When I began leading home Bible studies, I found one thing was essential if I were to depend upon the Spirit. I needed to pray until I was confident that the Lord would help. Then I taught with assurance that the Spirit was directing my thoughts. When I failed to prepare myself through believing, I discovered I was looking for signs that those in the class had profited. If there were none, it was easy to become discouraged. However, when I trusted God to help, I could leave the results with Him. The secret was to keep my focus on the Lord and not on the people.
One day one of the ladies said, "I guess you're becoming discouraged with us." I don't recall what I said, but I remember thinking, Oh, no, I'm not looking at your progress; I'm looking to the Lord. I didn't become discouraged as long as my concern was, "Am I trusting Him to lead?"
I recall classes in our home Bible studies when we would come near the end of our session, and I would think, Lord, this has all been so ordinary. It seems to have all been done in my own strength. I prayed until I knew You would help, but I haven't sensed that help. God never failed. Sometimes in those final moments, maybe even in a closing prayer, I sensed that special supernatural touch on our time together.
"You can do more than pray after you have prayed," said A. J. Gordon, "but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed." I've learned to consider my real work to be my prayer time. The reason is simple: Only after I've taken my need to God, discerned how to ask specifically, and persevered until He helped me to believe can I rest from my own works and enter into His.
Thank You, Jesus, that an inner looking to You protects me from stress. Help me to remember that the Spirit gives life, but the flesh counts for nothing.
"My eyes are ever on the Lord" (Psalm 25:15).