Five years ago today I heard a still small voice that totally changed the direction of my life. It’s funny, I can tell you!
When God spoke this word to me in October 2016, I was the “Leadership & Missions Pastor” of our church and I was at a “Missions Leader Meeting” at Glen Eyrie, a beautiful retreat center in Colorado Springs, exactly where I was when I heard God’s voice, but I can’t tell you how I heard it. Was it something someone said? Was it a still small voice inside my head? The word, however, was loud and clear: “Jim, you think too much and you don’t pray enough.”
“Jim, You Think Too Much and You Don’t Pray Enough.”
I remember silently answering, “True. Guilty as charged!” But the voice did not condemn, it extended an invitation: “You can quit trying to figure everything out and start listening more closely to me.”
Acting on the Still Small Voice
I thought of a simple way to respond. I would begin taking ten minutes after lunch each day to pray for our church’s missions endeavors. So when I returned from Colorado, on my first day back in the office, after lunch I went to the little “prayer house” on the back of our church’s property to pray for missions. Sometimes our simple, practical responses are the most pivotal.
The first thing that came to my mind in that ten-minute prayer time was a challenge I was facing. It involved a missions issue, and for five years our senior pastor Happy and I had been trying to figure out what to do about this problem. So I did something—which I am embarrassed to admit—that I had not done before, I prayed about it.
I was surprised when God immediately spoke to me. He said, “Forget about changing that situation and instead get involved in reaching Muslim people in West Africa.” I then went to Happy and suggested that our church get involved with the work that the Maryville (TN) Vineyard had begun in West Africa. He responded, “How about you travel over there and check it out?” So, in February of 2017, I made my first visit to Côte d’Ivoire, a journey that totally changed the direction of my and my wife Vicki’s lives. But that is another story [include link to that story on my blog].
What I want to say today is that very often we think too much and don’t pray enough. Thinking is good. God wants us to think! But sometimes we don’t have the wisdom and insight we need, no matter how hard and long we think. We need to come to God who understands us and knows our lives and situations so much better than we do. Sometimes wisdom from God may not come right away. We may have to pray and wrestle through a situation. But there are also times, like mine five years ago, where several moments of praying and listening to God will get us further than five years of trying to figure things out on our own.
Where are you at today? Are you thinking too much and not praying enough? Is there a perplexing situation you haven’t been able to figure out? How about taking time to pray and listen to God’s voice? If you are ready to respond, he promises abundant wisdom to those who ask for it. (James 1:5)
This article on the still small voice originally appeared here, and is used by permission.