Once we are saved, we don't just float through our days hoping to catch God in a good mood when He is willing to answer prayer or provide for our needs. His word gives us many things we can do continually to set His hand in motion.
Open your Bible to some of the verses where God states the promises He is willing to bestow on His children. For instance, Deuteronomy 28 is filled with blessings. What do you notice about how this chapter begins?
"Now it shall come to pass, If you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God…"
Then, at the end of the blessings section of this chapter (verse 13) what do we see again? "And the Lord shall make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only and not be beneath, IF you heed the commandments of the Lord your God…"
If we do what God instructs us to do then He will give us all He has promised to give. This if/then type of promise is called a covenant promise. It operates the same as when an attorney draws up a contract between two people. One party agrees to do a particular thing and - after it is done - a second party agrees to do something else. God empowers us to have control of certain circumstances by offering us these covenant promises or blessings.
You Go First
God usually wants us to take the action He has laid out in His word before we are rewarded. He empowers us to do what we should then rewards us once we have done it.
Luke chapter six holds other good examples of ways God has empowered us. In verse 37, Jesus instructs, "Judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned."
Verse 38 continues in the same way by saying, "Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over; men shall give unto your bosom. For with the same measure you use, it shall be measured back to you."
Again, we go first. If we give, we shall receive. Whatever measure we use to give to God, that's the same measure He will use to give to us. We have the control. We make the first move.
I Peter 3:7 shows yet another good example. "Husbands, likewise, dwell with [your wives] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered."
When husbands treat their wives as God says they should, they give more power to their prayers. The husband's prayers are not hindered because of his actions. If he treats his wife in an ungodly manner, his prayer will be hindered. In this example, the husband has the power.
As you read through your Bible this week, make note of the times God empowers us. You may want to make a list or mark the verses in your Bible as you find them so you can remember when to act and what to do to release God's best in your life. Many times our actions are all that stand in the way of answered prayers. Is God waiting on you?