In the depths of my wilderness season, I reached out to a friend for perspective. Her tender words as I asked over and over “why was God ignoring me,” “why was the answer to every pray no” still resonate with me years later. Her response was exactly what I needed to hear. She said I don’t know the answer to the why, but I do know that God’s character is bigger than you are seeing. My sweet friend suggested that instead of praying I spend some time in scripture reading about who God says He is. Her suggestion hinted to me to take a deeper look not only at scripture but at my life and to see if God was more present than I was giving Him credit for.
I began a practice that day of identifying the names God calls Himself and applying it to my life. I often refer to Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide by Ann Spangler to guide my study.
I Learned to Delight in God by Praying his Names
The God Who Sees Me- El Roi Genesis 16:13-14 I love this story of Hagar. Hagar was Egyptian, and I have often wondered if she named Yahweh El Roi because she had prayed to all the gods she grew up with without response. In my wilderness season, I clung to this story and claimed El Roi as my God as well.
Provider- Jehovah-Jireh God supplies all our needs, He is our provider. Dealing with a renter who not only didn’t pay her rent but also ran up the utilities was terrifying. Living 9 hours away I had put my trust in a realtor who didn’t seem to think there was a problem with my “friend” being a few months late on rent. As I watched our savings dwindle down to nothing, I became angry. How could God say he is a provider and not provide for a way out of this nightmare? As I dug into scripture, it was clear I was missing the bigger picture. My desire may be to sell a house and be rid of a terrible renter, but my NEED is to have money to pay bills. In Genesis 22 we read the story of Abraham and Isaac. Author and speaker Angie Smith taught at IF: Gathering in 2016 that we need to remember that God provided a ram for Abraham. It was what he needed at the moment.
This is such an important reminder for those moments when we’re taking those brave steps down a foggy path. God asks us to trust him, but he doesn’t set us up to fail.
I AM- Yahweh I’ll be honest, I’ve wrestled with this one a lot. I AM WHO I AM in Exodus 13:4 has felt like a cruel statement at times. Now I realize this is God stating the truth. God is present. He exists always, and His ways are greater than ours. There is comfort for me now in this name for God. He wins in the end, and He has been around since the beginning.
The Lord Who Heals- Yahweh Rophe David writes a glorious praise in Psalm 103 about our healer. Ann Spangler says “God called the Israelites to rely on Him for protection from sickness by following his commandments and statuses instead of common day witchcraft. I’ve battled with Hypothyroidism for years. In my most difficult seasons I felt as if I was barely functional. I’ve wrestled to understand why God allows chronic illnesses. Yes, as many others will attest to, it is in our weaknesses that often discover the fullness of God’s strength.
Lord Master- Adonay Ann Spanger writes “Often we flip this and expect God to act as our servant, which is likely why we have unanswered prayers.” Adonay implies a relationship where we are a servant, and God is Lord. Psalms 16 is a prayer of surrender. David says “I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” I say of the holy people who are in the land, “They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
I don’t know all the reasons God doesn’t answer prayers, but I do know when we demand our life to go a certain way we aren’t living surrendered and we aren’t allowing God to be Lord. In the midst of our move to Virginia Ordell and I had both been praying to live a life surrendered to the call He has for us. We continue to pray that prayer. When we keep God as Lord, as Adonay life always seems to be more amazing than we dreamed.
I’m linking up with Mrs. Disciple to talk about the Five Names of God. This post is part of a series I wrote in 2016 on 31 Days of Delight. I’m slowly updating posts for freshness, accuracy, and completeness.