Have you ever had your teenager repeat back to you what they think you said? Trust me, it can be really interesting. More than once my two kids have thought they were following my orders, doing me a favor by obeying my requests or answering the correct question when in fact that hadn’t heard me correctly at all. Therefore, when we entered into some sort of conversation about what I had said and what they thought about it, we would start off on the wrong foot, needing to clear up several misconceptions right from the get-go.
On more than one occasion I’ve played that teenager’s role to my Father in heaven. I’ve asked Him for what I thought I’d heard Him promise only to be discouraged by His lack of response. Then it would turn out that I had mistaken His words or even assumed He had said something to me that He’d never really said. I’ve taken His promises out of context, misconstrued His meanings, and thought I “read somewhere” that He’d said thus and thus. Wrong.
That’s why it’s such a good idea to stick with God’s actual words when we pray, when we communicate with God and ask Him to work in our lives. He’s told us that He upholds His Word; He honors it always and with integrity. And He invites us to pray according to it with 100% success.
In Nehemiah 1:8, Nehemiah prays to God, “Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses…” and he goes on to remind God what He said to Moses with integrity and honor. And you better believe that God honored Nehemiah’s humble request based accurately on His Word and answered his prayer.
So when we’re asking God to work on our behalf it behooves us to remind Him what He said. First of all, of course, we have to make sure of what He actually did say. We have to get into the Bible, find the promise we’re thinking of, check its context and make sure the promise applies to us and not just one certain person in history, and humbly bring those divinely spoken words before the Father who loves us so. He’s not offended when we remind Him of His promises and precepts; He’s thrilled. He wants us to ask Him to do what He has already said He will do. When we bring His words before Him and ask Him to see them through, we express our faith in Him to do what He has said He will do and His ability to do the same.
So if you’re floundering for how to ask God for what you need today, begin by spending time in His Word. Here are a few God-sized promises to check out if you’re wondering exactly where to begin:
- Luke 11:28
- Psalm 68:6
- John 8:32
- 2 Corinthians 12:9
What “words of God” have you prayed back to Him recently? I’d love to know.