Here’s the secret. What to expect when you pray: Something. Anything.
God is always there, waiting for you to truly enter into His presence. A devotional I’m doing (Rooted) explains it this way: you can sit down for a meal with somebody, but not really enter into each other’s presence. You can sit and be in your own world, and finish the meal without really even acknowledging the other person. God is always there, we just need to seek companionship.
So, when you pray, be expectant. Whether that means expecting God to answer you, to comfort you, or just expect to meet with Him. He will always outdo you. No expectation is grand enough for God.
This is real life, guys. I feel so strongly that God wants us to be expectant, that He wants to work beyond what we could even imagine. He is doing that in my heart right now, and I want him to in yours to. Here is my story of God exceeding my expectations:
My husband and I got together with a small group of people last night to pray. We prayed together, and then individually for an hour. And I was expectant. I know that God speaks most strongly to me (personally) through scripture. But I have always felt like I wanted to hear Him in a different, “better way”. Like the person who hears the voice, or says “God just told me this”. I wanted to hear God’s voice. I expected to.
I didn’t know what God was going to tell me or work out in my heart, but I knew He would do something. And he did. Before the individual prayer, another gal and I talked about this verse (Romans 8:26):
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
We talked about how even when we do not know what to pray, or how to dig deep enough, the holy spirit intercedes for us. I quoted the verse but could not remember where it was in the bible. When I went to pray individually, I opened to read Romans 8:28, but decided to read around it. I was shocked to see the verse we had just talked about right there. I meditated on Romans 8 the whole time, praying and working my way through it.
When we got back, my husband told me he had been reading Romans 8. And the woman I had been talking to had been in Romans 8 as well. If that isn’t God speaking to me, I don’t know what the heck is. I didn’t hear a booming voice, but I know God was working in me. Speaking to me, taking my trust and sureness In Him beyond the borders I had set myself.
Another group member, who loathes speaking in front of others in a group setting, bravely shared his prayer experience. He prayed, and expected an answer. Time went by, and nothing. He kept checking his watch. Finally, close to the end, he got down on his hands and knees, and told God He was waiting. And God revealed himself to him, and worked some things out.
Is anyone else fired up about this? Just me? That’s ok, I don’t care. Because I know that my God will always exceed my expectations. That I need to enter into His presence expectantly. You can too.
Pray expectantly. Ask abundantly. Have daring faith. Be sure of Him.
FOR I AM SURE that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)