Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Lord's Prayer, Day 17

Leslie Basham: Everyone wonders, “How do I know God’s will?” Holly Elliff says when you’re deciding whether to go forward with some decision, start with the Bible.

Holly Elliff: If it violates His Word, it was not God’s will for your life at that moment. I think women are very confused on how we get to know God’s will. I think that the real critical question is, “As a woman how do I even know if I’m really hearing from the Lord about what His will is?”

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Tuesday, August 23, 2016.

Over the last few weeks, Nancy’s been teaching us line by line through the Lord’s prayer. We’ll take a pause on that teaching to hear a discussion on how to live this prayer out in real life. Some friends of Nancy heard her teach on the Lord’s prayer and got together to discuss it. Those friends included Kim Wagner, Maria Johnson, and Holly Elliff. And Kathy Helvey was part of that conversation. She later went home to be with the Lord after a battle with cancer. We'll hear Kathy's thoughts first.

Kathy Helvey: One thing that hit me yesterday but more today was the “Our Father who art in heaven, holy or hallowed be Thy name.” Start there. That hit me yesterday. I’ve been trying to weave that into my prayer life. What hit me today was if we really do that every time or more often than not, by the time we get to what we really are wanting to petition God for or ask Him for, it probably won’t be that significant. Now I don’t know. I have just begun.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: It sure puts things in perspective and in proportion.

Kathy: It should.

Nancy: Our needs certainly wouldn’t seem quite as overwhelming if we could see it in the context of God’s glory.

Kathy: He's a sovereign, wise, loving God, omniscient, omnipresent, all powerful. If we went there first, by the time we get to “and I’m really hurt about this,” or “I really am having a hard time forgiving.” In light of what we just recognized about who God is and who we’re talking to, it would get it into perspective.

I’m excited about trying it and seeing life change in my prayer life with it.

Holly: Kathy, what you’re saying about getting to God first and getting perspective on the rest of what you’re praying about, I think, ties in so well to what Nancy’s been teaching on when we think about the whole concept of "Thy will being done on earth as it is in heaven."

I was thinking about that today as Nancy was teaching on that whole thought of "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." I was just so conscious of the fact that as I pray to constantly ask God to overrule my will if it’s not in accordance with His. This is what we see Christ doing in the garden when He comes and He says, “Father my will would be let this cup pass from me.” But the bottom line was always, “Your will be done.”

I talk so much with women who are struggling and trying to work through what they know God is telling them is right, but it’s really hard to do it; so they wrestle with what God’s will is. Even if they know it in their heads, the actual doing it is so hard sometimes.

The concepts that we’ve been talking about about:

  • first seeing God as Father
  • then getting to Him for perspective
  • then just the simple act of praying, “God would You overrule my will because what I really want is for Your will to be done.”

That whole cycle I think is so critical in the life of women because we’re so often ruled by our emotion rather than by God’s Spirit.

Kim Wagner: That’s so true Holly. As you were speaking about that, it just reminded me again of . . . just let me put in a plug for Nancy’s book on surrender because that is the heart of the issue—being willing to surrender our wills, our aspirations, our agenda to God’s.

We find out what God’s will is through His Word, through walking in His Word, learning His ways. But even if you have it all in your head, it still comes down to that issue of surrender.

Holly: Actually, as Nancy was teaching on this today, I wrote in the margin of my notes in big letters SURRENDER because that really is the bottom line of that.

Kathy: One part of Nancy’s notes says, “To do His will is my delight.” I had to write a big “K” by that with a circle.

Nancy: Like “K” for Kathy?

Kathy: Yes.

Nancy: Like pay attention to this?

Kathy: Yes. What I put there was, “This is a very soul-searching question.” I thought, Do I? Do I delight to do Your will? And just to be honest here with friends, I would have to say no. Sometimes I do it out of reverence and out of fear. I’ve been taught to do that because I know it’s the best thing for me to let go of that hurt. But I can’t honestly say (was it David who said that?), "I delight to do Your will."

It just caused an ache in my heart as I sat there and I thought, But God, You know that. I had to even go further and think, Sometimes I might have the audacity to think I’m doing God a favor when I obey or when I do the right thing. Doing God a favor?

Romans 11:34 came to my mind. That’s the part that says, “Who has known the mind of God, that we should be his counselor." 

So no matter what I’m praying or what I’m asking for, to get to that point of saying, “God, this is what I want. This is what I think my children need. This is what I would so desire. This is what it even says in Your Word that I can trust You for. But in terms of Your timing and what You’re doing in my life or theirs or this situation, You know best. Your will be done.”

And there is a peace that passes all understanding that really comes if I can get to that point.

Nancy: Okay, how does that fit in with making bold requests to the Lord? I had a woman come to me after that session, a grandmother, with tears in her eyes. She has for years and years and years prayed earnestly, fervently, faithfully for the salvation of her grandchildren and other family members. You can tell this is something she wants very desperately for God’s sake and for His name’s sake, for His glory.

She said to me, “Is it okay to say, ‘Lord, I need You to do this’?” How bold can we be? Or do we just have to give mousy little petitions and say, “But if it be Your will or Your will be done.” Where’s the balance there of being bold about things we believe to be God’s will and then just being surrendered and relinquished about perhaps it not being God’s will?

Kim: Well, I think that we can be bold in that kind of request because we know God desires the whole earth to be filled with His glory. It will glorify Him for people to respond to Him, to surrender their lives to Him. So I think we can be bold in that type of request with God.

Holly: I think as Kathy said a second ago, if it’s something clearly in God’s Word that is a promise that He has told us He is in agreement with, then I think we can be really bold when we come to Him and say, “Father You say this in Your Word. Would You accomplish that in the life of this person or that person here on earth?”

Kathy: I think what I need to let go of is my expectation of the timing of that because it may take years for those grandchildren to come to know the Lord. She may be in heaven with the Father seeing it happen. But that’s where I think the relinquishment and the surrender comes in. As we come boldly, pray according to God’s will and then end it with, “But Your will be done.”

Maria Johnson: I know I read recently of a missionary that prayed and prayed that God would send her a husband to the foreign mission field. She said, "I know God told him, but he didn't listen."

That's hard for us. The temptation is to think that God has not been faithful. But I think if we, as Nancy said earlier, had God's perspective of how many times He nudged or made opportunity, we would be shocked at how faithful God is.

I know in my own life there were many, many times I heard Scriptures in my head, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock." Well, that's for believers. I stomped my foot and said, "Leave me alone, God!" I shutter that God didn't strike me dead then, but He didn't, and He was faithful. I don't know who possibly was praying for me from my background, but I trust that someone was. And God was merciful.

I think the temptation is to think God isn’t answering because we can’t see it. But we know from His character that He’s faithful and He’s good and all that He does is good. We just have to camp there and keep our eyes on Him. I don’t know when You’re going to do it Lord, but I know You’ve heard me. I know You have heard me.

Nancy: How does a woman pray who is in a terrible marriage, as is a woman I just talked to after a session today, after our recording? This is day after day after day living with a man who is horribly disregarding God, making life extremely difficult. She wants to be right before God, wants to please the Lord with her life, wants God to be glorified in her family and in her marriage.

How does that woman pray not just one day but on and on and on? As it relates to the Lord’s Prayer and God’s will being done and God’s kingdom coming, how does that woman pray faithfully? What should be her perspective as she prays for God’s will in her family?

Holly: There are moments where we just wrestle with getting to the point where we are willing to agree with God and then beyond that there are moments when we wrestle with being willing to stay where God has us because His will, His perfect will, may not happen when we are ready for it to happen. Sometimes it’s a long haul; it’s a perseverance that takes years. I know that is so depressing to the wife who is listening saying, “I don’t think I can go years like this. I don’t even think I can go months like this.”

As you were teaching earlier on the whole issue of doing God’s will, knowing God’s will, I was thinking about Proverbs 28. “Those who seek the Lord will understand all things” (v. 5 NASB). Now I don’t think that that means I’m going to know what’s going to happen in five years. But I do believe that that teaches us that if we will every day as Kathy said get up with the lifestyle mindset of “Father, I want to glorify You. I want Your will to be done in my life.”

And that really does become a lifestyle where the cry of our heart is “Father, I want Your will to be done.” I believe God will give us understanding on how we are to live that day in the center of His will even if it is months or years before He really answers our concern. I believe if we seek the Lord we will have understanding of what our posture is to be at that moment, in that day, in that encounter with that difficult husband or the children or another individual in our life who is difficult to relate to. God will give us wisdom for that moment and that day.

Maria: I would say sometimes we have to get a really small perspective of what’s expected of me right now and not look at, “Is this going to last forever?” Sometimes it’s as simple as, “Father forgive them. They know not what they do.” The real enemy is Satan. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but principalities and powers.

So sometimes in a situation like that it’s helpful to think in little increments. What does God require of me? Forgive as the Father forgave me. Well, that’s over and over and over. It’s not returning evil for evil but good. Sometimes that good that we can return is simply praying for them or to not hold a grudge, not to tell other people their sin. There’s a temptation to do that when you’re in a difficult situation.

And then rejoice always. What in the world can you rejoice for when you’re in a situation like this? Well, God is still on the throne. He’s given light, air, and water. Sometimes it’s just thanking Him that you can take the next step. I mean that gets pretty small, but that’s all you can deal with at that time.

So it’s not looking at the big picture, how long it’s gone on, how long will it last. It’s what will please the Father right now. And sometimes it’s just "rejoice always, God is on the throne." "In everything give thanks." "It’s not over until it’s over." And "pray without ceasing" (see Phil. 4:4–7). So I know in my life in the hard times I have to make smaller increments to deal with.

Nancy: Because God’s grace is here for you for this moment and there’s not the grace here for tomorrow or next month or next year. I think the enemy tends to get us to think ahead and to be overwhelmed by tomorrow’s troubles than just getting God’s grace for this moment’s trouble.

Holly: I do think the flip side to that is that sometimes we’re wrestling with having grace for where we know God’s will is. Sometimes we’re just wrestling with agreeing with God’s will. The quote you used by Barkley where we said the issue is that if we understood from God’s perspective, we would know that His will was best. But so many times we’re at war with what God’s will is.

I think I mentioned this to you the other day Nancy, but I had a long conversation with a lady last week. She started out the conversation by saying, “A couple of years ago God told me to divorce my husband, and I did that. Now I’m really angry because he’s dating someone else, and I think he may pursue this other relationship. I just don’t think it’s fair that he’s moving on with his life. Since he’s a believer and I’m a believer and neither one of us are remarried, shouldn’t he be pursuing me to restore our marriage?”

The more I listened to her the more I thought, This is a woman who wants God’s will when it fits what she has predetermined is good for her life. But if it’s something that’s currently going on and she doesn’t feel like it fits what she wants for her life, then she’s not happy with it.

I just had to take her back to the picture of Scripture being the only guideline for what God’s will is. It’s not that I decide at this moment what feels right to me is necessarily God’s will. If I make a choice out of what feels right to me and it’s in violation of God’s perfect will and His Word, then there are going to be consequences in my life that I’m going to deal with later.

And yes, I can get in the center of God’s will again and allow Him to teach me how to live in that, but I may still have consequences for a long time.

Nancy: I may first need to repent of having made choices that were contrary to God’s will.

Holly: I may need to go back and recognize that I was calling it God’s will and assuming that He was telling me to do it. But if it violates His Word, it was not God’s will. I think women are very confused on how we get to know God’s will. I think a real critical question is as a woman, “How do I even know if I’m really hearing from the Lord about what His will is?”

Kathy: I think we as believers need to see it through God’s eyes. Even though we don’t understand why all of this is happening, He knows it. To me it helps me to have hope and to relax.

Holly: Even as we teach and train our kids. We live in a neighborhood where we have probably six or seven nationalities represented on our street. The vast majority of our neighbors are not Christians; they’re not believers.

I’ve been able to have such valuable conversations with my children about what our stance is to be as believers as we relate to people who don’t understand that kingdom and are governed by a totally different set of rules in their thinking, in their speech, in their motivations, in their attitudes and what they pursue, what’s important to them. It has been really incredible to see my nine-year-old saying, “Well mom, they just don’t have the same set of rules or standards that we have, and they can’t because they don’t know Jesus.”

So the understanding is that we’re living in the midst of a kingdom that is not the one we’re ultimately going to live in but that while we’re here on earth, we have responsibilities. Because we’re going to be in a different kingdom, it affects how we relate to other people in this one.

Nancy: We are ambassadors of Christ’s kingdom living in a foreign kingdom.

Holly: Right, which goes back to what we talked about earlier. If we do not look different and if we’re not distinctive, how will they ever know that there’s a different kingdom?

Kim: For two years I had a young teenage girl student. She was not a believer at the time, but she had grown up in church, believed she was, thought she was a Christian. We kept coming into conflict over different issues, world issues, that she would say, “This is no big deal. This really doesn’t matter.”

I kept trying to point out to her that the source of what she was soaking up and viewing comes from another kingdom. It’s not biblical. It is in opposition to Christ. I received a letter from this teenage girl this morning where she says, “Thank you that you’ve taught me so much not only about the Bible but mostly just about how to live it.”

This is a girl that when I first met her was hostile to biblical thinking. We do forget that we are in a battle and the lost are not our enemies at all. They’re the ones that we’re sent to seek and to lead to salvation. We should expect lost people to act lost, but we just need to give them a new pair of glasses, a new world view, to allow them to glimpse into the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God and see that it’s so much more than what they’re living on.

It’s like they’re eating gravel, and we’re going to offer them living water. We need to keep that perspective that we’re dealing with two kingdoms. Every day our purpose as we wake up in the morning is to see His will be done, to see His kingdom come, and that we’re presenting His kingdom to everyone we encounter—our family, our friends, anyone we encounter.

Holly: I think it’s so critical to realize that as we recognize they’re two different kingdoms, as we recognize that there are other people who are outside that kingdom, then we have the freedom to love them wherever they are and to see them come to understand the truth.

One of our neighbors, a little nine-year-old girl who’s my daughter’s friend, came to Christ about two weeks ago and was baptized last night. The other day she came down (she was standing in my garage eating a popsicle) and said to me, “The Bible is so fun.” She said, “I’ve learned so much.”

Then she said, “I’ve been in church my whole life. [They were from another denomination.] But since I got to know Jesus, everything makes sense to me now.” I just went in my house and just wept because I thought, “That is so precious that at nine years old she understands that she can now pick up her Bible and it will make sense to her because she is now living in a different kingdom than the one here on earth.”

Kim: For the first time in her life she can see.

Holly: Right.

Leslie Basham: Holly Elliff has been telling us the story of two kingdoms in conflict and a young woman who chose the kingdom of life. Kim Wagner, Maria Johnson, and the late Kathy Helvey were also part of that conversation with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

You heard them referring to various portions of Nancy’s teaching on the Lord’s Prayer. We’ve been hearing that teaching over the last few weeks here on Revive Our Hearts. If you’ve missed any of the programs you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com. There, you can download the audio or read the transcript. You can also listen on the Revive Our Hearts mobile app.

During this series, we’ve been exploring the importance of praying for God’s Kingdom to come and God’s will to be done. And isn’t it obvious we desperately need to see God’s kingdom to come in these days marked by violence and division? You have the opportunity to pray for God’s will in a unique way. We’re inviting you to come together with thousands of other women and seek God’s kingdom. Here’s Nancy to tell you more about it.

Nancy: At the Cry Out! National Prayer Event for Women, we will be joining together to ask Him to show His power to transform hearts and to radically change families, communities, and even entire nations. I’ll be crying out with all the women gathered in Indianapolis that weekend for the True Woman '16 Conference. On the Friday evening of that conference, we’re asking groups to join us by mean of simulcast in thousands of locations across the nation and even around the globe.

You can visit ReviveOurHearts.com to learn more about this national prayer event for women, Cry Out!, and you can also sign up to host a group in your area. This could be at your church; it could be in your home, or some other venue. When you go to ReviveOurHearts.com, we’ll give you instructions on how you can join the Cry Out! simulcast and how you can join your hearts in prayer with us.

Leslie: Thanks Nancy. Isn’t it amazing that God oversees the entire universe yet cares about your particular needs? If the enormity of that hasn’t sunk in, listen tomorrow when Nancy talks about the provision of God on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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