|Chicago's O'Hare Airport|
Imagine this. God speaks to you, telling you to plant a vegetable garden that will produce food for hungry people. What do you do upon hearing this? You look for a plot of land to plant the garden in. You go to Lowe's to buy seeds. You don't wait for any more "signs." You act on what God has told you to do.
Such acting is faith. It can seem irrational and risky. If it were not so, it would not be faith. Faith is not cognitive certainty. The only certainty faith has is that God will be with you. When we obey in faith we grow in our trust in God.
The adventure of life arises out of prayer-abiding in Christ. Jesus said if we would abide in him we will bear much fruit. This will include acting in obedience and faith. It is precisely these two things that Jesus-followers need to do:
1) dwell tight with Jesus;
and 2) respond in faith when he gives direction.
This is why precious little happens, comparatively, in the American church. Few take time to abide in Christ. "I'm too busy to pray" is the dark, faithless mantra of the American Christian. And if they do, few seem to obey because of the risks.
I think a lot of Jesus-following has the kind of dynamic we see when Jesus tells Peter to drop his fishing nets and follow after him. To follow Jesus is always to leave some nets behind. This is where many decide not to follow. They'd like to take it all with them.
Thomas Merton writes: "Our liberation, our solitude, our vision, our understanding and our salvation do not depend on anything remote from us or beyond our reach. Grace has been given us along with our good desires. What is needed is the faith to accept it and the energy to put our faith to work in situations that may not seem to us to be promising. The Holy Spirit will do the rest." (Contemplation In a World of Action)
From a human POV things may not look promising when Jesus calls us to drop whatever we're doing and follow him. Faith always looks like this. Acting in faith is interruptive activity. Don't wait for the Holy Spirit to empower you to act. Simply act when Jesus says "Go." It's then that we come to know, experientially, what it is to be empowered by the Spirit.
Everyone who spends time praying will experience this.