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Intersection of Life and Faith

How Can I Pray Like Her? How Can I Hear from God, Too?

Carlos Whittaker

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety. 

"First of all, prayer for me, growing up, was always really... The people who loved to pray were the 65 year old women in my church that were part of the prayer ministry. I was like, 'Gosh, no wonder I thought prayer...' then maybe when I turned 24, I remember her name was Sue, she was a prayer minister in my church at the time and she fit the prototypical prayer minister lady. That was when I first started having some anxiety, and she came and she prayed for me. I remember feeling the Holy Spirit like I'd never felt before and I was like, suddenly it went from like, 'Oh, those cute old ladies are praying', to, 'How can I pray like her?' This is a brand new sensation for me.

So began my journey to figure out what prayer really was. I've come to a place and an understanding where prayer is not a speech to God. That's what I'd been doing, I'd been giving speeches to God, or throwing up shotgun prayers and hoping one of them hits. As much as it is a conversation. In a conversation, two people are talking. It's proven scientifically that when you're speaking you can't hear. So if you're talking to somebody and someone's talking to you back, and if you're talking you're not hearing anything that they're saying.

So suddenly prayer, for anyone listening, it needs to shift from you talking to you talking and then you listening. How can I really hear from God? What if I've never heard ... I always hear people saying, 'I heard from God.' But I've never heard from God. Well, start simple, start by asking God simple things. If you're in a conversation with somebody, this is where I started, I started asking Jesus ... I would write in my journal, "Jesus... "

A journal is another huge thing if you want to learn to pray, journal, journal, journal, journal. But I would write in my journal, 'Jesus, do you want me to go to Chipotle for lunch or do you want me to go to Chick-fil-A?' I would write that down. It sounds crazy, but it would blow my mind because I would just kind of feel, you know, again this is hearing from God, again, from different ways, like, I would just kind of feel a sense like, 'Oh, Chipotle.' I was like, 'Okay, I'm going to go to Chipotle.'

People may think I'm crazy by saying, 'Jesus told me to go to Chipotle.' But I would start going to Chipotle or Chick-fil-A or wherever I would feel him go. Every single time at these spaces that I would go, I would run into an opportunity that I know he had preordained before I got there, whether it be a conversation with somebody, whether it be ... Oh, this just happened the other day. So my friend Marcus is here in town, in Nashville, and he goes, 'Hey, man ...' We're having coffee, he's like, 'Are you hungry?' I say, 'Yeah.' We were actually talking a little bit about prayer. He's like, 'Where do you want to go to lunch?' I go, 'Well, let's ask Jesus.' Again, he looked at me like I'm nuts. He said, 'Why would Jesus care where we go to lunch?' I was like, 'Because he cares about everything.' 'Yeah, you're right, I believe that, so let's pray.'

So we prayed, and Marcus said, 'Oh, I feel like he said, 'Let's go to Thai Phooket.'' Which is a Thai restaurant. I said, 'Okay, let's go.' We go to Thai Phooket. This was three days ago. We're there, we're having pad Thai, we leave the restaurant, we're walking to our cars, kind of giving each other a hug, and this guy walks out of Thai Phooket and walks up to Marcus, and says, 'Hey man, do you ever like set up shop at Crema?' This coffee shop here in Nashville. Marcus was like, 'Yeah.' He's like, 'I saw you there the other day, and the Holy Spirit just really put you on my heart. I don't even know who you are, but I prayed for you as you walked out, and I just saw you here at Thai Phooket, and obviously this is just weird, I would never do this, but can I pray for you?' Marcus looked at me like... And I was like, 'See, see. He cares about the small things.'

So this is supposed to be normal. But again, it blows our minds. But Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God the Father has ordained our life to be in conversational intimacy with him. When we do it every single day we're going to have these mind-blowing experiences all the time, it's really cool."

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