The power of prayer can not be overestimated. In his book, Peale quotes a famous psychologist:
Why pray? When you tap into the power of the One who knows the end from the beginning, you will receive your expected end.
Is it that easy? Yes and no. Let us go on a journey to explore how to receive answers to prayer (when we have right thinking).
To do that, we will start with the next letter in our P.R.A.Y.E.R. acrostic:
E – Expectation
Well, that entirely depends upon where you are placing your expectations. If you are placing your expectation in humanity, you will most likely be disappointed a great deal of the time.
However, if you are placing your expectation in God’s ability to help you regardless of who or what He uses (when you are faithful to do whatever He commands you to do), then you are setting yourself up for success.
Expectation is a force like unto your will. The scripture says that whatever you desire when you pray, believe that you will receive it, and you shall have it (Mark 11:23-25). You have to exercise your willingness to receive, belief system, and, if necessary, to change your mindset.
However, if your attitude is such that you think that God may answer your prayer or He may not, then the Bible says to be sure not to expect anything from Him:
First Things First
The important thing for us to remember when we are in a wilderness season is first to recognize that we are in a wilderness season. The next thing to discover is why we are there. We may be expecting something from God, but we can rest assured that He expects something from us.
Our wilderness seasons are a training ground to help us learn and grow in our spiritual walk with God and then do His will. When we have prepared ourselves for what God has for us, He will promote us.
When your heart is ready to receive God’s instruction (make sure that you did the last thing that He told you to do; if not, please do it), ask Him what it is that He wants you to do.
Here’s what He absolutely does not want you to do: murmur and complain about your situation. That, my friend, is guaranteed to keep you in that wilderness season indefinitely.
If you are in a wilderness season and you are belly-aching about it, stop! Repent. Recognize and express gratitude for what you do have and embrace the season for what it is because you will come out when you meet the conditions.
The Double-Edged Sword of Expectation
Expecting from God can be like a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it can propel you into purpose, but on the other hand, if you do not exercise patience, it can cause you to feel like life is passing you by, and you are waiting to exhale.
The key to waiting well is recognizing all of the wonderful things that God has already allowed in your life and to continuously express gratitude for those things knowing that this too shall pass.
God does not want us to murmur and complain (that is what caused the exodus generation of Israelites to die in the wilderness). He wants us to trust Him for what He is doing in our lives, so that we may build character. We need to endure hardness as a good soldier and press through the pain. This is the condition for receiving our expected end (I Peter 5:10).
The key is to tap into His grace that He has made available to us when we ask and believe Him for it.
The Power of Expectation – A Testimony
In 2006, our family was “stationed” in El Paso, Texas. There, we had a divine appointment with a young couple whose baby had been in and out of the hospital with a recurring sickness. My husband and eldest son (who first met the wife and prayed with her) later went to the hospital with the husband.
As my husband prayed the prayer of faith, he instructed the father to declare that his child would come out of that hospital tomorrow, and expect that she would go home with him.
They agreed (Matthew 18:19). The baby was released the next day!
Expectation is a powerful force.
Expectation – Conclusion
Sometimes our expectations are met rather quickly as with the young couple and their well baby. Other times, we have to work our way out of our wilderness experience through a process of laying aside our agenda, laying down our idols, our (unrealistic) expectations, other people expectations of us and sooo many things that lead us away from God’s best for us which ultimately leads us to the fulfillment of our expectations.
Your wilderness experiences provide you with two perspectives: a place of pain or a place of purpose. You have to allow your pain to push you into purpose by putting your focus on God’s expectation for you.
If you are wrestling with with God’s will for your life, I am building a Media Resource Library full of free resources to help you fix that! (smiling emoji)
Grace and Peace,