“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.”
-Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)
Prayer should be with you throughout this whole process. It has already been mentioned, but it is worth having its own step. It is that important. Martin Luther King Jr. probably needs no introduction. But, King led the civil rights movement in the U.S.. His words ring true today just as they did then. If he had not been born, I believe that the movement for race equality in the U.S. would have still happened, but it would have been longer and more violent. King is seen often as an activist, but prayer was very important to him in every step he took. He once said that “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
Likewise, you too can do amazing things just like Martin Luther King Jr.. However, without prayer and an honest attempt to follow God’s will for your life, all of your efforts will be in vain. It does not matter how you pray. Whether you pray from the Psalms, a liturgy, or your own heart, just make sure you pray and pray often.
Also, we must listen. I think this (and consistency) is the hardest part of praying for me. Since prayer is communion with God, we cannot pray if you are only speaking to Him. we must also quiet yourselves and listen to His faint whisper into our lives. For me, I need to keep a prayer journal to write down what I feel like God is saying to me. Then, I can look it over and see if it coincides with biblical principles. God will not tell you something that disagrees with the Bible. If you are anything like me, the more you try to listen to God, the clearer His voice will become in your life.
That being said, if you do not know, after honest efforts, what God is telling you, actively work to change things, and God will direct your efforts. As Charles Stanley said, “when God speaks, oftentimes His voice will call for an act of courage on our part… and yieldedness is vital in listening to what He has to say.”