Our God Is A Specific God

At the Lord’s command, Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages. (Numbers 33:2)

Numbers 33:3-49 goes on to list 43 specific places. 

The next chapter gives specific boundaries for Israel’s borders, listing 21 specific places. 

After that, we read a list of 12 specific names of leaders who are to assign portions of land to all the Israelite tribes. 

Our God is a specific God. No detail escapes His notice. Nothing happens by chance, nor is God ever scrambling to fix something I’ve messed up or to address something that I think is “unexpected.” God knows the end from before the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), including my specific role in His plan.

Let me say it again—Our God is a specific God. 

Heavenly Father, you have a specific plan for my life. You have given me specific talents to use at specific “stages” along the journey of my life. Holy Spirit, help me not to lean to my own understanding, for it is far too finite and skewed. In all my ways—in all the stages of my life—I want to use my specific talents specifically to glorify Jesus.

Prayer Expectations

Many of our prayers could be much bolder and much more specific than they are. Why is that? Because how we view God is going to determine what we pray and what we expect after we pray.

When we pray, we approach an All-Loving Father, and we approach an All-Powerful God. I have found that typically people get warmed by the idea of Father and get scared by the idea of God. They say things like: “What if my prayers don’t hallow God’s name? What if He’s mad at me? What if I pray an improper prayer?” 

God wants us to come to Him in prayer, so He makes Himself very accessible! The Father is both Father and God; the Son is both Friend and King; the Spirit is both Comforter and Convictor. We get ALL of this in One God. 

Charles Spurgeon had this word of encouragement: “If You are my Father, then You love me. If I am Your child, then You will regard me, and poor though my language is, You will not despise it.” Jesus came to earth fully God and fully man, making Him our perfect intermediary (see Job 9:32-35; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:25). And the Holy Spirit helps interpret our groaning prayers (Romans 8:26-27). 

Have you ever noticed that neither the prophets of the Old Testament, nor Jesus in the Gospels, nor the apostles in the New Testament ever prayed, “God, if this is Your will please do such-and-such”? They simply prayed. Or more accurately, they prayed so boldly and specifically it almost sounded like a command: “Stand up” or “Be clean” or “Go, your prayer has been answered.” 

When you and I are praying to an All-Loving and All-Powerful Father, with Jesus interceding for us, and the Spirit helping us, we too can pray these bold and highly specific prayers. 

After all, if you don’t pray specifically and expectantly, how will you know when your prayer is answered? 

I find John Piper’s acrostic very helpful in praying these bold and expectant prayers. He calls it APTAT: 

  • A—Admit I can’t do anything without Christ. This hallows His Name. 
  • P—Pray for help to do it. 
  • T—Trust a specific promise of God to help me (two general promises are found in Isaiah 41:10 and Romans 8:32). 
  • A—Act. Do the things I need to do: apply for the job, ask forgiveness, schedule a meeting. 
  • T—Thank Him when I’m done. 

Two final thoughts—

  1. Make prayer more of a listening relationship than a talking relationship. 
  2. Give yourself some grace as you are maturing; don’t expect immediate perfection. Start praying and then let the Father, the Son, and the Spirit help you mature in your prayer life. 

I hope you can join me this Sunday as we continue to work on our plans to pray.

Faith-Filled Vocabulary

I love this short story in Judges 13. There’s this woman, who for whatever reason, cannot have a baby. The Bible doesn’t say whether she had a miscarriage or just simply couldn’t get pregnant. Perhaps her husband’s body wasn’t “cooperating” in the process. In any case, this is a couple who desperately wants a child to carry on their family line, but they have been frustrated.

And then an amazing thing happens!

There must have been countless couples who were childless, but an angel from God shows up to this barren woman and says, “You are going to have a baby boy!” This thrilled (and probably somewhat dazed) mother-to-be runs to tell her husband Manoah what has just happened.

We know from the book Hebrews that the definition of faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. But how do we express this faith? … this hope? … this certainty in unseen things?

It starts with our everyday vocabulary choices.

Look at Manoah’s vocabulary. When he hears this news from his wife, he doesn’t say, “Yeah, right!” Instead, he prays this incredible faith-filled prayer:

“O Lord, I beg You, let the man of God You sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”

Not: “I need more proof.” Or even: “A child.” But: “The boy that is to be born.”

God answers this prayer and the angel appears again. Once again Manoah’s faith-filled vocabulary is on display:

When Your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy’s life and work?”

Not: “If.” Or even: “I hope.” But: “When Your words are fulfilled.”

What a great example from Manoah!

Is there something for which you waiting on God? Do you feel like He’s given you assurance in your heart for this? Then change your vocabulary—let it be faith-filled vocabulary.

Change your Ifs to Whens to show that you are confident of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.

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