An Invitation You Cannot Afford to Miss

Margaret —  June 4, 2014 — 31 Comments

An Invitation You Cannot Afford to Miss

When Great Britain’s Prince William married Kate Middleton, the wedding attracted international media attention, with more than two billion people from around the world tuning in to watch the festivities.

But the limited space at Westminster Abbey meant that only about 1,900 people were given a gold-stamped invitation to attend the wedding.

Those who received invitations ran the gamut from the rich and famous to the commoner. Undoubtedly, some difficult decisions were made. For example, the president of France and his wife received an invitation, but the president of the United States and his wife did not. The invitations were exclusive because they were limited. Not everyone was invited to the celebration.

Yet the royal invitation by the King of kings is different.

God isn’t constrained by space or limited by time. He doesn’t need to make difficult decisions between national leaders or everyday citizens. Instead, He issues an invitation to each of us to come to into His presence at any time, in any place, through the spiritual practice of prayer.

Put very simply, prayer is communicating with God.

And we are invited to engage in a free, open, ongoing dialogue with God throughout each and every day. Through prayer we can take our personal concerns to God, as well as the concerns of others. Through prayer we can express our adoration and affection to God. We can make requests or petitions. We can confess our brokenness to God and ask for forgiveness. We can thank Him for His presence and work in our lives. Through prayer we can learn to abide in Him.

Prayer is a spiritual discipline we simply can’t live without.

An Invitation You Cannot Afford to Miss

We’re reminded again and again to pray continually:

“Pray diligently.” –Colossians 4:2, MSG

“Pray all the time.” –1 Thessalonians 5:17, MSG

“Pray hard and long.” –Ephesians 6:18, MSG

Prayer opens the door for God to transform us from the inside out. Not only through talking with God, but also when we take the time to listen for His voice.

The more we practice prayer, the more natural prayer will become.

I want a relationship with God where prayer is as natural as breathing.

Yet, sometimes prayer is easier said than done. It may sound a lot like scribbled grocery lists—random, disorganized, and filled with less-than-healthy selections. After years of struggling in my own prayer life, I began a prayer list in the back of my Bible. I didn’t realize when I decided to turn my scribbled thoughts into a permanent list that I was accepting the invitation to not only ask God specific things, but also to listen and watch for the answer.

This week on Facebook and Twitter, we asked this question:

What practices do you use in your prayer life to remind you to pray?

Tactics for prayer

Tactics for prayer Tactics for prayer Tactics for prayer Tactics for prayer

Phew. This week has been a whirlwind of excitement as we kicked off the online Summer Bible Study. (It’s not too late to join us! Click here to learn how).

*This week’s memory verse: Isaiah 40:8

FREE memory verse printable. #SacredEcho: "The grass withers & the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever." -Isaiah 40:8

FREE memory verse printable. #SacredEcho: "The grass withers & the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever." -Isaiah 40:8

Click here to download and print this week’s memory verse. Stick it in your Bible, hang it on your mirror, frame it for the kitchen table.

As we gather for our first Summer Bible Study week, let’s discuss this question:

How would you describe the sound of God’s voice?

*Join us right back here at MargaretFeinberg.com on Monday to start week 2! You aren’t going to want to miss it.

*Original Photo Source

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31 responses to An Invitation You Cannot Afford to Miss

  1. Not sure if this is where the chat for Sacred Echoes is, but I am so glad I decided to do this study this summer. I go through seasons where I journal daily prayers. I use certain “guidelines” — Praise, confession, thankfulness, requests for self, requests for other. There have been many through the years. At first, it’s great. Then, I feel like I am being redundant. What is praise? Acknowledging God? Saying the words, “I Praise You because…” I get to the point where I feel like it’s just repetitive and boring. Hoping this allows God to ignite that passion for praying again!

    • You’re in the right place, Sonya! Praying right alongside you– may this summer ignite our prayer lives in ways we can’t imagine!

  2. “How would you describe the sound of God’s voice?”

    I can’t shake the scene in 1 Kings 19 when Elijah has a fiery showdown with the false prophets, then retreats to the mountainside. God’s voice wasn’t in the wind, earthquake, or fire.

    God spoke in a gentle whisper.

    I can’t help but wonder: If we change the posture of our lives and lean in closer to God, maybe we, too, can experience the gentle whispers of our God.

    • “The gentle whispers of God”. I love that!

      In your book you ask the question, if God wasn’t in the wind, earthquake or fire, then who was it? I’ve never really thought of that before. I can’t imagine how God wasn’t in all of those things, as He would have been Creator of all.

      I’ve been pondering this and wondering…God had to be in them…He certainly walks with us in the fiery trials of life, in the shaking quakes of our world, in the circumstances that blow into our lives…and even if He didn’t ordain them, He allows and is in them with us…but maybe at times He is silent in them. Maybe He waits until our hearts quiet and as you wrote above, we lean in closer to God, and then we hear Him speak. Maybe He’s waiting for us to still ourselves to listen. He doesn’t waste words, so rather than shouting over the noise of our life, He waits until we quiet our hearts to hear His whispers.

      Being still and knowing He is Lord,
      Joy

      • You’re so right, Joy. I love how you said:

        “He certainly walks with us in the fiery trials of life, in the shaking quakes of our world, in the circumstances that blow into our lives…and even if He didn’t ordain them, He allows and is in them with us…but maybe at times He is silent in them.”

        Sometimes the biggest challenge is just that-quieting our hearts to listen. May we have ears to hear…

    • I really enjoyed how you brought it out in the video. The more I think about the verses and Elijah, the more I smile.

  3. How would I describe the sound of God’s voice? Love this question. Never really thought about the “sound” of it before. When God speaks a specific word to me it comes with such force, not in volume necessarily, but in intensity. It is wrapped in such power that there is no denying it’s from the Lord, and it’s so clearly defined that it leaves me without any doubt that it IS the Lord. Often His voice ‘sounds” contrary to my natural tendency, another confirmation that it’s His voice I’m hearing and not my own. When God speaks so directly to any area where I’m seeking guidance it completely overwhelms me, excites me, often moves me to tears and encourages me…even if His Word to me is a Word of discipline or ‘no’. Above all I hear His love in His every Word to me and it amazes me that the God of the entire universe would talk to me.
    Listening,
    Joy

  4. “How would you describe the sound of God’s voice?”

    That would depend on what I was expecting in return. But for the most part, it is a soft voice like a whisper that brings great and wonderful joy to my heart. I talk to God all day long, everyday, and sometimes I remind him that it is not the loudest or the biggest response that I am looking for, but the smallest and simplest that I need, and every-time he comes thru. Just like the commercials, when he speaks, it is priceless!

    • “That brings great and wonderful joy to my heart.” –You nailed it on the head with that one, Buddy.

  5. How would I describe the sound of God’s voice? Personally, I have never audibly heard God speak. Most often when God speaks to me, it is in the form of a nudge or a prompt. At other times it is through repetition delivered in various ways… through a verse in scripture, listening to a podcast or message, a Facebook quote, the words of a song, words spoke through another believer. or in the awesome display of His creation. I’m convinced that we have to be expectant and watchful for those times when He does speak to us. I find it’s not in the hurriedness of the day, but in the quiet moments when we’re still.

    • This is the biggest challenge for me: “I find it’s not in the hurriedness of the day, but in the quiet moments when we’re still.”

      I have to practice carving out time to intentionally be still, take a walk, put down the computer. Such a good reminder.

  6. God’s voice has different sounds. Sometimes it’s a quiet whisper and yet I’ve also had a very loud NO! Twice in my life where it felt shaking. Sometimes it’s through a very quiet natural sign like when we were going through a trial and being attacked and the strangest sign came in the form of three different flocks of birds circling our home. Even another who witnessed it commented on how strange it was but I knew what it meant. We did have victory. Other times it’s in visions or dreams and still it can be a billboard or through someone else. And other times it’s through personal heartache and yet he still speaks and reveals amazing insight and wisdom yet not knowing why behind it but revealing other truths in the midst of it. And yet there are times he’s quiet and you feel like you’re in the desert! Yet if you listen closely you still see him or hear him in other ways during that time not quite like an oasis but more like here’s a little bit if water to keep you going. In all of it learning to trust him no matter the season.

    • Amazing– loved reading of the ways God has spoken to you, Jennifer. It always encourages me by the lengths God will go to get his message across to us.

  7. I love this question and I have loved reading through everyone’s discussion so far! I would agree with how others this week have described God’s voice: as a gentle nudge, as a whisper, as a persistent and repetitive message. One thing I have noticed in my own life is that the voice of God has become undeniable as I have grown in my relationship with him. Early in my walk, I doubted if what I heard was the voice of God because quite honestly, I just didn’t know him well. But as I read about him in Scripture and cried out to him and honestly was wow’d by him a couple of times, I began to realize that “coincidences” were not coincidences, but rather his voice repeating. I began to realize that the deep nudge in my spirit was him. I began to realize that my favorite verse appearing on Facebook right as I was feeling doubtful in a situation was him. I began to realize that the random conversations with my BFF where she would unknowingly utter something that God had uttered that morning was him. But hearing his voice was dependent on knowing him and learning the ways he speaks. And that only came from studying him in Scripture and talking to him in prayer. His voice is undeniable when you have prayed something in the morning and you “hear” a message through any number of sources that day. It is those moments that I simply look to the heavens and say, “Thank you Jesus. I know that was you!”

    • “But hearing his voice was dependent on knowing him and learning the ways he speaks.” -So true, Rachel. The more we pursue him and learn his voice in Scripture, the better able we are to discern his voice in every day life.

  8. Margaret! Where did you get that “It is Well with my Soul” plaque that’s pictured on Facebook?!?! That’s my favorite hymn!

  9. I think it is difficult to discern’s God’s voice or even describe what it might sound like because we’ve become a society that is able to choose our own ringtones, message alert sounds, etc. In our instant feedback society we don’t have to wait for an answer. We send a tweet or text and ping! – instant answer. Too often we expect the same from God. And we want to assign Him our own ringtone instead of listening for how He chooses to attract us. Maybe if I went to Him as often as I check FB, Twitter, email, msgs I might have a better sense of those Sacred Echoes. Hmmm, now there is a thought! Before checking in on others I will check in with God. That will be my reminder!!

    • Cindi– what a perfect word picture. We have so many noises vying for our attention that we’re missing the most important voice.

  10. If I am honest, sometimes His voice is hard to hear over the voices of ‘nay sayers’ that we face in life. It’s stupid really – that a single voice can wreak havoc in my heart and yet it causes me to doubt that God doesn’t see me that way. Over and over and over again I have to immerse myself in His word, listen to others speak it to me, hear it in a song. In my weakness, I forget. The amazing awesome indescribable gift of God is that He always seems to meet me at my deepest need. A scripture jumps off the page. A friend sends an unexpected note. I hear a sermon that screams at me. I just need to be faithful to remember and believe in the gifts He gives.

    • Gabrielle, I think you describe a battle so many have fought (and are still fighting). On Monday, I’m going to explain the practice I’ve begun to use to retrain my mind and heart to the ways God views me.

  11. I would describe God’s Wispering when I am seeking Him, answers to an issue or reading a scripture and a phrase pops out i say wow I love that! Then there are times like today a deep sense overcomes me my eyes tear – it’s happened lately several times I know that’s Him!! Or in the tweet of a bird or silent rustle in the wind it’s quite often when I’m either sad or very happy. Be still and know I am God.. I am so thankful for your ministry Margaret I am leaning In ..

  12. I began a new prayer list as you suggested. A few words –
    3- I looked up at my desk was a clip out I’d taken from a magazine few weeks ago a patio set. 1 suddenly had written a prayer request
    Table for two.. How sweet is that!
    A Sacred Echo!!

    • I’m already so blown away by the ways God is revealing himself to you, Mae. Keep pursuing him, friend!

      • Margaret, yes! I am also blown away – I keep shaking my head
        the changes just keep flowing in..
        I want to be able to hear whispers, Sacred Echos.. I am excited about the scriptures you suggest,
        next weeks bible study!

  13. How would you describe the sound of God’s voice?

    Heart-quickening. Whether it is a phrase from Scripture, lyrics of a song, words from a blog or merely a thought that pops into my mind…when it is Him I often find myself catching my breath.

    And I always get sense of His love and tenderness in that moment. Even if His voice comes with a rebuke or word of correction.

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