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Are You Open To Hear God

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks
The Truth Network Radio
June 15, 2024 12:00 pm

Are You Open To Hear God

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks

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June 15, 2024 12:00 pm

In this episode of Encouraging Prayer, James Banks and Robby Dilmore, discuss being open to hearing what God has to say.

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Hi, this is Roy Jones with ManTalk Radio Podcast.

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We get started today. I wanted to tell you that James has a new website and it's really awesome. It has a link to this broadcast and podcast. In case you've ever missed part of these episodes, you can go back and listen to those of the podcast and all of his books and videos from recent interviews and a fresh version of the Prodigal Prayer Wall, which is absolutely amazing if you've never seen that. So be sure to check it out at James Banks.

dot org. And if you sign up for his email list, you'll receive a free electronic copy of his excellent book, The Lost Art of Praying Together. So visit him, won't you?

James Banks dot org. So now, James, you were telling me you got a text message from a friend this week that really made you stop and think. So tell our listeners. All right, well, my friend Scott sent me a picture of a sign and it looked like it was just done with a chalk on blackboard, you know, but it said, it's hard to hear God's voice when you've already decided what you want him to say. And I thought, oh, man, that really is outstanding because haven't we all done that? I resemble that remark. Like I really want, you know, something to happen and I'm praying and praying about it. It's almost like I get myself so worked up that I start thinking, well, God has to agree with me on this one, of course. With me on this.

I mean, why wouldn't he? Right. I know. Right.

Yeah. I mean, and you have to wonder how many times do we do this? Do we work ourselves up like that? We I mean, we could look at those situations where we're praying for something big, like the healing of someone we love who is sick. And and admittedly, those are difficult situations. But just think about the everyday stuff.

You know, we get so busy running our own lives. And there's a book that wasn't a very good book called Are You Running With Me, Jesus? I think the real question needs to be, am I walking with him? Am I waiting with him? Am I learning to rest in him? In other words, am I following him? Oh, wow. Yeah. Because, you know, ultimately the way to peace, you know, I think about is what he said in Luke six.

Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? And then he goes on to tell the parable of the house, you know, build on the house and on the sand. Excuse me, on the rock and on the sand.

Yeah. And and in the end, the one on the sand comes crashing down and he says, and great was the fall. And that just reminds me of how we set ourselves up for heartache when we don't seek him out. But the good news in all of this is that if we do seek him out, he'll help us want what he wants.

And that's such a good thing. So let's talk about not just how to listen to him, but also about where our hearts are when we do. I think a place, a great place for us to start with this is to pray something like, Jesus, help me to want what you want.

Fill me up with so much of your love and your hope and your spirit that I can't think of living any other way. Oh, I like that because that's really at the heart of whether we listen or not. Is he our friend? Are we his friend?

You know, what kind of friend am I to Jesus? Do I want to please him? Do I think about the things that matter to him? And am I making an effort, you know, there or is it all about me? Oh yeah, yeah.

I mean, can we talk? You know, because we need to be intentional about this. And we're not saying that God isn't going to love us if we don't always get this right, because again, it's all by grace, and he loves us even when we mess up. But I don't know about you, but sometimes I struggle with making it all about me, you know, about what I want. And I need, I think the work of the Spirit in my own heart and life is helping me make it more about him. And actually, the more I do that, the freer I am, the happier I am.

Oh yeah. And I think if we're honest, we, you know, could all go there. So if this starts with praying, help me want you what you want, you know, where do we go from there? Well, you know, I think we need to make sure that we're, of course, what we're asking for doesn't go against his word, his revealed truth in the Bible. And we have to acknowledge that sometimes God isn't going to tell us something different from what he's already told us there.

So no wonder we're not hearing, you know, from him. You know, if I were going to say, I want to leave my wife for another woman, then I don't have to ask God if I should do that, because he's already made it pretty clear that I shouldn't. And sometimes we don't hear his voice for this very reason. But let's take this in a more positive direction. Do you ever think about what we gain by being open to God?

What do you mean? Well, here we are in this love relationship with the creator of everything, right, who loves us so much that he came and lived and died and gave himself for us and rose from the dead and everything is at his feet. And he left us his spirit so that he and the Father can make their home with us even here, even now. So the question is, am I open to that? Am I facing the day with this sense of anticipation, to paraphrase Eugene Peterson in the message, you know, kind of an outlook that says, what do you want to do today, Papa? Where do you want to go? What do you want to show me? What do you want me to do for you? Oh, I like that, you know, because then the possibilities are endless.

Yeah, that's just it. You know, we love and serve a very big, very good God. And if we make it about love with him first, then, you know, following and serving come along naturally.

And this is just so at the heart of what it means to have a childlike faith. You know, we don't want to lose that sense of adventure. We want to keep going. You know, we want to be like Caleb who's, you know, way up in years and says, you know, there's still more land for me to conquer. Because, you know, when we're open to his spirit and the things he alone can do, oh, that's beautiful. You know, there's nothing more fulfilling. We never want to lose that because when we do, it's like life loses its flavor.

What are we living for if we're not looking forward to something that's always going to get better? That's so true. And I think we don't, do we? I mean, we can spend time looking back at the past or getting so wrapped up in the present, so busy and distracted that God can seem like an afterthought. And he is so much more than that. You're so right. You're so right. But when we stay open, you know, what does 1 Corinthians 2, 9 say? Eyes not seen, nor ear heard, nor mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.

Absolutely is. I had a granddaughter yesterday, and so it does just keep getting better. So let's pray along those lines. Jesus, thank you. Thank you so much for life.

And a chance to enjoy it through enjoying you. Lord, we do hope that this would whet our appetite to stay open to what you want. And Lord, help us to seek you with an open heart, knowing that you really know what's best. And we need your advice, so help us to get there. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website,, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-15 14:22:15 / 2024-06-15 14:25:47 / 4

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