EXPECT TO BE EMPOWERED
“One of our greatest spiritual shortcomings is low expectations. We don’t expect much from God because we aren’t asking for much… Low expectations are the by-product of prayerlessness, but prayer has a way of God-sizing our expectations.” - Mark Batterson
Have you ever been disappointed by a relationship that you had high hopes for? Most of us have experienced this kind of hurt. It’s easy for that hurt to become a cynicism that causes us to put limits around our hopes for relationships, in an effort to self-protect.
Sometimes we use the same self-protecting strategy in our relationship with God. Maybe you’ve asked God for something specific that didn’t happen. Have you lowered your expectations from God without even realizing it? God doesn’t promise to give us everything that we want, but he does promise to give us exactly what we need to live the life he is calling us to.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3, NIV).
When Jesus prayed after he was baptized by John, Luke tells us that the Holy Spirit descended on him (Luke 3:21-22). After that encounter with the Holy Spirit, Jesus began his ministry of teaching, healing, and miracles. While he was praying, Jesus was being empowered by the Holy Spirit to do what God was calling him to.
On the night before he died, Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, struggling to say yes to his Father’s will. The Father sent help, and Jesus was empowered to do the hardest ask of his life—submit to an undeserved, shameful death on a cross (Luke 22:42-44).
What do you expect when you pray? Answers? Silence? Absolution? Peace? What about power? Do you expect to see, to feel and to receive the power of the Holy Spirit when you pray? Because that is what Christ promised his followers in Acts 1:7-8. When we expect God to show up in power, prayer becomes a pathway for heaven to come down to earth.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NLT).
Through prayer, anything is possible. We can expect the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, to speak to us, and to move in supernatural ways. We can expect miracles and to experience the glory of God. The Holy Spirit comes to empower us to do what we cannot do on our own—to walk in the will of the Father, to understand truth, to act in obedience and love even when we don’t understand, and to co-labor with God to bring about his Kingdom and restoration on earth.
Let’s God-size our expectations as we press into prayer this Lent season.
Questions for Contemplation:
- What do you expect when you pray?
- What are things that you wish you could do for God, but feel that you can’t in your own strength?
- What do you want to ask the Holy Spirit to do in you and through you?
- Invite the Holy Spirit into your prayer time.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit would show you what God wants you to do today in the places and relationships that God has you in right now.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit would fill you to overflowing with the love and power of God, so that you overflow into those around you.