Sometime early in our marriage I realized that if I want to encourage my husband to take a certain vacation, buy a large item for the house or really anything that requires a major amount of money that it is best to be prepared before I ask.
I’ve learned that he will ask questions. Questions like “is it a need or a want?” “can we afford it?” “where is the money coming from?” “have you compared prices, options, places etc…?” “do you have a plan?” My husband is a logistics guy and he wants all the information up front before making a decision. I could just go to him and ask without being prepared, but he will not make a decision without all the facts. So I have found it easier to be prepared before I suggest or ask him to consider something.
As a side note, this used to really bug me about him. Why couldn’t he just make a snap decision? Why is all this information necessary before deciding? And then once he has the information it often takes days for him to consider it and pray about it.
What I have learned from him is that as I prepared for the questions I knew he would ask there were often times I would see what I thought was a NEED really wasn’t. By praying and preparing there were also times I would see wrong motives or selfishness. But by having a plan and marking out everything before hand we often saved money or ended up with something better than what I would have “settled” for.
So I learned that before going to my husband I needed to prepare not only for the questions he would have but I also needed to prepare my own heart. In all the years we’ve been married I must admit that my husband rarely denies anything I ask of him, but when he does I find that it is most often those times I haven’t first really prayed and prepared my own heart.
I don’t think God is any different. Before going to His word to hear from Him or ask anything of Him I need to prepare my heart. Sure the preparation is different than that for my husband but they both still require a preparedness of my own heart.
I am not going to be able to hear from God if there is sin in my heart. It will be impossible for me to hear Him if my motives or attitudes are wrong. So there are a few things I need to do BEFORE I go to God so that I can hear clearly His word to me.
- First I must cleanse my heart. It needs to be cleansed of sin, wrong motives, and other distractions.
- Pray for a heart that is hungry. A heart that is ready to receive His word, His instructions.
- Pray for a heart that is disciplined. I need to be willing to follow through and persevere no matter what may come my way. How can I ever expect to hear from God if my heart hasn’t been disciplined to listen?
- Pray for a heart that is obedient. We need to have a heart that is ready to obey whatever it is that we receive from God. We don’t want to be a hearer only of His word. We want to be doers of the Word we receive from God.
How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart; they also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways. (Ps 119:1-3)
My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times. (Ps 119:20)
Verse are taken from NASB. Bolded words are mine.