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L.O.V.E. (Let Our Voices Encourage) Devotions

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Ask, Expect and Receive

“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

After years of him being stationed in many different places, my husband decided to leave the U.S. Army. Suddenly, our family was faced with a decision we had never made before: Where should we live?

Colorado, where we could hit the slopes all winter?

Vermont, where the trees don rainbow leaves in the fall?

Montana, where an outdoor paradise was waiting to be explored?

We prayed as we made the decision. The options felt endless! Arkansas was not at the top of our list; however, that’s exactly where God provided my husband with his first civilian job. God’s answer was different than we expected. At the time, His provision was hard to receive.

But in faith, we packed up and moved far away, where we would learn that God had answered our prayers even before we prayed them.

Because God moved us to Arkansas, we were close enough to be with my dad when he unexpectedly died of terminal cancer. Because God moved us to Arkansas, we were able to live next door to my best friend from high school, who supported me during my darkest days. God used many “because God moved us to Arkansas” moments to remind me that His answers are good even when they’re different than I expect.

It reminds me of the story of a brown-eyed Irish girl who desperately wanted blue eyes. She prayed and prayed, asking God to change the color of her eyes, but each morning when she looked in the mirror, she found that her eyes were still brown.

Yet years later, God would use those brown eyes to break down barriers as she shared the gospel with thousands of children in India. Looking into their eyes that were just like hers, missionary Amy Carmichael realized that God had answered her childhood prayers exactly as He ought. She asked, and God provided, even if it wasn’t what she expected.

But why should we spend time praying if God doesn’t always answer the way we want? One reason we pray is because it strengthens our relationship with God and reveals to us God’s heart.

And it also reminds us we can rejoice and thank Him in all circumstances, even if they’re undesirable.

“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

We’re to pray and give thanks in all circumstances because He wants us to present our desires to Him as an act of humility and trust. By asking, we’re trusting that He is a good Father who gives us what we need. God might not answer our prayers the way we expect Him to, but He always answers our prayers the way He ought to.

Looking back on my prayers during our moving process, I can now see that God really did hear and answer my request. I think Amy would say the same about her prayers for blue eyes — that God always knows best. May His goodness give us the confidence to come before Him, ask according to His will, and receive His provision with humble hearts — even when it’s not what we expect.

Father, help me to pray continually, drawing near to Your throne to receive mercy and find grace in my time of need. Enable me, by Your Spirit, to present all of my requests to You, knowing that You are my provider. Help me to receive Your provision with a humble heart. Thank You, Lord, for the greatest provision You have ever given me: the person of Your Son, Jesus. I pray these things in Jesus' Name, Amen.

brenda x


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