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I consider myself a "beginning" intercessor. People often ask me to pray for them, but what they want me to pray isn't always consistent with what God wants (or has) for them. I want to make sure that I am praying God's will when I intercede. Of course, I know that things that are against God's word are automatically not His will, but for other things it can be a bit harder to sort out His will.
There are times when I know I hit the target because I felt this "thing" (I'm not sure what to call it...weight/power/resonance) on that particular topic. I have come to understand it was a confirmation from God that I was on target with that prayer. But I don't always get this type of indication/confirmation when I pray. So how can I cultivate my spiritual hearing to better understand when God is speaking concerning what I should pray?- Wanting To Pray Only His Will
Dear Wanting To Pray Only His Will
It sounds like you are asking a few different questions. 1. Hearing God's Voice and 2. Following The Holy Spirit's Prompting In Prayer and 3. Praying What They Request Verses Praying What God Wants You To Pray
All of those subject areas are huge areas, and whole books have been written on all three topics. I will try to give you a short/simplified answer and I will also include a few references where you can go to get more information.
Part 1: Hearing God's voice is so big of a subject that I do a whole weekend seminar on it, and I have a whole book out on it. First, I believe that God speaks to all of His children, as per John 10;27, "My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me." The problem is that a lot of times we have to go through a "learning curve" before we are able to recognize God's voice from "not God's voice." A part of that process will involve some trial and error--most of us make at least a few mistakes as we fine-tune our hearing and get better at discerning His voice.
The good news is that God can (and does) communicate with us even when we don't hear His voice clearly. He is very smart and He finds a way to get through to us. He uses things like His written word (the Bible), repetition, divine coincidence, working in our circumstances, opening or closing doors, dreams, impressions and inner conviction. Sometimes God will recall a sermon or a teaching or a conversation to our memory to speak to us. He has many ways to communicate with us when we don't know how to recognize His voice clearly.
Of course, God's first choice is for us to know His voice, so He can speak directly and clearly to us. How does He do that?
Think about how God He created us to experience our world, and how we communicate with each other. It is through the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. When God wants to communicate directly with us, He usually uses one or more of those same senses. When we teach on this subject, we usually break His communication into three areas: Seeing, Hearing and Sensing. Let me briefly describe all three.
Seeing is where God uses pictures or images to communicate to us. Sometimes we see the picture with our eyes open, but usually we see it with our eyes closed, sort of in our "mind's eye." We know we are seeing an image, but we don't always know what that image means. Our question becomes, "God what are you trying to tell me with that pictures?" How do we get that questions answered? We go back to God and ask Him to explain it to us. He may modify the picture to make more sense, or He may drop an understanding in our spirit or perhaps He will put the explanation in our thoughts.
Hearing is where God uses words to communicate with us. Most of the time we don't hear an audible voice speak those words. We hear in the "still small voice" that sounds very much like our own thoughts. In fact, God's voice frequently sounds so much like our own thoughts that our question becomes, "God was that really You or was that just my own through?" How do we find the answer to that question? We bring what we heard back to God and ask Him for confirmation.
Sensing is sort of a combination of the other senses, with some "just knowing" thrown in. Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks directly to our spirit, bypassing our mind. As a result, we "just know" something, but we are not sure how we know it. Or sensing may feel a lot like intuition. Or God may use physical sensations in our body to communicate with us, such as feeling heat in our hands when He wants us to pray for healing for someone. Or we may get a "word of knowledge" about God someone's physical condition by feeling it briefly in our own body.
Sensing may also involve smells or tastes. For example, God may let us discern a demonic presence vial a bad taste in our mouth or an unpleasant smell. One of my friends smells rotten eggs when there is a demon present. Another gets a bad taste in his mouth. Conversely, He may use a pleasant smell or taste to alert us to His activity or to the presence of His angels. I know someone who discerns God's presence by smelling frankincense. Another friend gets the taste of honey in her mouth when God wants to alert her to angelic activity.
This is a big oversimplification on hearing God's voice. If you would like to know more about it, I recommend you get a copy of my book, "How To Hear The Voice Of God In A Noisy World." There is also a free three week individual workshop on hearing God's voice called "Dialogue with God." That workshop is available at http://www.godspeak.net/workshop
Part two: Following The Holy Spirit's Prompting In Prayer. Sometimes God speaks to us and tells us what to pray for, and other times He prompts us. We may get a hunch about something, or it may be strongly on our mind. Or we may feel a special burden about something. Or the Holy Spirit might come on us with a strong intensity when we begin to pray for something that He wants us praying about. Or He may cause something to happen in our life (maybe running into someone we haven't seen in years) and then strongly remembering that thing when we sit down to pray.
When a group of intercessors pray together, it is not uncommon for one of them to touch on a subject and suddenly the Holy Spirit quickens that same subject to many of the others who are praying together, and they find themselves building on one another's prayers.
Again, this is an oversimplification, but I hope it gives you some ideas. The best way to be lead by Him is to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you how to be sensitive to His leading.
Part three: Praying What The Person Requests Verses Praying God's Will. Sometimes prayer requests are clearly in line with God's will for the person and then there is no conflict. You just pray the request. The tricky part becomes discerning HOW God wants you to pray for that request. You might petition (ask or plead with God). You might rebuke demonic spirits and forbid them from acting in this situation. You might break curses. You or might be led to make a prophetic proclamation over the person in accord with God's will for them. Or perhaps you might use the authority of Jesus to command negative circumstances to change. Or you might choose yet another strategy from the married of prayer strategies that are available to us. This is where it really helps to hear God's voice clearly. You not only ask Him what His will is for this person, but also HOW He would like you to pray (e.g., what prayer strategy He wants you to use.) Then you listen to His answer and act on it.
Sometimes the prayer request is so clearly out of line with God's will that it violates God's written word and you know better than praying it. For instance, one time this Pastor of an Asian Church in Florida called me. He wanted me to pray that God would take his wife home (e.g., kill her) so that he would be free to marry another lady in his congregation that he was attracted to. It did not take any great spiritual discernment to figure out that both his motivation and his request were in conflict with the Bible. The trick became figuring out how to pray for him, since it was obvious that I could not pray what he asked me to pray. I ended up being so bothered by his request and his attitude that I began to pray for God to work in his heart and give him aright attitude towards this situation, and that God bring his thinking into alignment with Scripture.
But there are times when we really don't have a clear-cut guideline to judge whether or not a given request lines up with God's will for the person. For instance, a person who is out of work feels they need a car to job hunt and to drive to/from work when they get the job. So they ask you to pray for God to give them a car, explaining how they really "need" it. Is it God's will to give that person a car, or does He have something else in mind? Perhaps God wants to relocate that person to someplace like Manhattan or San Francisco where it is a major inconvenience/difficulty to have a car and most people take public transportation to work. How do you know what to pray? You ask God.
If you can't seem to hear God's answer, you might try praying what "feels" right regarding that prayer, asking God to change your prayer if you are praying out of His will. Often times God does not really give us the clear leading until we actually start praying. One time I waited an hour for prayer direction on a specific request and did not get it. I finally shrugged my shoulders and started to pray my best guess of what God's will was. God immediately came in and began leading and directing my prayers. He ended up taking me a totally different direction than I was planning to go, but there was such a strong witness in my spirit that I knew it was God's leading. I asked Him why He waited so long to lead me in that prayer. His answer really surprised me. "Teresa, it is easier to steer a moving car than a parked one. I was waiting for you to start praying so I could start leading you in that prayer."
By the way, if you want a good resource, I recommend the book by Cindy Jacobs entitled "Possessing The Gates Of The Enemy."
I feel like I have barely skimmed the surface on this topic, there is so much to it. I recommend you check out some of the resources I mentioned if you would like more details on it.