward with him in his loving presence. I know I run the
risk of sounding ‘corny’
here, as I now read my own words as the atheist that I once was. But I
ask you to consider this different way of approaching life (that
I share with many other Christians of course) as explained more fully under Heading 5, Walk in Trust, in this article.
As far as we are concerned here though, why not start to look out for his guidance whenever we face
new challenges; or even ask for
it. Of course this takes us into
new territory, i.e. speaking to him. We are deliberately applying
faith to our lives, just as God intends. Again it can apply to all those important areas of our lives: spiritual path, family life,
relationships, education, career and daily work,
helping others, even issues like acquiring essential assets etc.
it takes some time, as beginner Christians, to relax into this
of faith and openness. It is here, as I have already alluded, that we are placing ‘trust’ in God’s
From the Old Testament:
Many are the woes of the wicked,
Lord’s unfailing love
the man who trusts in him.
we are confronted by important decisions that are hard to make we can, as believers, simply ask for guidance through prayer (the
subject of the next sub section
of this article). It
is then just a matter of recognising the
guidance – which is
generally made quite clear to
us – when God replies.
How then, as
Christians, do we expect God to guide us after asking for it. Firstly,
we might hold
up the logic behind our plans, with our hearts and
minds open to him.
That is, after the prayer, we wait for strong feelings one way
or the other. This process is known by Christians as “discernment”.
of Bible scriptures, in the case of longer term
Christians, assists in this discernment process by highlighting Biblical indications of what is right or wrong in
expectations. In the words of the Psalmist [119:105], “Your
word is a
lamp to my feet and a light for my path”.
Secondly, and not surprisingly,
we would look out for advice from people we respect, especially
Christian friends and family members. Thirdly, and again not surprisingly, we would look
for positive and negative
No matter which methods God chooses
to show us the best way forward, I can assure you that we do
eventually learn to trust him in his guidance. Again from the Old
the morning bring me word
have put my trust in you.
the way I should go,
you I lift up my soul.
For the final words on guidance I offer this
Biblical quote from the Old Testament:
Your ears will hear a voice behind you,
is the way; walk in it.”
2.5 A helping hand
you, even after choosing the right
path through his guidance, it is not always going to be easy. There may well
work ahead. But if you have recognised the way God wants you to go, and
go with that, then he will assist by supporting that right path. Two quotes from the Old Testament:
The Lord himself goes before you
and will be with you;
he will never leave you;
nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged.
in all your ways acknowledge him,
will make your paths straight.
will note a ‘parting of the waters’ clearing that
appropriate direction before
you. If you have a strong
a certain direction in your
spiritual journey, education or career, work
projects or doing good deeds
for others etc – which
just and appropriate for you in
God’s view (i.e. the will of
he will remove barriers to assist you. This is the stuff that
is made of. And it does really prove itself to you when it all comes together.
It is also noteworthy that providence, or God’s helping hand, is even more
precious than guidance. I believe that whilst
God attempts to guide everyone, unbeliever and believer alike, he only
provides a helping hand (providence) to those who at least try to have faith in
him; those who have chosen to follow his guidance.
That additional assistance could not be recognised by an unbeliever,
even if God gave it, because their minds are not open to it. It
certainly reassures us
believers that he will
lovingly support us where possible on our path of life. I explain later
how this loving care and assistance is available on a daily basis, if
we are prepared to walk in trust with him (see Heading 5). From the New Testament:
And we know that in all things
for the good of those who love him.
As committed Christians, we should
really make the effort to recognise his hand
at work in our
lives. Its power will yet again clearly raise it above sheer luck.
So when following God’s guidance in a certain direction, his
providence could include unforeseen assistance, unplanned meetings with
who can help, and, material things arriving without prior knowledge. It
even occur through anticipated events ‘falling through’,
Later in hindsight it will be apparent that the unexpected events (or
even lack of
expected events) suited the end result.
Essentially, when trying to use providence to our
advantage in our endeavours, it is just a matter of warily following his guidance –
not getting unduly enthusiastic when we are ‘on a roll’,
or getting distressed when things are not exactly going according
to plan. Just relax. Relax. Relax.
The intended end result of our God-supported endeavour is the focal point, not the road
we are travelling at any one time. We re-adjust efforts as either ‘doors are squeezed’ or ‘doors opened wide’. We get better at walking in step with him as we get used
over time. In Christian ‘speak’ we are simply trusting God’s grace as we move forward in this manner.
As with God’s guidance, his helping hand
was an indispensable aid to my
(and other areas of my life as well).
I surprised the heck
out of my
and skilled staff when I successfully ‘rode the back’ of
providence, time and
time again, to get those successful outcomes that were, as far as I was
concerned, stress free. I completely trusted the Lord and he lovingly
assisted me in meeting my well intentioned commitments that were based
on his guidance. Do I hear you saying “Oh yeah really?”
as you read that. To me, the odds of all those new methods working, and
projects succeeding as well as they did ‘year in year out’ were just so against the odds.
All I can add is, please apply this stuff to your life's endeavours. I
will be surprised if it does not work for you too.
if, as a faithful Christian, God approves of what you are doing then he
will be there with you. Again just relax and he will help.
For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
God’s helping hand, as I have indicated, adds great power and
sanctity to our lives if we can
get fully in touch with it. (More on that in this section’s
Lead Article “Believing in God”.)
PRAYER AND ITS OUTCOMES
is undoubtedly one of the ‘foundation
blocks’ of Christian faith. As in any relationship, communication is a must.
Time should be
set aside on a regular basis to talk with God. Admittedly, this may
feel unusual at
first. Again, we
cannot initially be sure that we are not just talking to ourselves. We
have to start
somewhere though: initiating that conversation through faith. Remember
millions have successfully gone before you. You can relax a bit in that
To the experienced Christian,
prayer has many forms: requests for
help for ourselves and importantly for others in need; thanks for what
received; praising and worshiping the Lord; just plain enjoying his loving company.
can use prayer in the full spectrum of our lives. For example, prayers
help can be applied to our spiritual direction, challenges
to our faith, personal
relationships, family conflicts, health issues, education
and work issues,
addictions and bad habits, financial necessities,
Simply put, God’s power can be applied to almost any difficulty
dilemma we may face in life ... especially if we ask for it! However, bear
in mind it is much more
likely that God will
assist within our general day-to-day lives and related
rather than perform miracles or the like. And I am not saying that we
will get everything we ask for either. (I will elaborate on these
Of course, if prayers are not successful then our faith may be weakened. So, it is at least useful to have some
knowledge, based on a sound religious footing, before
embarking on the practise.
3.1 Prayers of
Firstly, do not worry too much that some scientific studies have ‘statistically’ indicated that prayers don’t work etc. The
problem with such studies is that God will
never allow himself to be known scientifically. I explain why in this
Lead Article “Believing in God”.
I can say with complete confidence that prayers definitely do positively influence outcomes of life when we utilise them appropriately. I
have seen some incredible stuff come off through prayer during my
thirty plus years of Christian faith, trust me. The potential power of prayers of request, and
do indeed provide strong proof of God’s presence in our lives.
Open your mind to the likelihood that God awaits your requests
assistance – both for yourself and for others – and I do not believe you will be disappointed in the long term. From the New
So I say to you: Ask and it shall be
given to you;
you will find;
the door will be opened to you.
everyone who asks receives;
him who knocks, the door will be opened.
You do not have, because you do not ask
Do not be anxious about anything,
everything, by prayer and petition,
thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
“ask and you shall
receive” is the
Bible’s promise (although, ‘conditions apply’ as I
explain later). AND God will, if the conditions are right, grant
answers to our
prayers. Once again its power will, after sufficient evidence is
clearly elevate it above sheer luck.
it sounds a bit selfish to use faith to gain assistance from
ourselves in our day-to-day lives through prayers of request, it has
positive results. Firstly,
allows God to
prove his unconditional love for us, and I can only assume that he
greatly enjoys doing so. As I often say, he is a God of action. He can
make life a lot easier than
be as a result. Secondly, by proving his presence in our lives it
belief and faith to grow.
I do suggest that you fully read all that I have
written here on the topic of prayer, before putting it to use. This
will ensure that you do not take any of the Bible-based guidance out of
3.2 The suggested method for praying
note that the above heading does not contain the words “only”
No one can pretend to provide exact
guidelines on what God actually expects from us during prayer in any particular, let alone all,
circumstances. He is always there ready to listen to us; to care for us. I
have merely presented advice here based on related Biblical verses, my
experiences and the experiences of other Christians with whom I
have discussed prayer. I would request that you read on in that
is certainly useful, before commencing prayers of request
to get into the best mood possible: relax and open yourself to the situation. A
quiet place to pray is always an
advantage. Of course this is not always possible, particularly
if praying ‘on
We should next set our mind on God’s
greatness. We do this for three reasons. Firstly, it is right to acknowledge the
omnipotent power of the God we are praying to. Secondly, it lessens our mindset
on our perceived needs. Finally, it increases the power of our prayer when we
accept his greatness.
It is normal for many of us
Christians to pray to God
the Father: “Our
Father in heaven”, “Heavenly
Father” or even “Father God”. An explanation of Christianity's “Holy Trinity” is presented in the article of that name. “God the Father” is explained there, as is “Jesus the Son of God” and the “Holy Spirit”. Remember though, that Christians only believe in one God, just as Jews and Muslims do.
how do we ask things of God? Well, we keep it simple. We just ask for what is needed. There’s
no need to start with, “If you
mind ...” etc. There’s
no need either to choose every single word carefully. God knows
exactly what we want before we say it, of course, but he needs to hear
ask. That way he can make it clear, through answered prayers, that he
is present in our lives and that he really does love us.
when praying, stronger faith means a greater chance
of success. “Faith” here simply equals “confidence in God and his ability ” when praying.
As Jesus himself said, “I tell you the truth, if anyone
says to this mountain, ‘Go
throw yourself into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will
happen, it will be done for him.”
[Mark 11:23] That is a pretty clear statement about faith-filled
our mind’s eye, as we pray, we should endeavour to see
the positive outcome of our request. Again in relation to our faith in the power of prayer, in Jesus’
own words, “... believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
In effect we are opening the situation in
question completely to God’s boundless power through our prayer; faithfully trusting
assist! Of course this advice is to be understood in the context of
other Bible based guidance that follows in this sub section of the article.
Now, beginner Christians may not be able to muster the level of
faith that experienced Christians should possess, but I am sure that
God takes that into account.
If the issue being prayed for is important
enough in your
life, then it is also a good idea to pray for it regularly as well. Even Jesus himself was known to do so (Matthew 26:43).
However, beware of
an unhealthy obsession or preoccupation
with the object of prayer that can lead to poor results. In effect the
of prayer then becomes a ‘false
is, it is of greater importance to us than the God on whom we are
So, let’s summarise the suggested method to this point. Firstly, a balance of confidence in
receiving a successful answer to the prayer (i.e. trusting in God’s ability and readiness), together with a lack
results, is ideal. Again in the context of other guidance that follows in this article, we are told that no request is too huge for God to
answer (e.g. Jesus’ example of ‘moving mountains’). As I have already indicated it pays to concentrate on
that advice, just before a prayer of request. Simply pray with
expectation of an answer, then switch your mind off the subject leaving
it to God alone to follow through.
An additional way of increasing the power
of prayer is through ‘group
prayer’. Two or
more people constitutes a group, and the more involved the better. One
person leads with
Verbal support or affirmation from other participant/s is
also desirable as it amplifies faith and confidence in the process,
i.e. it adds greater power.
(Prayers in church services fit into this category of course.) Also, to my
mind, group prayer works well because God can, by answering these
prayers, touch the hearts of a whole bunch of people and
demonstrate that he is indeed present within each of their lives.
Most Christians conclude their prayers
of request with the words, “In
Jesus’ name, Amen”. Why add the words, "In Jesus’ name"? Well, he suggested we make our requests that way in John 15:16 (in the Bible’s New Testament). The word, “Amen” means something like “May it happen”
or “I really mean this”.
Let me please also say that the suggested
prerequisites mentioned by me, to this stage, don’t
always have to be in
place to ensure the success of prayers. (We do have a loving
after all.) For example, a personal request for inner strength
physical, emotional or spiritual pain always has a high chance of
success no matter how we ask for it.
3.3 Prayers that
as there are suggested methods, attitudes etc to get better results with
prayer, there are also conditions that work against success in our
prayer lives. It is a fact that God will
answer all our prayers. Despite
the Bible’s broad promise
on answers to prayers, logically, we will not
get everything we
for. There will be times when we want something badly and
God just won’t
grant us an answer!
For example, like
a good parent, God won’t give
us something that is not in our best interest or will negatively impact
others. Not many parents for
example would give their child a dangerous gift, despite all the
Unfortunately, we cannot share God’s view of life. Although he is
certainly present within reality and our lives, he can as previously mentioned see beyond the
restraints of time and space in which we exist. Again, in
normally come to understand why prayers have not been answered, or not
answered in an expected manner (explained below). A good many of us
believers are capable of
analytical thought, so don’t think that a strong element of
‘blind faith’ or,
as I have alluded, justifying any
outcome is a
prerequisite for being a believer. A lot of atheists have this view I
am sure, but it is in error.
do not think that
God will always overrule
the laws of
nature that he designed, every time you ask it of him. God
does not normally dabble around
with these laws. Although he underpins the
laws of cause and effect, for example, he lets them run their course. Natural disasters will happen. People will
suffer from ill health –
possibly our loved ones which can include the most vulnerable:
young and the old. The rolling dice of chance can bring accidents and
illness resulting in death to any of us on this day or any other.
I am not
suggesting here that we should not pray in dire circumstances, e.g. when a
dear one is diagnosed with a potentially terminal disease. We do have to try, and try
hard, with serious prayer in these circumstances. I will say
that prayers like this are best applied in church with prayer groups or
the whole congregation (see examples within the
article, “God within the Church”).
Look ... miracles still do happen! I am confident to write that because (and as weird as it may look to you) I have
witnessed them: see my examples in the above mentioned article under Heading 4. But! But! It
is unusual for them to occur
regularly. Unfortunately, that is not what life is all about. Everyone
must die sooner or later, and we cannot expect that to happen
‘healthy old age’, without ever having suffered a day of
ill health or pain beforehand. If every prayer to prolong life was
answered there would soon be no room on our planet for the newborn.
discussed the issues of suffering
and God’s role within them, more fully in an article of
Essentially, we must accept that
emotional and physical suffering, and eventually death, are
inevitable in life. As written in the Introduction, God can
assist us during these times (Heading 5.4 in this
The point here is that the ‘downs’ of life are much easier to cope with if we are
practising Christians. I do write that from experience.
and greed may
to be barriers to
receiving answers to prayers. We really need to examine the
motives behind prayers that have not been answered. As an obvious
“Make me rich and
famous” have little chance of success. Asking to receive
something at the
expense of someone else is similarly too selfish as a rule. It is also
unlikely that God will just send us riches that can be squandered
on our material wish lists (the latest television set,
abroad etc). From the New Testament:
When you ask, you do not receive,
you ask with wrong motives,
may spend what you get on your pleasures.
It also appears that (as with God cutting us adrift when we disobey
wrongfully) he may not assist as strongly with answered prayers if we willfully
follow a way of life that we know he forbids (i.e. sinful).
For the eyes of the Lord are on the
ears are attentive to his prayer,
face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
inappropriate behaviour should be clear to us, and he
will make sure of that! This does not mean that he loves us any the
less. It is just that if we choose to live a life that offends him, then
he may use the tools that are available (e.g. reducing his
care and support within our lives) to coerce us back to a life that is more
rewarding anyway. And yes, I speak from experience here.
I do not believe, even then, that he cuts anyone
completely adrift in life. If
you know in your heart that ‘sin’ is the reason for your unanswered prayers,
then it may be time to rethink your life. Probably, like me, you will work out that
your failures to God, changing your ways, then again moving forward in
him is the
best decision. God
knows our weaknesses and I would guess is well pleased if we at least
try to change. If we fail again when tempted etc, he expects us to
try yet again to beat it. With time and practice we get better at
staying on track in life.
Another issue with sin, when it is done willfully by us
(i.e. we know better), is that it distances us from God within our own
thinking. In this regard it certainly weakens the strength of any
prayers that we make, especially if they are in regard to something that is
genuinely required by us. That attitude of weakness on our part
during prayer may well also impact its success.
Enough said on sin within this article
can read the articles, “Christianity
explained” and “Christian rules, laws and commandments”
to get a better understanding of sin and its effect on life,
death and our relationship with God.
Recognising answered prayers
Answers to prayers are not always instantaneous
therefore be missed when they do occur. Indeed, answers for any
prayers, particularly those for inner strength, can be
overlooked. As an example, God has
been particularly gracious with me
when I have asked for help with handling stressful interpersonal
situations (e.g. work colleagues, friends and family). I have often
thought after those types of events, “Wow, that
went better than I expected!”
Then, it would occur to me that I had prayed about them earlier.
journals are useful to
discussions with God. Prayer requests should firstly be ‘stated and
dated’. Then we subsequently use these
‘journals’ to log God’s
eventual response. Looking back occasionally over past
prayers is necessary if we are to fully understand what God has done in
to our requests. This is all the more important when starting out as a
beginner on the road to faith.
importantly too, we must also look closely for unexpected or alternative
answers to our prayers. These may only become noticeable through the
passing of time, if we do actually follow up on prayers. We come to more easily
realise why prayers have been answered in unexpected ways as we
mature in our thinking and knowledge over time. Again, this has nothing to do with
wishful thinking, or desperately trying to explain away unanswered
is also important, once again as in
any relationship, to offer thanks
God when requests are answered.
3.5 Responding to
Let’s now examine reasons for prayers
going unanswered for lengthy periods, and how to respond.
Firstly, be aware that God
most definitely knows the best time to answer prayers. So it may be the
case that a prayer has not been answered because the time is
A major piece of advice is: when things
just not working out on an issue
that is ‘big time’ in our lives, despite our continued prayers
and waiting in vain, then it
is appropriate to accept that in regard to those prayers a simple
answer is just not possible. Many of these
issues revolve around expecting God to change someone else for
better. Importantly, he cannot be expected to overrule anybody’s
free will and alter their judgement, behaviour or
attitudes etc, as such. They must learn lessons for
themselves and thereby want to change first. Of course, as already
explained, God will attempt to highlight the error of their ways to
where prayer is just not working, what we need to do is to sacrifice
our concerns, as it were, and hand over the whole issue to the Lord in
faith and trust. At ‘the
end of the day’, there is no value in stressing ourselves
unduly over any issue.
Sure, what I am
talking about here is a ‘place’ of deep faith and
also accepting just what
power we all have at our disposal as a result. Again, I am
talking about ‘trusting
in God’ (explained under Heading 5 in this article). If you can get your mind
to this place, and just let go, then God will
truly bring about the best possible overall option for all concerned.
Essentially, what is called for here is faith and
patience. Remember though that this does not mean everyone is going to get everything they want.
I will go out on a limb and state that when you
actually do look back on the situation ‘after
the dust has settled’, you will know that you have not
been let down by our loving
God. I won’t say reaching this level of faith when praying
This prayer of faith and trust
also relates to the minor
heading, “A Helping Hand”
in the previous section of this article.
Although it may feel risky to just leave these things up to God
rather than ask for (or expect) specific outcomes, God is obviously
in a position where he knows better than us what is best for
all concerned in the long run.
3.6 Mature prayer
As our relationship with
God develops, and its intimacy deepens, it becomes easier to move into
advanced prayer. I
will say that the
this happens, the better,
faith is an outcome. And this relates directly to other areas of
life and its success (as I have already mentioned). Indeed, this prayer
driven growth in faith also positively impacts our complete faith
power of prayer is definitely all the more
obvious in the lives of those who are willing to spend more time in the
presence of God. Do not forget that Bible or attending church either! Reading the Gospels
in particular will lead to a much better understanding of how gracious
and loving our God really is. Not the least being how he became human,
to serve us rather than be revered, then finally to die for us on the cross ... all out
of love! Again I write that secular historical records indicate that Jesus lived and died as the Bible explains.
When you think the time is right, find out how to commit to Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. If you are a beginner Christian, then it might
take time to feel comfortable coming to that position. Don’t
worry, if so, because we have a loving God who will always listen to us as we
grow in faith and commitment. But when it comes time, and you
know God is nudging
you to grow closer, do it and you will benefit in many ways I can
assure you. For a deeper understanding, read the Lead Article of this
section, “Believing in God”.
The last three sections of that article are particularly applicable.
Fundamentally, it is about contentedness with life itself and personal
Now mature prayer includes both praying for the needs of others and
I am saying here is there is nothing wrong with praying to get things
for ourselves but
bear in mind that prayer was never intended to be totally self oriented.
Praying out of concern for the plight of others, for example, ensures
one’s mind is
outward looking and not overly self-indulgent. Such behaviour is
expectation of Christianity. Praying for those less fortunate than
is one ‘sure-fired’ way to place our own problems in
There is just so much satisfaction available to us by
bringing positive changes, through solid prayer sessions, to all sorts
of life issues faced by others. Remember to always let those people,
who you are praying for, know what you are doing for them if at all
it is right to just give time to the Lord
in prayer, because no relationship should ever be based solely on
receiving; expecting all favours to come our way. Although he regularly
demonstrates his love for us
through his gifts in our lives, God definitely
desires a two-way
relationship with each of us.
That said, the idea
of devotion, adoration or worship for anything outside
ourselves really is a bit foreign to many of us these days. If we
believe the hype we are offered, we are a special and lucky
species: potentially in control of our own boundless destinies. And sure there can be periods of success,
fulfilment and happiness in our lives without God. But ah, life has a habit of eventually
‘biting us on the bottom’; proving
to us in no uncertain terms just how vulnerable we are to misfortune,
pain and suffering! I remind you that it is indeed a great idea to pay
homage to our God, the best one to provide support as we pass through
the potential ‘minefield’ that awaits us in life (please see Heading 5.4).
way to look at prayers
adoration and worship is to recognise that they provide us
genuine sense of our real, not imagined,‘specialness’ in being able
to have a one-on-one
the ‘Being’ (the great
“I AM”) who enables
the universe’s every moment of existence. (For more on “I
see, “So, what is God?”)
Christianity has an added complexity in its model of God – that
is the Holy
Trinity. The Trinity adds a further dimension, created out
of God’s love for us, to advanced prayer. Again,
please see the articles, “Christianity
and “The Holy Trinity”. Do not let the title, the Holy
Trinity, confuse you
though. Christians believe in only one God! Yes, I do keep writing that, don’t I?
Emotions play a big part in these mature
prayers, just as our love towards our parents is, or should be,
involved in our
communication with them.
we must also remember that we humans on the whole are often just too
in matters that the Bible refers to as “worldliness”.
And although not
necessarily evil, an over interest in worldly matters can eliminate the
chance to focus on spirituality. Attending to the
life can soak up our lives completely. Modern communication methods
such as texting and emailing can be bad enough, but what about the time
drain of ever developing forms of
social media such as Facebook and Twitter adding to the dilemma? Again,
there is nothing wrong with these options of digital contact with
friends and family, but there has to be a balance in life and faith.
Yes, mature prayer does require self
discipline, but the rewards are waiting. Dedicated Christians always
have, and still do, regularly put time aside to just spend with God.
Substantial two-way conversations with God on our life issues
can occur during these deep sessions. The next sub section discusses “Listening to God”.
personally find that just enjoying God’s company for a while, during most days,
inevitably provides personal revitalisation and a real sense of peace in my life. And I do literally ‘feel the love’ during those sessions ... another incentive for mature prayer!
I know praying regularly does not necessarily come easy to most of
does take discipline, time set aside etc, and we do have to continually
work at it. Prayer life is no different to anything else
we would like to succeed at. It is just that not much else can lead
to improved contentment with, and direction in, life like prayer can.
Remember, asking God for help in developing
habits will prove very useful. Also, I repeat to have a look at “Walk in Trust” later in this article. It explains how to gradually deepen our sense of trust in
the Lord; which in turn can eventually make his presence become virtually concrete
within our everyday lives. This is true for me of course, and I have been told by other committed Christians that it certainly is for them too.
LISTENING TO GOD
I am not so na´ve as to not know
that this may seem suspect to you (that is, God speaks), especially if
have not even had exposure to close family or friends, possessing
with you, who can vouch for the fact. But, it certainly happens!
say firstly, that God makes a regular point of speaking to individuals
through other gifted individuals, within the Born Again/ Charismatic
movement in the Church (you might have to trust me on it at this
point). Rather repetitively, I state that this stuff is explained under Heading 4 in the article “God within the Church”.
But for all that, I am not talking about what goes on in ‘the movement’ here. Rather, I am discussing how
God really can speak to anyone of us, at any time, under any
circumstances ... if he wishes to do so.
Actually, only God knows how the ancient
tribes of Israel came to be the first people to recognise his voice, and why he
chose them to
make it clear
that he did speak.
God’s voice is not normally heard
through our ears under these circumstances. He is usually heard within our minds. God’s
words are one-on-one
and personal. I accept through faith that he is intimately involved with every human life, and is capable of listening
and talking to every one of us at any given moment. Consider the logistics
it is not a common experience, even as a Christian, to receive messages
in this way from God during life. So when it does happen, it is extremely faith
building to recognise his
voice; know that we are actually being addressed by him.
I suppose the obvious question for
the doubter is, “How can we know it is God speaking and not our
own thoughts?” In fact, there is no doubt that many personal
thoughts of Christians are attributed to messages
It can be very handy to think that we have God on side, to justify our
agendas. There have been some high powered examples of this over past
So how can we know that God is the
source of the message in our minds that we attribute to him? There are
potentially two other sources – our own brain functions
and Satan. As far as Christians are
concerned, one sure fired way
of knowing that it isn’t
God speaking is if the
telling us to do something which conflicts with Biblical truths.
requires us to be familiar with the Bible. Yet, a sense of common
‘right and wrong’ will go a long way to helping us here. And we hear of
some drastic examples,
don’t we? Religious wars and hatred have been with us for
centuries. Men and
women leave their families to form relationships with new more
partners. These things happen, and the perpetrators often tell us they
done it at God’s direction. I say, “Get a grip!”
These sorts of messages may not come
from their own thoughts, but they certainly
don’t come from God either.
I ask again, how do you know
whether it is God talking to you? From my own experience, the sound of
God’s voice is
somehow clearer, or crisper, than the ‘sound’ of my own
thoughts. Some other Christians, who I have asked, think of the
experience as more a strong sense of ‘intuiting’ a message from him.
His voice is explained as an ‘impression’, a very real one, to still other folks.
might explain the sensation, it is true to say
that recognition of
voice grows through personal experience.
Acting on his directions
There are certainly times too when I am
much more confident that it is God speaking to me than others. His ‘voice’
loud when he is really serious about something, in effect
like a crystal clear
my head. I have found that it is not a good idea to ignore the
They are, to my experience, normally directions from God to do
important for other people, or not
something that will adversely affect them. On the occasions that
I ignored his louder messages I came to regret letting down
As a practising Christian, it is through our acting on his directions, or not acting upon them, that the proof of the message’s source actually occurs. We’ll
firstly sense that the directive seems an important thing to act upon.
And we will subsequently see the obvious results of our
actions. They are standouts!
5. WALK IN TRUST
Once we start to see how life
experiences and faith
fit together, the genuine wonder of it (and its
starts to become apparent. Remember though, the more we use faith, the
more of it we get. That is, the more
we put our growing faith to work, the
greater will be the results.
in mind, as I have already indicated, that it is ok to
have occasional doubts along the way.
This is to be accepted as healthy self questioning. If faith is to
endure, we must go into it with our minds open. As already stated, the
article, “How to deal with doubts” has been dedicated to the subject.
It is true also that the
closer that we walk with God (i.e. engage with him), based on sound Biblical knowledge and following his will, the more definite the evidence of his presence will be. By
this I mean: trying hard to be obedient to our Lord; looking for his guidance there in life and
making decisions accordingly; strengthening our relationship with him
through maturing prayer; involving him fully in all areas of
life through prayer and ‘trust’; regularly attending church services; reading the
Honestly, from my decades of experience, God’s
existence; his presence in our lives, can become virtually concrete
when following those steps above. And I have taken the time to discuss
the subject with other Christians. Those who stated to me that they had
followed a similar faith journey to me, strongly agreed with my
judgement on it. That is, it all works for them too. Look ... the
promises are there in the Bible! That book proves itself when put to
the test, I can assure you.
5.1 Drawing close to him
us have a look at how we can actually draw closer to the Lord: through
‘obedience’ and developing our trusting relationship with him. We are in fact ‘shifting up a gear’ in our faith journey by doing so.
With regards to obedience as raised above, I
mean trying hard to live ... well ... a life based on the word of God (the Bible) as it applies to us. Essentially, that means trying to live the kind of life that God desires of us.
Speaking from experience, a life lived in this manner has a number of benefits for us: it
makes us feel more comfortable in our relationship with God; it
increases his love and gratitude towards us; it creates a sense of
contentedness and self satisfaction in us. Overall, we just become
closer to him, and all that flows from that, as a result. From the Bible’s New Testament (the Jesus bits) as Jesus himself advised:
Whoever has my commands and obeys them,
he is the one who loves me.
He who loves me will be loved by my Father,
and I too will love him and show myself to him.
God demonstrates his love for us, and his gratitude for our obedience, in ways that
further reveals his presence in our lives; his reality. Also from the New Testament:
Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us,
we have confidence before God,
and receive from him anything we ask,
because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
[1 John 3:21-22]
And so in many ways we should individually work at our relationships with God, as both evidence of his presence and proof of his love for us
grows steadily. At this stage of my own relationship I know that he
me and I can say that I love him back. Again I remind you the reader
about the way my brain is wired. I need evidence to accept anything as
real. And as a result, if that love of God is as real as it is for me,
then I guess anyone else who desires it can reach the same position.
Of course, remember to try to set aside time to spend with the Lord when possible, particularly in ‘mature prayer’
as explained under Heading 3.6. I am pretty good at it these days, but
it did not come easily for me. But please try for yourself because it
does, as I discovered, enable faster growth of that
all important relationship.
am not saying that entering this type of trusting relationship with God
is effortless either. It is easier to do so when we have got ourselves to a position
where we have begun to actually believe in him at least; to recognise him there
within our ‘fellowship of faith’ (our chosen church) and our everyday lives. When we are at this stage of
faith and belief, then it is time to try moving even closer to him in trust.
I advised earlier, when explaining how to start a relationship with him, that we need to accept through ‘faith’ that God really is
there. At this point of the relationship, i.e. moving even closer to
him in trust, we are better served by accentuating that sense of
having him with us. It is explained in the Bible just how close his
presence actually is:
For in him we live and move and have our being.
[Acts 17:28 extract]
His presence as such is absolute. My advice is to grasp that description: through faith to feel him there.
I can certainly say that my belief of God’s
presence in my life, and the love that I have for him, has been
substantially empowered through my use of ‘trust’. In
essence a deep trusting relationship on our part opens the door for God
to apply all of his potential loving care to us. That again does not mean bad
stuff will not happen to us or our loved ones though.
What I actually mean is God will lead us to our full potential; make
lives more complete and contented. And
yet again this has no bearing on
gaining financial wealth or the like.
as Christians we look towards Jesus, letting the Holy Spirit
in that. Our aim is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. Sounds
like a huge sacrifice? Well, it is not. It is there that holiness and
peace enters our lives. Big time!
5.2 Testing the waters
So, if we are to genuinely ‘walk in trust’
with God, where and how should we start? Well, I suggest you just begin to open
yourself for short periods at first. Accept through faith that he wants to engage with
you in your day; ready to provide his loving care. Yet again, I will be surprised if you do not find that a day, or even hours, spent deliberately ‘walking with God’ – completely opening yourself in trust to his presence
in your life – will roll along much more smoothly and productively than
normal. Sometimes, as I have often seen it, the outcome may actually be quite profound, but that
depends on what you are trying to achieve in your endeavours.
Remember again, this is not just all about you! It is not
about selfishness or laziness either. In that day you might work on a home
project for your family or a
challenging job at work; help out a neighbour, school friend, co-worker,
relative or even a stranger ... whatever. If you put in the effort, open and
relax yourself to
God’s presence as you perform your obligations, then he will assist. Don’t forget to let other people know that God deserves some credit for success when it happens though.
Do not worry, during this process of ‘testing the waters’, if
something doesn’t go as originally planned by you: chat with him, feel positive in his power, calmly let
events unfold in the way that they do again in complete trust. From the Bible’s Old Testament:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
case, you will normally
find that any change, in contrast to your actual expectations, was always going to lead to the best outcome
for overall success. I can
definitely say he wants to help. So be ready, as totally open to him as
you can be, and relaxed about events as they unfold. And I mean really relax, in total trust. In other words, be totally confident in his desire and ability to assist you. It will happen for you ... I am almost certain!
and lean not on your own understanding.
5.3 Trusting him with your life
As we move to this level of faith, trusting him with our life's direction, we finally shift into top gear with our faith. It is here, through that trust, we actually find ‘ourselves’ ... the person that God intends
us to be! I cannot put it any clearer: we put our complete faith in him, and follow his guidance in
all the big aspects of our lives, knowing that he will offer support to us as we do so.
I have already used the Bible
verse below in this article, under the Heading 2.5, “A Helping Hand”. The verse applies equally here. It clearly indicates that he wants to be involved in all areas of our lives AND he will assist if he is invited in!
In all your ways acknowledge him,
will make your paths straight.
What I am meaning here is that ‘providence’, as
explained in “A Helping Hand”, can be released by God within our lives
on a daily, weekly, monthly or even whole of life basis. If you can
hold yourself in faith’s ‘top gear’, his loving presence will become obvious. In effect, the closer the relationship we have with him, the
more that we trust him in his guidance, the harder we try to live the
life he desires of us, then the stronger the
results will be that flow from his care towards us.
we move along in this way, our relationship with him ever strengthens:
our faith becomes more effective; our love towards him grows even further. And again
assists us in life ever more lovingly as a result. He become so very, very real; concrete there within our lives.
I write this with the utmost confidence that this is absolutely what to
expect if you can get to this level of faith and then apply it to your
life. And at this stage in the writing of this article I make no apologies about
the acceptability of what I am expressing. Yes, it is that real!
I emphasise it is not just about you. If you sense on any day or in any
location that he wants you to assist or support someone else – maybe who
even necessarily feel close to – go with it; do what you feel you should
to help them.
benefits to us of helping others, for the Lord, when we know they need it, should not be
underestimated. Knowing you are serving God in this way adds a real
sense of purpose and satisfaction to your being here ... a quality of life that is quite unexpected. It does not come naturally to all of us to help others, but just go with it when you think you are ‘called’ to it!
The Bible also makes it clear that
our own generosity, or lack of selfishness, towards our fellow human
relates to what God will give us. From the Christian New Testament:
Give and it will be given to you.
measure, pressed down,
together and running over,
poured into your lap.
measure you use,
be measured to you.
for example, the more we help
others in need or
donate to charities and the Church,
the more generous God will be to us in return. And that is
true, as I
have experienced. Some of God’s greatest generosity in my life
after I had given time or money that I could not really afford at the
time. Of course I am not saying that we should enter into giving to
others with the prime intention of receiving more in return. It is just
that it often turns out to be the case.
have evaluated and re-evaluated the impact of taking this approach of trust over
the years. It works! As I have highlighted already, the best results for you and all others
be the outcome if you do deliberately and confidently trust him in this
way. (Remember too, to try to live the sort of life that he desires of
us all.) Again, I advise you to chat away to him freely and often as you progress. And yet again, I
say, he will hear you! From my knowledge and experience, he will react with downright loving care within your day-to-day life.
please remember what I have regularly advised in this article, he makes no promises that
you will never suffer
emotionally or physically in life. Everyone suffers at some point in
life. God does not make bad things happen to us of course, but rather
allows the dice to roll. ‘Whatever happens, happens’. Even so, he will be there to guide and support
you during those times. I discuss these issues under the next heading in this article.
course we should involve him in the big issues of life. Even more so, I
say! I mean the direction of our eduction, jobs/ careers, long term personal
relationships, parenting, church ministries etc.
Now it may be boring for you to read this, but the best example I can think of is again related to my career. It was certainly a
vital part of my walk with God after turning to Christianity. I came to
recognise him there guiding me,
as in other important areas of my life.
Without doubt, he is
interested in our jobs, just as he is interested in all other facets of
our lives. Out of his love for us, he actually wants to be involved.
Firstly though, bear with me. I feel it necessary to explain God’s expectations with regards to our jobs. The Bible’s
New Testament (e.g. Colossians 3:23), explains that we are expected to
do our best within our employment. In short, we should do what we are
paid to do, and to the best of our ability. I fully realise that we do
not all have jobs that we enjoy, but we are expected to still do our
best. There can be satisfaction in that alone, as I well know from boring jobs that I have held, if we
achieve our best when we know that God wants it of us! It pleases him.
said that, we have all been formed with our own particular abilities, often
driven by our genetics. We are basically ‘who we are’. Now God knows exactly what
we are capable of, and can at least assist us with his guidance into
I can say with confidence that God eventually led me from a career direction of safe and secure boredom with
satisfaction to a path where my abilities were
value and I gained high job satisfaction. I accepted some hard
leadings as I went though. I had to, for example, accept positions of higher responsibility yet less pay,
other ‘cushier’ job options available to me. My confidence in
God’s guidance within my career, and my trust in him, gradually grew stronger as I
continued to put faith to the test in that area of my life. Without doubt I was rewarded by him for doing so.
the best way forward in my job, that would deliver positive outcomes
for my public/ civil service organisation and its often vulnerable clients, also became
much more obvious under his
leadings. And of course I specifically prayed for guidance on occasions. As my career
progressed further I came to completely accept that
I could genuinely count on his assistance, i.e. I trusted him implicitly.
Remember that my work life was coupled with my church life, and as
a Christian within the Born Again/ Charismatic movement at that time, I had seen some pretty wild stuff proving that God
was present there in the Church. This also included personal guidance from God (‘words’
spoken through a gifted Bishop and others) in
that environment. Again ... I understand how far fetched that may also
seem, but please have a look under Heading 4 in the article, “Finding God within the Church” to see what I mean.
Bear in mind too that Christian-based ethics also played a role in my work
decisions. All of us in the workplace must concentrate on the
needs of our fellow workers and our clients/ customers, and follow God’s guidance in this regard when performing our responsibilities. It is expected by him. Again this relates to following God's will.
And let me make it totally clear that I am certainly not trying to present myself as
special. I know that I am not. Rather I am hoping to
demonstrate to you how God can lead an ordinary person to truly exceed what they assume is their
human potential. With regards to career
choices, I emphasise that it does not
matter what our job might be, as long as it adds some value to the
God will assist in it.
Eventually, all aspects of our life journey can
profoundly fall into place. We can become confident whether we
are on the
‘right track’ in life or
words, our lives are given purpose. We will
as examples become ‘enabled’ through our natural gifts and skills to help others effectively
beyond our normal
capacity, and become productive/ useful members of the community. We
also be led towards a well rounded life: no obsessions; a contented
God, family, church life, study, work, friends, helping others and just plain
to the best of
But bear in mind too that the pace that this all happens is
between each of us and God. We each take the steps we feel are required
of us. Deep faith and its Biblically led commitments; its
take us beyond merely believing in God. Past that stage.
Inevitably, as well as being ‘the Boss’, God can come to be our
constant companion, confidante, helper, counsellor and, yes, the
I also add that occasional graphic
evidence of God’s presence, after decades in my own walk
with him, still
comes as a surprise to me. The ‘magic’ of it all never
need end in
this life, I can assure you!
5.4 Using trust and hope in difficult times
the majority of us, I believe, a life lived in faith with great trust in God
will generally deliver the contentment that is expected of it. But please
bear in mind, as I have often advised, this does not mean that bad stuff will never happen to us,
or our loved ones. I speak from my own experience here.
fully realise that some readers will come to this article during
their own difficult times: suffering from illness and pain (physical or
psychological), having lost loved ones through death or divorce, unable
to end self destructive addictions and bad habits etc. If so, please
When life’s turns leaves you there
in that place ... even then ... there are ways to recognise God loving you all the more; ready to reveal himself to you as
That Christian concept of ‘hope’ (e.g. Romans
is closely related to both ‘trust’ and ‘faith’.
May the God of hope fill you with all
joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And it is available to us if, or more
likely when, we find ourselves in one of those inevitable holes; or
potential abysses in life.
as far as Christianity is concerned, doesn’t relate to our everyday use
of the word, i.e. ‘wishing’ something will happen without knowing whether
it actually will or not. Christian hope when applied, by comparison, relates to our confidence that the God who
loves us will enable us, through his grace,
to traverse that ‘hole’ and
go beyond it. All we need do is to hope (trust through our faith) that
he will enable us to overcome. We simply place our situation completely in his
hands with utter trust. No matter what our difficult circumstances in
be, God will empower us to get through them if we rely on him in this
way. We will be given the means
to do it!
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
Now if the difficult position you are in is not of your making, i.e. random life circumstances have placed you there, and you are already a committed Christian, then
the Lord will often just assist you out of his love for you. That is,
there is usually no need even to ask! The faith and trust, that equals
hope, is already yours. And he responds to that alone. And I have
experienced that, and witnessed it occuring to other Christians, many
times over. That is, very solid examples of it!
the other hand, If you are ready to commit yourself to the
Lord, and you find yourself there in one of those positions of extreme difficulty, then in
hope just ask for his help through prayer. Then it should come.
If the ‘hole’ that you are in is
of your own making, maybe from poor choices in life, e.g. addictions or
bad habits, and you know you do want to change your ways, then pray.
And pray with hope. And pray often!
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
I can do everything through him
who gives me strength.
am not saying
that the whole issue, in all the above circumstances, will be swept
aside in all
this. I just mean that he will help you; enable you to pass though your
ordeal. And if you are in a really bad place initially, then his
empowering you through it, will be dramatic enough to be recognised by
and the way I knew God assists us through its
use, with a Christian friend. She is an ordained clergy woman. Agreeing
with my understanding, she jogged my memory as to a specific tool that
the Lord can use there. Not surprisingly, you might think, it is ‘people’.
I highlighted earlier how God uses people to pass on advice to us when we need
some important guidance in life (see Heading 2.3 in this
article). Well, in this area of hope, God can if need be ... empower ... individuals to assist other individuals ‘doing it tough’.
And when I look back through my own memories, I do know that the
right people, with the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude, often seem to
turn up at the exact time when they are most needed by us believers. In the examples
that spring to my mind, the timing of arrival and personal skills on
hand, were ‘ballistic’ at times. I knew that God had to have orchestrated the instances; had to be behind them. The odd example was related to my life, but I have also witnessed more
examples with Christians during my lay ministry in a hospital
we already have our faith, or we can gain it – through the means
highlighted in this article: attending church, reading the Bible,
maturing in our prayer life, walking with him in trust – it is much
easier to utilise the power of hope. If we do so, i.e. use this mix of faith
and trust, then hope is a tool that definitely will pass the test of time. In
effect God will shine through, evident there, lifting us through our
ordeal. We just ‘rest’ on him, knowing he will help!
We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest
upon us, O Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.
one looks back over the time in question, whether it has ended yet or
not, the very ability to persevere with or readily stand up to the circumstances
will make his loving presence clear to you. You will know that you
could not have endured it, as well as you did, without him. This fact
will stand out. Of course, until you are there to see it for yourself, you can’t fully know what I mean. But be prepared to catch sight of hope in action. I am pretty sure you’ll get the chance, if you haven’t as yet.
please read the article, “Suffering and Evil” for a bit more
information on the subject. I also recommend that you read “The
Beatitudes” as presented in the Bible’s New Testament [Matthew 5:1-11].
Even Jesus’ disciples suffered on their paths after his death on the cross, and Jesus prepared them for it – offering them ‘hope’.
FAITH AND THE CHURCH
I have recommended in other articles on this website
that the best place to commence ‘building faith‘ is
actually within a ‘community of faith’; a church. Granted,
as I have already indicated, we can be believers and not go to
church and still live a life of faith. But I must say in all
honesty, because I tried it myself, that we miss out on
too much when taking that direction. I do not say this lightly. I mean I tried going it alone for several years at least.
Please take the time to read the article, “God within the Church”, included in the Section Contents to the top left of this web page.
In all seriousness then, this
particular article (God within our lives) is definitely not
intended by me to be a self help method that can be used in isolation
people – you know,
just a ‘you and
God’ sort of thing. God did not intend it that way, at least
not in the long
term. He clearly intends
people do congregate together in his presence. There are many verses in
the Bible which point to that fact. Some examples are: Acts 2:42-47,
Acts 9:31-32, Ephesians 4:12, Colossians 3:16 and Hebrews 10:25.
In the context of this article, and its focus on building belief, attending church
can provide us with a better theoretical understanding of God and
his loving relationship
with us, that can be built upon for practical use in everyday
life. The article, “God within the Church” in
turn refers to this particular one, in that
faith should not be 'left at the door' when leaving
But bear in mind that there is far more available in church than just 'theory', as mentioned above. The “God within the Church” article explains
how to go about choosing a church for fellowship. It describes
the types of belief and faith building events that occur in the various
types of churches. These
events can indeed be quite powerful, depending upon the area of the
greater Church in which we choose
to have fellowship. Do not underestimate
the possibilities available there.
As I have often explained in this article, some of the most
profound proof of God’s presence on this planet of ours is actually evident in the
particularly within the “Born Again/ Charismatic” movement.
happens there. Look, I did not have a clue about what went on there
until I experienced it for myself. It rattled my senses and tested my
analytical mind to its limits. You wait!
Although I have spent quite some time in so called Born Again or Charismatic
congregations, and at times had ‘my socks knocked off’
by what I experienced and witnessed, I have had
for many more years with churches outside ‘the movement’. So I am not
to unduly influence people, either way, as to which churches are best.
Often our individual personalities are more suited to one type of
church or another as well. I will say however that, although
no means mandatory, a bit of time spent within the Born Again/ Charismatic
can do a
lot to assist in the development of anybody’s belief and faith.
importantly, we need to be baptised; become true members of the Church, and accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour,
as soon as we can feel comfortable with that –
once we have come to see that something genuine and life
changing is being offered to us. And as I have written
Church is “the fellowship that nurtures and sustains
critical point in this article is that God does
reveal himself to us
within our lives, proving his existence there, by providing his loving
care to each of us.
Even atheists receive it to some extent (through his guidance for
example). Of course they would not acknowledge that, because they are
simply not open to its possibility. And when we do make the choice of
engaging him within our lives, and even more so as our relationship
with him matures, then the proof grows exponentially.
Yes, you can
write off the odd example of what appears to be his guidance in your life. And you
can disregard the success of a prayer that seemed to be answered, in isolation, against
the odds present. But by the time you have reached the stage of having
a close, trusting relationship with the Lord (including trying to follow his
will, going to church and reading the Bible) there should be so much
evidence piling up against incredible odds. I am quietly
confident that you will find him there in your life if you put the
Bible-based guidance, within this article, to the test.
Then there is
the potential evidence available in the Church.
Even the most mild
mannered fellowship of faith will offer you more opportunities to
recognise his presence. And, the Charismatic movement? Well ... are you
ready? Yes, try it all for yourself and you too can hold ‘iron clad’
belief and faith, just as I do.
This particular section’s Lead Article, “Believing in God”
article you are now reading and “God within the Church” together to provide
the best outcomes available to us: the
ability to recognise God’s presence with clarity and
to realise an undreamt of ‘freedom’
within our lives.
I have tried to present the simple basis
of Christianity in the final section of this website. The Lead Article
for that section, that I have mentioned many times, is titled, “Christianity
Sound, open minded analysis of Christianity, through reading the
Christian Bible, will also lead anybody to recognise that Christianity
is indeed very believable
as a religion.
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