2) Stay “Woke” and ready to Write it down: I’m no expert at fasting or anything like that but from personal experience I’ve learnt that people don’t get as much as they should out of their prayer and fasting times. I used to take a haphazard approach to this whereby I would just get involved with a fasting programme and not take care to keep myself open to getting specific revelations from God. Instead I would convince myself that it is merely a seed sown for later times. While that mindset is not entirely wrong I believe 2016 is the year to be intentional with your relationship with God and expectant in your communication with Him. God is ALWAYS speaking to us whether it be through an impression in our Spirit or through His words in the Bible but we need to resolve that every time we spend time with God, we must be ready to receive what He has for us at that moment.
Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 1-3 (AMP) is an example I like to follow even though it’s original context is slightly different from our topic right now. The context it was written on was based on Habakkuk’s complaint of injustice in the world and God’s reply to Him. The key takeaway from this that is relevant to our discussion here, however, is the way he communicated with God. He asked his questions and laid his complaints to God, which we can replace with prayers and petitions and intercessions as we progress in our fasting and prayer. Then he said the following, “I will stand at my guard post, And station myself on the tower; And I will keep watch to see what He will say to me…” (Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 1). We can emulate this by leaving enough time in our designated time frame of prayer to be still and just listen out for what God will drop in us. It’s pretty amazing how you can hear God a lot clearer when you just chill and wait.
And as in verse 2, once you hear something (not necessarily an audible voice but even just a knowing within you or a thought that just pops out of nowhere especially if it’s about what you’ve been praying for or a bible verse that just keeps dragging you back to itself as you meditate on Scripture), WRITE IT DOWN!!
It’s so important to make note because you need to have it somewhere that you can easily revert back to when you forget and need a reminder of His promises to you. Take it from me: your track record of retentive memory won’t help you 2 days down the line, let alone 12 months later. Plus you can use it to keep track of when His word comes to pass in your life.
Last year, I read through my journal and when I realised that God had answered so many prayers that I had forgot I even prayed about, I was just in awe of Him all over. So yea, write it down!
It’s also important to write it down because verse 3 tells us that, ““For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time. It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail. Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it, Because it will certainly come; it will not delay.” For those times you’ll be tempted to give up or doubt what you once felt God told you, re-reading it and praying it as a reminder to God can help you stay on track.
Also, do it as many times in a day as is necessary. I downloaded a journal on my phone so that as often as I “hear” something, I can write it down immediately and revisit it. The Holy Spirit speaks to me when I’m busy as well and if it’s something I can’t attend to at that very instant, at least I can revisit it later.
I hope I have been able to convince you and not confuse you (lool those who get the joke, will get the joke!) that staying woke and writing it all down is a pretty solid practice. Of course, if you don’t like writing, you can leave yourself voice notes for later.
3) Maintain an awe-inspired reverence to God: This one is inspired by Psalm chapter 25 verse 12 (AMP) which says, “Who is the man who fears the Lord [with awe-inspired reverence and worships Him with submissive wonder]? He will teach him [through His word] in the way he should choose”.
The reason for fasting and praying particularly at the start of a new year is to know what God’s will for our lives in the year ahead is and obtain the power to walk according to it. It’s okay for us to have our goals and plans but Proverbs chapter 27 verse 1 (MSG) is quick to tell us, “Don’t brashly announce what you’re going to do tomorrow; you don’t know the first thing about tomorrow.” and on the flip side, Proverbs chapter 16 verse 3 (AMP) suggests the better route, “Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].”
In order for the latter verse to be true in our lives we need to have a reverence for God that alludes to total relinquishing of control and trust in His knowledge of what’s best for us as His creations. For our plans to succeed, they need to have been pre-ordained by God and for us to know what He has pre-ordained we need to maintain reverence and submission to Him against logic and sentiment.
How do you grow your reverence of God? You need to get to know Him through His word in the Bible (which is the same word He will mostly be guiding you with anyway..) and take time to really understand His display of loving kindness and tender mercies towards you based on His track record in your life – which by the way is every good thing that has ever happened to you because we know that, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes]” (James chapter 1 verse 17 AMP).
I went to a friend’s church in Lagos on the first Sunday of the year and it stuck with me something his pastor said (paraphrased): “You can’t receive from where you don’t respect the anointing”. While he said this in context of encouraging people to go to churches where they feel at home – because if you stay where you don’t respect the minister’s anointing, you won’t receive any blessings from there – I feel it’s relevant to our relationship with God. If you come to him doubting and always in two minds about what HE can do for you, you will likely receive nothing from God (James chapter 1 verse 6 to 7). Just like the people of Nazareth who didn’t respect Jesus’s anointing and therefore didn’t believe Him or anything HE stood for, the Bible tells us that because of their countenance, Jesus could perform no miracles in their midst (Matthew chapter 13 verses 53 to 58 AMP). They didn’t revere Him.
If you strive to know God more and always remind yourself of His goodness in your life, that’s one way to maintain awe-inspired reverence and keep yourself open and spiritually perceptive to His instructions on how to obtain all He has planned for you. need more convincing? Meditate on Psalm chapter 25 verse 12 to 14 till it sinks in.Thank me later 🙂 .
See [btn text=”Getting 2016 off to a Meaningful Start (pt. 3)” tcolor=#0000FF bcolor=#F2F2F2 thovercolor=#FFF link=”http://www.stephfaithfully.com/2016/01/getting-2016-off-to-a-meaningful-start-pt-3/” target=”_blank”] for more tips.