I live in Benoni, a suburb just outside of Johannesburg in South Africa. We are in the middle of Spring, with the blossoms already turning into fruit. We are experiencing heatwaves of temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius, it is very early for such temperatures, and we are still waiting for proper rain. We usually have some rain by now, which just cools the air a bit.
Sunday afternoon had signs of heavy rain, but as quickly as the weather came up it disappeared. I went to church on Sunday night and the clouds started building, the winds came up and big drops started to fall as we walked in. The church I attend on Sunday nights are busy with a series on Prayer, the series is called “Praygrance”; deriving from Revelation 8:4 (‘And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand. ‘)… The sweet fragranced smoke of incense that comes from prayer. We had an awesome time in praise and worship, followed by a powerful sermon, the Pastor then asked everyone to stand up and start praying blessing over the person next to us… As we started praying, I could smell the rain, that fresh, watery, dusty smell filled the church, welcoming the Holy Spirit, His presence filled the auditorium as we prayed. That left me with a grin from ear to ear, and a tear in my eye; I just love that smell and God’s timing was perfect.
The last few weeks God have spoken to me about prayer, on more than one occasion, and from different sources. Similar to the above-mentioned church, 2 other South African churches, that I follow online, are also busy with series on prayer… and the same message comes across… “If you want to see change, pray… and pray… and pray… more… and more… and more… keep praying, do not stop.”
I attend a Bible study group every Tuesday night, and “sooo waar as wragtig”, last week’s topic of discussion was prayer, “Praying with Boldness.” (Acts 4:23-31). The uncle that gave the message shared some testimonies on his personal experience of miracles in prayer, we also discussed that prayer is a two-way communication. Many times, when we pray, we say what we want to say and walk away, not giving God the opportunity to respond and answer. God doesn’t always answer straight away, and He also answers in ways we don’t always expect. We need to pray with an expectancy to our prayers being answered, pay attention to what is going on around you, be sensitive to the Holy Spirit because He is sending signals and flags to guide us along the way, very seldom there will be a voice from heaven to give instructions, if ever. After the Bible study, I went home and started praying for things I have been praying for over a long period of time and went “unanswered” for almost a year. I’ve been stuck at a place of “to be, or not to be” in certain aspects of my life. Left, or right? In this time of uncertainty, I got mixed answers. All praise and honor to God, by me being attentive to my prayer, demanding an answer; God answered me the following day. Hallelujah!!!
I am currently unemployed, surrounded by mountains of obstacles, in a valley. I am going for interviews, that seems to be going amazingly well, just to be told a few days later… “Sorry…”. I have ventured into so many business ideas and opportunities in the last year, and everything was met by a closed door. I have money tied up, and it just won’t be released… I was at a point of “which mountain will I choose to conquer first” … giving up is not in my vocabulary, climb, I will… “but God, I don’t want to move outside of your will and plan, please guide me.” The answer I got was not what I wanted to hear, however, because HE SAID SO, I will go, I will follow His voice, that’s what I asked for, for His will, He knows what tomorrow holds, and I want to be in His tomorrow, not mine.
I personally think that we pray with an expectant answer in mind, which make us ignore and reject God’s answer when it appears. Honestly speaking, God gave me this same answer a few months ago, but I rejected it, because “It’s not what I wanted.” Me rejecting the initial answer has put a delay on the process, had I aligned my mindset that time I would most likely have been in a totally different position to where I am now.
I was woken up this morning by that fresh, watery, dusty smell… It was raining outside. I made myself a cup of coffee and sat on the stoep, gazing into distance… “God, you are so, so good to me, thank you for your love.”
The rain stopped and the clouds cleared up. I stay in a complex with the most beautiful gardens and a huge patch of grass in front of my flat. A guy came to mow the lawn a bit later in the morning… “mmmmmmmm…” another smell I love so much; fresh green grass being mowed… I instantly sensed the Holy Spirit’s presence, and a sudden calmness came over me… the words came up… “Can you smell it…? It is here, on the brink… You did well.” The calmness turned into excitement, because I know the God I serve, I know He is the creator of heaven and earth… I know I am His child, and He wants the best for me… I will, because He will… I will, because He did… I will, because He said so…
Pray with me: Heavenly Father, you are the creator of heaven and earth, You are the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega. There is no God like You, You are the one and only living God, the God that brings life to whatever has life. All glory, praise and honor to You. I am privileged to have an open door to Your presence, thanks to our King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, the name above all names. Thank you, Jesus, for clearing the way for me to experience life in abundance, I stand in humbleness and in awe of God’s beauty because of the price You have paid for me.
Holy Spirit, thank you for continuous companionship and friendship, being aware of your comforting presence in and around me gives me peace of mind that I am protected and provided for, and where ever I go you will be with me. Holy Spirit, give me an ear to hear, and heart to receive God’s will for me. Help me to be attentive and sensitive to your voice and signs when I pray in request towards our heavenly Father. Holy Spirit, help me in seeing God’s will as the only way and that I will not reject His call, because I know that God knows what’s best for me, and I will rejoice in every step as I follow His instructions.
I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ… Amen and Amen.