I love long prayer walks. The beach is my favorite place, right at water’s edge. Mountains are a beautiful setting, but just breathing takes a lot of my attention. Wherever I walk, the time is always a treasured conversation with God—living out my word for this year, linger.
I talk with all of God—sometimes to the Father, other times to Jesus, also to the Holy Spirit. Or just to God or Lord. And even to various names He goes by—El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, Shepherd….
I invariably begin with a time for praise and thanks. Our God is so good, so worthy, so generous, so gracious. Last week I shared 7 Things God Loves to Hear from Me—some of the things I say to Him often.
And then I ask Him a question, or several, depending on what He has to say to me.
I always start with this first question, then go from there.
What do you want to say to me, Lord?
He opens—always—with words to affirm love and affection for me, of His pleasure with me. He tells me I am His daughter, His treasure, His beloved.
He usually gets specific about how I’m growing, where my life is looking like Jesus, a project I have done well, a situation I have responded well in….
These affirming words lead me to my next question:
Why me? Why are you so merciful, gracious, gentle, willing to use me?
Sometimes I think I hear Him chuckle. “Oh Judy, you know. I’m crazy about you. I love to do good to you, give gifts to you, see you shine. I made you the way I wanted you, with all those good works prepared for you. I love that you are seeking to do what I made you for—and I still have more waiting for you.”
What needs changing?
What do I need to work on? What is keeping me from being and doing all that you have for me right now?
These days He keeps reminding me I seem frazzled and fatigued. In a hurry, or too worn out to do the next thing. Am I doing things He hasn’t asked me to do? Or ignoring something he wants me to address?
What am I missing?
He whispers to me, “Remember, Judy, you can do nothing in your own strength, wisdom, even with the gifts I have given you. But I have given you, through the Holy Spirit, all that you need to do what I ask you to do
“Indeed,” he adds, “what I have called you to is impossible. But nothing is impossible for me. Let me fill you up, infuse you with my wisdom and creativity and unleash the power of the Spirit in and through you.”
What do you want me to do?
“First,” He replies, “roll those cares on me. Remember, your burden is heavy, but I will gladly take it off you and give you my light burden instead.”
“Stop for a bit.”
“Let’s go over that list of all you have to do.”
So He points out the things He didn’t ask me to. He assures me he is pleased with my progress on things I need to keep pursuing. And then He reminds me of the highest priorities. Yes, some tasks. But in reality the true priority is people he has asked me to love, encourage, shepherd.
I wish I did this every day, but the beach is not out my door. And life has many demands. This I know: when I make talking with Him a priority, when I linger with Him, when I ask what He wants for me more than I ask for what I want—my life changes.
I rest more. I listen more. I gain greater clarity. Peace increases. Energy expands.
Want to join me?
What about you? What questions do you ask God?
Judy Douglass is a writer, speaker and encourager. She partners with her husband, Steve, to lead Cru. A former magazine editor and author of five books, Judy travels the globe to love and encourage staff to believe God for the more He wants to do in and through them. She writes at “Kindling” and tweets @Jeedoo417