Exchanging Normal Thinking for Uncommon Thoughts
Unable to Return the Way You Left – Part 2
There’s an Old Testament practice that I’ve found most useful when it comes to the exercise of prayer. When we enter prayer, our family has learned over the years to never leave the same way we entered. I like to think of it this way. Why would a person go to pray and 1) expect to come out the same way and 2) to have the same results that not praying would yield?
The Normal Exchange – You can exchange what’s normal for what’s uncommon.
This practice is called the “normal exchange.” We exchange normal for the “uncommon”, what the Bible calls “holy.”
It’s said that in Old Testament times when the people entered the place for prayer, they could come into the building using the north entrance, but had to exit using the south entrance. If they entered from the south, they must exit via the north. The rule was set in place so that they never would leave using the same way they entered. 1 In the same way, we’ve decided not to leave prayer the same way we came in. There’s some normal, natural, ordinary thinking that must be left behind so that we can come out with some uncommon, beyond natural, and extraordinary thinking.
When one encounters God, the proof is that one’s thoughts, ways, and plans are made better than when one went in. In other words, you make an exchange of your normal, natural way of thinking for His uncommon, bigger than life way of thinking.2 We go in with one mindset, challenge, problem, or idea, but we come out with His. That’s prayer. Prayer isn’t what normal people think it is, prayer is an uncommon exercise. In a moment I’ll give you a few examples of what I mean by this.
You can determine if you’ve spoken to God.
Let me say it like I want to so that I can leave an imprint in your thinking [to the left]. There’s no way you’ve spoken with God and your thoughts aren’t elevated beyond your “normal” thinking. If you want to know if you’ve heard from God, this is the way to evaluate it. Is what He says natural? Is it “common” to humanity or normal existence? What He says, it’s not natural nor is it common or normal. Why? He’s not normal, natural, nor common. He’s God! Is what He saying going beyond what you have the ability to think or accomplish on your own? Now you’ve heard from God. If prayer is our way of talking to God, then common would be a person who goes into prayer and expects natural results to occur.
I mentioned earlier that I’d give you a few examples. Now these examples are only good if you can answer the next few questions, “yes”.
Example 1: Did Abraham pray? If you answered “yes”, then, just by knowing what happened on the other side of Abraham’s prayer, were some uncommon, unnatural results that could have only come from an encounter from God. He went in one way, but came out a different way.
Example 2: Did Joseph pray? Yes, then you know that everywhere Joseph went, his steps were made prosperous by God, which is not normal. He went in an average person, but came out an exceptional one.
Example 3: Did Jesus pray? Yes! Then you know that there was no other way to explain Him being raised from the death. He went down like an ordinary person does, but He came up unlike anyone has ever.
Example 4: Did the disciples pray? Yes, then you already know they spread the message of faith from one end of the planet to the other and it continues today. They established a relationship with Jesus, went in as ordinary fishermen and came out establishing His church in the earth.
I’m certain you can continue with hundreds of examples like I can. Moses was so impacted by God that it not only changed his thinking, but it changed his appearance. The point is this. When you encounter Him in prayer, you come in one way, but you leave changed.
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Reference #1: Ezekiel 46:9 NLT, Bible.com, accessed January 12, 2021, http://bible.com/116/ezk.46.9.nlt
Reference #2: Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT, Bible.com, accessed January 12, 2021, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/ISA.55.8-9.NLT
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.