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Ask Donnell - What does the phrase "go before God" really mean?

Ask Donnell - What does the phrase

We received the following question from Carleen;

"I need to hear from God about some things in my life, some decisions I have made and some I need to make, I need some very clear directions. I heard of going before God when you need answers like this… I also heard of some ppl spending weeks or months before God. My question is: very practically… what does it mean? How do I “go before God”?"

Carleen, this is a good question. A few years ago, I wrote an article, "Ask Donnell - Does Repetitive Prayer Work With God?" Take some time to read it to better understand what you need to do when the answer to your prayer takes a long time. I won't repeat any of it here but I'll share some quick thoughts. Let's go straight to The Bible.

James 1:5-8(NKJV) - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

God distributes wisdom freely to those who request it. However, The Apostle James makes it clear that God's response comes with one condition. He only gives wisdom freely to those who ask in faith. What does that mean? Well, it starts with a proper understanding of what faith really is. An easy way to look at it is through the following three scriptures.

Hebrews 11:1(KJV) - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Faith is complete trust in invisible evidence.

Romans 10:17(KJV) - So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Faith comes from The Word of God.

James 2:26(KJV) - For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Faith requires action.

So what is faith? Faith is complete trust in the invisible evidence provided by The Word of God confirmed by commensurate action. As a result, for you to have faith that God would do anything you must have The Word of God which states exactly that. You can't have faith in anything else but a Word from The Lord. That's the only stable foundation your faith can stand on. In addition, if you have faith, your actions should directly coincide with your faith. Hence, when you find what The Word of God says concerning the situation you are dealing with, you should do whatever you read and be prepared to do whatever else The Holy Spirit reveals that's based on what you see in The Bible.

Every step of faith is really a step of obedience to a Word from The Lord. Every Word from The Lord is really an instruction inspired by The Holy Spirit that can be substantiated by scripture. That's it! Anything else will get you in trouble or at the very least, leave you disappointed. God stands behind His Word and will do whatever it takes to bring His Word to pass. It would behoove you to put His Word into action so that He'll back you up in whatever it is you're doing.

So.. how do you go before God?

1) Prayer

Philippians 4:6-7(NKJV) - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Start by asking God in prayer for whatever it is you need. However, as you learned from James 1:5-8, your prayer only has real power when it's a prayer of faith. What you must not forget is that the time between your request and God's response may be long. (Hopefully, you finished reading the article I linked to at the beginning of this blog because it explains all of that.) As a result, if you don't have faith that He'll answer your prayer you won't have the patience to wait for the answer. This leads to the next point. Without a Word from God you have nothing to hold on to, even in the place of prayer.

2) The Word of God

Psalm 119:105(KJV) - Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Let The Word of God be your guide. Whatever you're dealing with is addressed in some way through the scriptures. Make the effort to look in The Bible for everywhere it addresses your situation. Use modern tools like Bible Gateway. It's one of the tools I still use when I need to find a quick scripture on anything. If you can find directions in The Bible you are on your way to answered prayer.

3) Seek Godly Counsel

Proverbs 11:14(KJV) - Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.

God speaks through certain people that He places in your life. When you need an answer from The Lord, in addition to praying to God for yourself and seeking through the scriptures, it is important to ask for counsel. Don't ask ungodly people because according to Psalm 1:1 you won't be blessed. However, it's actually a good thing to seek God's wisdom through people who have God's wisdom. Also, if you're wondering, it's easy to find out if someone has God's wisdom.

Listen carefully to what the person says. If it lines up with The Bible and it's confirmed by the peace of God in your heart you can accept it. The Holy Spirit in you acts as an umpire by giving you peace when you're going in the right direction. In addition, before you ask anybody for advice look at that person's life. Does he/ she show the type of results that you want in yours? If he/she can't follow his/her own advice you don't want to follow it either.

4) Worship

John 9:31(KJV) - Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

God doesn't hear sinners but He hears worshippers. If you want God to hear you, be a worshipper and do His Will.

John 4:24(KJV) - God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Revelation 1:10-11(KJV) - I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Do you want to know why John heard God's Voice? He was in the Spirit! What does that mean? He was in a posture of worship because worship takes place in the spirit and in truth. When you're in the presence of The Lord in worship it gets really easy to hear His Voice. As a result, if you're pressed for an answer from God, press into worship because it opens your spiritual ears. Find ways to enter into God's presence when you're alone through private times of worship and definitely enter in when you're with others at church. I have a special CD in my car strictly for that purpose. It takes me straight into the throne room. You should find one or two for yourself. You'll need them. 🙂

5) Approach God with boldness.

Hebrews 4:14-16(KJV) - Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 10:19(KJV) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

You can't expect God to answer you if your faith is shaken because of sin in your life. You have to always be sure that guilt, shame and feelings of regret are not getting between you and the answer to your prayer. If there's sin in your life, repent of it according to 1 John 1:9 and move on with your prayer, worship and time in God's Word. However, even after you repent, feelings of guilt and shame can still linger. Depending on what you've done, they can be hard to shake.

With that in mind, your only option is to walk boldly into God's presence with the righteousness you receive by the grace of God through your faith in Jesus. In other words, you don't expect God to answer your prayer because you deserve an answer. You expect God to answer your prayer because of Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life and He stands before God as your high priest. So when you approach God you say, "God because of Jesus I ask for you to help me in this situation. I don't deserve it because of anything I've done. I deserve it because I'm in Jesus and He deserves everything. Thank you for your grace and mercy toward me through Jesus."

6) Do what God has already said.

John 10:27(NKJV) - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Sometimes we're asking God for new instructions before we've completed the old ones. That's a big "no-no". Have you done what He's already asked you to do? Did you follow Him the last time you heard His Voice? If not, what exactly do you want Him to say to you now? The Will of God is progressive, one step leads to another. If you get off track anywhere you can't keep moving forward in the wrong direction. If there's anything God will tell you when you're in disobedience, it's obey what He's already said.

7) Wait

Isaiah 40:31(KJV) - But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Hebrews 10:35-36(KJV) - Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

You can't rush God. If you are going before God you have to do it on God's schedule. Even after you've done God's Will you still need patience. God doesn't have to respond the moment you ask Him to nor must He respond the moment you obey His Word. He'll respond when the time is right. Your job is to do what He says for now and do it quickly. Let God do His part on His schedule. He's God so He has that prerogative. Just be sure that if your situation is being prolonged, it's not because of you. Finish your part of the deal and let Him do the rest.

In sum, if you're ready to go before God you've just received some practical steps that you can follow. We believe along with you that God will provide the answer to your prayer according to His perfect Will.

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