Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Prayer has always been a subject of interest to me. I am always trying to learn how to be more effective in prayer. I read books about it and study scriptures on prayer. However, I struggle with trying to implement everything I learn. There are many good suggestions on how to pray. I have to be careful about keeping prayer from becoming a ritual rather than a true connection with God. Prayer without passion seems useless.

I know that there is no one right way to pray. I know that everyone does it a little different. I find that writing out my prayers in a journal is effective in keeping me focused. However, I don't always do that because I don't always take time to hear what God is trying to say to me. I may simply write out all of my requests and head on my way.

I have heard of and used the ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) method at times as well. I do also pray silently as well as out loud. I guess a lot of it depends on my mood.

As mentioned above, one of my biggest struggles is with listening to God, being silent and still before him. I will ask God to share his will with me but my mind will go off on other thought tangents and it will be a struggle to get my mind refocused. It's one reason I try to avoid silent prayer - I tend to get distracted. Praying out loud or through a journal definitely keep me on track in this area.

I recently finished Jim Cymbala's Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire and it talked a lot about our need for prayer if we are to have any effect in our churches and communities. Some quotes:

If we call upon the Lord, he has promised in his Word to answer, to bring the unsaved to himself, to pour out his Spirit among us. If we don’t call upon the Lord, he has promised nothing – nothing at all. It’s as simple as that. No matter…what we claim to believe in our heads, the future will depend upon our times of prayer. P.27

God has chosen prayer as his channel of blessing. He has spread a table for us with every kind of wisdom, grace, and strength because he knows exactly what we need. But the only way we can get it is to pull up to the table and taste and see that the Lord is good. P.85

The apostles prayed for God to do supernatural things. They wanted people to know their belief was more than positional or theoretical. There was power in their faith. “O God, stretch out your hand – work with us in this.” They wanted a faith that was obviously alive, a faith based not just on the cross but also on the empty tomb. P.138-139

What we are dealing with today is an Old Testament “vow religion” comprised of endless repetitions and commands to do all the right things... There is little dependence on God’s power to make an ongoing difference. There is little calling upon God to revolutionize us in a supernatural way. P.139

I want God to work in my life. I want his power to be evident. I want a faith that others can see. I want to see God move in miraculous ways. I want more of God. We need more God. And how can that happen? By seeking him desperately and diligently through prayer. Our need should drive us to our knees, to call upon God in any and all circumstance. To believe that he is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine.

And that leads to another hang up. When we ask, we are to believe that we have (Mark 11:24). Sometimes I wonder if I truly trust and believe that God will work in the situation. I know that he can, but I wonder if he will come through. My faith is so small sometimes. I hear of people in Africa praying for a man who broke his ankle and him being miraculously healed as a result of their prayers. I want to witness prayer that powerful - to have prayers that powerful. Yet I lack the belief and faith and tenacity in prayer for that to happen. My desire is great, my will is weak. I acknowledge my deficit, how do I change?

Praise the Lord for his willingness to have mercy on me and to encourage me bit by bit! The other day I was struggling with the huge gap between my desire and my actions. I was asking him how I could have more effective prayer. At the end of my heartfelt call, I picked up the Bible and began to read. I felt urged to read in Luke (a book I am reading a little at a time) so I turned to where I had last stopped and God blessed me.

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
"Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
(Luke 11:9-13)

That was such an encouragement to read. To be reminded that I need to be persistent in my requests and that God is gracious to those who seek him.

No, I don't have it all figured out. I have the feeling that this is going to be a lifelong journey, but I am thankful that I have a loving God who will guide me along the way.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely understand your dilemma. I can remember one of my first adult Christian questions was "How do you know when God is speaking to you?" in other words, how do I know it's Him talking to me and not me thinking about what I'd like Him to say to me. And my grandfather, in all his wisdom, explained to me that you can only recognize a voice if you are familiar with talking to someone. in this case, you can more easily recognize God's voice if you're used to speaking with Him, via prayer. So I try to remain as close to Him in prayer as i can, so when He speaks, I can recognize His voice and listen.