Intimate Life-Knowledge {How My Prayers Have Changed}

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The word haunted me worse than a recurring nightmare. And no matter how I tried to look at it, I knew…it wasn’t describing me. Yet it needs to for it’s how He wants me:

Complete

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:4

This I already knew, but the self-reflection portion of my Lenten journey revealed how incomplete I really am. And it scared me big time because I’ve read the verses preceding this many, many times. And let’s face it — I didn’t want to go through more hard times. I don’t want to test my perseverance. My faith muscles are still sore from the last one…

Falling to my knees between the chair and ottoman, I rocked back and forth as I made my plea known: God, please, this can’t be it. You’re trying to show me something else, aren’t You? I know I’m not complete and I’m willing to work on it, but Father, do You really think I’m ready for another trial? Is there another way? What am I missing here? Please…Help me see…show me…I’m listening.

Would you believe I witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit right then and there as I saw the next verse unfold.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5

There’s no other way to describe it but a miracle. Without the Holy Spirit showing me, I would have missed it, I’m certain, because I’ve done many James Bible studies, and I never got it…until the Spirit knew I was ready to receive it.

Friends, for the last 30+ years, I’ve been praying through trials the wrong way.

My prayers have been far from complete.

It was as if I could see the transcripts of my prayers through every significant trial I’ve endured. And I saw it in black and white. Wow…I never asked…

  • I always prayed for a way out instead of asking for His rest to get me through.
  • I always asked for healing instead of asking for the Healer.
  • I always wanted to know why, how, when and never once asked for the wisdom to see beyond them…to just see Him more clearly.

Sure I would ask for wisdom when life decisions were needing to be made. Financial choices, job changes, moving options. I’m smart enough to know where to go for those answers. I’d even asked to know Him more when life was slow and easy.

The best description of wisdom I’ve heard is simply “Intimate Life-Knowledge.” And I can’t help but think…He is the Bread of Life. He’s the reason I have life. So how could I go wrong if I simply asked to know Him more intimately?

But when hard times were slapping me square on the face, I would ask for the escape route instead of the know-how of overcoming them.

Never once did I get to the root of the problem…which made me incomplete and always in need of another try…via trial.

WHY?!? How could I have missed this?!?

Easy…I don’t deserve this bigger picture understanding. So I wasn’t expecting a dirty sinner like me to be given the kind of gift worthy of King Solomon. Why would I ask for that?

That’s where grace comes in.

With one little phrase in the verse, given just to me. Friends, look at it again and say it out loud with me:

God gives generously to all without finding fault…

How soon I forget…

  • I’m not trying to earn anything–He gives this stuff away for free.
  • I can’t pay Him back for saving my life, but I can give the rest of it to Him.
  • I don’t need healing, I need the Healer.
  • I don’t need Easy Street, I need His rest and joy to fall upon me.
  • I don’t need a way out — HE’S my escape plan — I need Him.

And right there, between the cushions, I asked Him to help me. And I boldly asked for it…for intimate life-knowledge of Him…

How about you, friend? Have you asked for life-knowledge? Not just know-how, but for a greater understanding of Him? I’d love to hear.

Would you mind if I keep sharing what I learned while going through James? I’m feeling like He wants me to share how my prayer life has changed…but first, we need to talk about the “But” that proceeds these verses.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: After I went through this, I discovered this Bible Study by Pastor Mark Hall of Casting Crowns which confirmed what my heart felt. It’s worth 8 minutes, friend. I implore you to listen as he also talks about what I plan on sharing next…

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32 thoughts on “Intimate Life-Knowledge {How My Prayers Have Changed}

  1. Dear Nikki
    Yes, dear One, my Fm/CFS has taught me just that; we need Him! Horrible things happen to all of us because we live in a fallen wordl. But when we live our lives in our Lord Jesus, we are forever and eternally secure. Please, carry on with your study of Peter.
    Blessings
    Mia

    • I think somewhere, I confused needing Him for needing His escape route or His healing –not just Him, I’m ashamed to admit…
      But you’re right. What security there is to be found in HIM!
      Thank you, Mia!

  2. Yes! This is what everything hard in life is for: to bring us to the understanding that we are incomplete without the Lord. Thank you for sharing this, Nikki. Blessings, Peg

  3. One of my favorite sayings is, “there is no-thing to be healed, only God revealed”. To me, this says it all and this is my prayer.
    When what I call “life’s happenings” occur, instead of focusing upon the “illusion”, I choose to focus upon God alone and allow His Presence, Power & Intelligence {the Holy Spirit} to manifest through me.
    Who am I to ask God to do my bidding? God alone KNOWS & as I practice focusing upon Him, ALONE; as I listen to His guidance, ever present, I allow the unfoldment of that which IS ordained.
    What a difference this practice has made in my life. What a difference you make in my life, too, Nikki. It is always a joy this visit with you.

    • Oh, I love that saying, Paula! Thank you! I hadn’t heard it, but I’m writing it down in my journal…with your name beside it 😉
      You get this and I’m so thankful you shared your wisdom with me, friend. Thank you so much!

  4. I’m right there with you Nikki. I’ve struggled to pray the right prayers in my trials as well. It’s always “God, please fix this!” or “God, give me strength!” I’ve never asked to see beyond the storm, to see His heart in the matter. I’ve never asked for intimate life knowledge. 🙂

  5. Hi Nikki! Love your thoughts on this! I listened to the video also, which was great. I love that part, “Christian ‘buts’ are always in the way”. Total truth there! I am just like you; I cannot remember a time when I have asked God to give me wisdom. Perhaps because I don’t quite understand it yet, or simply because of pride (thinking that I somehow don’t need it.) Thank you for sharing this. It definitely has me thinking about my prayers differently!

    • Made my day that you listened to the video, Sarah! Thank you! (wasn’t it so good?) and you got it, the “but” part…yes! that’s what I need to share next, because He sure did a number on me while I was going through this…;)

  6. Nikki,
    This is awesome. I can see how God reached down, used His Word and spoke directly to your heart. I would love for you to share, if you haven’t already, at Wednesday’s Word. This post is something I will savour, reflect and hopefully use in the days ahead.
    Many blessings on great writing. I did Tweet a phrase (had to edit it to make it fit).
    Blessings,
    Janis Author of Tadeo Turtle http://www.janiscox.com

  7. Indeed! And when we find the Healer, there we will find our healing. Praise God! I love the way Holy Spirit makes alive Scripture, too, that’s the absolute best. Incredible how we can read something multiple times and yet it comes alive just when we need it.

    Love your heart,
    Janelle Marie

    • Exactly…it sure does prove–we just need Him, doesn’t it, Janelle Marie.
      I hope I didn’t come across like we shouldn’t pray for healing, because we should. but I just need to make sure I have HIM first! and it’s been made clear, I’m incomplete in that regard. but I’m striving 🙂

  8. I am so delighted that God spoke to you in such an intimate way…trials are one way we get to experience more of Him as we lean hard on Him for wisdom, and His presence because we can’t do it without Him…all is grace…love and hugs to you 🙂 It is Sophia’s spring break. Hope to talk to you soon, maybe next week?

  9. My sweet Nikki… yes! Yes to all of this! Yes to His graciousness in showing us that He really IS in control and He really DOES answer prayers and uses all things together for good… He really DOES give wisdom and direction… He really IS a very present help… all the time.

    I remember graciously early on – when I was most likely mid-rant, God interrupted me and lovingly said to me, “Honey – I don’t answer to you!” (Oh but sometimes don’t we just wish He would?) I have learned to lean IN… to trust Him… to embrace the mysteries of God that I do not know or understand… Do I get excited when trials come? No… at least not yet! I am learning however that because I know that God is good and He is in a good mood… that He is All In and Full On… I know that He has an ‘instead’ in mind when the enemy comes and throws trouble my way! I know beyond a shadow of a doubt – even in the midst of darkness and pain… He is trustworthy! He is mine… and that will never ever change!

    • Love how He puts you in your place as He does me, Karrilee! That He loves us that much to even bother at that…ugh. May we never get over it, and yet, always change as we grow closer to Him {HUGS}

  10. Oh,how I love the aha moments we get with Him, especially when it is something we’ve read and re-read and suddenly its all new again. The way you go hard after God Nikki, its inspiring. Thankful for the way you share Him so beautifully.

  11. Asking for the wisdom to see beyond the how and why is a big one for me, too, Nikki. Complete surrender of all of my circumstances, and not just the parts that I’m able to see my struggle in… oh, to ask God for that kind of clarity. We are a work in progress and I’m so thankful for His infinite patience with us!

  12. Pingback: No Buts About It {How My Prayers Have Changed Pt. 2) | simplystriving

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