Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Prayer at the Drop of a Hat

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Beginning a  committed time to pray may take some adjustments and sacrifice. But, once the habit is established we position ourselves to seek and hear from God much deeper. This will become a precious time to begin each day, but will also equip us to face any challenges through the day we may face. Prayer will become your immediate reflex rather than your last resort.

Here are a few ideas in life that can become prompts to pray:

  • Newness:  Take time to pray whenever you begin something new. Pray at the start of each day, dedicate it to God asking for His cleansing, protection and guidance. Begin each new year, job or relationship seeking God's wisdom, help and direction.
  • Needs: God is able to meet any need. When we face physical, emotional or spiritual needs, may these prompt us to pray.
  • Blessings:  What has God done for you today? Daily He loads us with benefits and blessings. He protects us, forgives us and guides us. May we be ready to thank Him for all He does. This attitude of gratitude is pleasing to Him.
  • Burdens: We will face all types, but they can all be taken to the Lord. Burdens can crush our spirit, but may we allow them, but as we bring them to God, He can make them lighter.
  • Worry: We are reminded in Philippians 4:6-7 to not be anxious about anything, but go to the Lord in prayer. When worry or fear enters our minds and hearts, quickly turn it into a prayer to the God who sees and can bring peace.
  • Sin: Anything related to sin should prompt us to pray. Temptations or failures can be brought to the Lord and forgiven.
Allowing our circumstances to launch our prayers keeps in the strategic position of encountering God's response. 

Saturday, March 16, 2019

How Do We Schedule Prayer?

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There are many times in our life we are extremely motivated to pray. A crisis, hope, all consuming fear will drive us quickly to our knees. It is almost an instant reflex - a cry for help to the God who can.

But prayer and God is much more than a relief system, it is about a relationship - and they take time and effort. As we grow in the area of prayer, a daily time set aside to pray is a valuable and powerful tool in our walk with the Lord. 

I Thessalonians 5:17 encourages us to 'pray without ceasing'.  Although the constant action of prayer continually is not feasible, our attitudes can be in tune to talking or listening to God all through the day. It should become a natural part of our thinking, not only in our scheduled prayer time but through the chaos each day may bring. 

God desires that prayer become an ongoing opportunity we engage in by quietly praising, thanking and leaning on Him at any moment. But along with this constant attitude of prayer, there should be a daily commitment to pray. A time to intentionally focus only on prayer.  

Scheduling a prayer time reveals the priority we place on prayer. If we make a scheduled time to pray, we are less likely to forget to do it or put it off until a later time (which usually never happens). Anything important enough for us is something we make time for. The benefits of prayer are eternal treasures from the Word of God and the opportunity to talk with God our Father to share our hearts and needs. 

Will you determine today that prayer will be a priority? Will you make the choice to begin each day in prayer. Begin small and watch God multiply blessings in your life. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

A.C.T.S. Prayer Model

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There is such great freedom in prayer since it is simply communicating with God. If prayer were set on a schedule or with a formula, there wouldn't be any room for heartfelt expression. But if prayer is approached too casual, the effectiveness may be limited. What is the balance of freedom and structure?

Four broad types of prayer can be explained in the acronym A.C.T.S. Most every prayer will fall under one of these types. But a vibrant prayer life will probably incorporate each of these for a beautiful balance of remembering Who we are praying to, searching our hearts for anything that will hinder prayer, a time to be grateful and to think and support others.  These four types of prayer provide a useful and natural progression as we interact with the Lord. 

A.: Adoration is a prayer that praises and worships God. Through this type of prayer, we are not requesting anything from Him, merely adoring Him and honoring Him in our hearts. It turns our complete attention to proclaim Who God is, not simply what He can do for us. 
We are all wired to worship and we will give our hearts, attention, money, time and service to whatever we value the most. When we worship God wholeheartedly with our mouth and our lives we do the greatest thing for the greatest One. When we pray in adoration, our focus turns from ourselves, our situations, problems to the only One who is fully able to handle any situation or request. We are able to view all of life more properly when we've first prioritized praise.

C.: Confession is prayer that gets honest about sin. Getting right and staying pure before God is necessary to remain close to Him and be effective in prayer. God's Word, His Spirit and our conscience will reveal anything that is not right in our hearts. This exposing of sin is not to condemn us but an opportunity of grace to be washed and cleansed. 

T. Thanksgiving is God directed, humbly expressed gratitude. While praise focuses more on who God is, thanksgiving highlights what He has done. It is refreshing to pause and be reminded of the wonderful blessings God freely gives to each of us. 

S. Supplication is asking God for something. We are invited to come and pray, to ask, seek and knock. There is much wisdom in listing supplication last. Our hearts are purer and ready to pray in faith after we have set the tone with adoration, confessed our sins and given thanks to the Lord for all of His blessings. 
An important type of supplication is intercession which involves intervening for someone. It is one of the most loving things we can do for someone. 

A.C.T.S. is not a rigid requirement for prayer time, but striving to incorporate these in our prayer times make for a richer, more complete prayer experience. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

What Does Prayer Look Like?

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Every morning in my home, a healthy devotional routine takes place before the day gets away from me. My little prayer system works well, but can always use heart adjustments. Rising before anyone in the house, I grab my coffee, blanket, sit in my favorite chair surrounded by the Bible and devotionals and begin with prayer.

This prayer routine probably looks different than yours...and that is ok! A certain place, posture or words is not what makes prayer - prayer. In fact prayer is not about just prayer. Think about your cell phone, its primary purpose is not for itself but to serve as a conduit and connection we use for relationships and contact. If we held up the phone without engaging another person with it, we are not making it do what it was created to do. Likewise, even if our attempts at prayer look and feel like prayer, they are not truly prayer if God is not engaged. 

Prayer at its heart, is communicating with God. Reverently and openly. Sincerely interacting with the magnificent God of  the universe who is really there. 

Some of the reasons we should desire to truly commune with God are to:

Intimately know, love and worship Him:
Prayer is about an intimate sharing and fellowship between two loving parties. Relationship and worship are keys. Prayer is on ongoing, daily way to know God better and to comprehend more of who He is and what He does. The more we know Him and experience Him, the deeper we grow in our respect and love for Him. Knowing and loving Him leads us to worshiping Him. The natural response to the presence of God is worship. 

Prayer is communion with God in order to understand and conform our lives to His will and ways
Prayer doesn't merely change things, it changes us. As we pray, God reveals His will and ways to us and begins to align our hearts and minds with His. We don't ask Him to configure Himself around the way we want to live, we bring ourselves up under His authority. The more time we spend with God, the more humble, unselfish and like Jesus we will become. 

Prayer is communion with God in order to access and advance His kingdom, power and glory. When we pray we are seeking to access God's kingdom resources for His mighty power to work on our behalf and for Him to reveal His glory in our situation. God is unlimited in His capacity to accomplish anything. Prayer allows us the priceless privilege to not only know Almighty God better, but to join Him in what He is already doing among the nations for His glory. 

So, prayer is not about prayer, but about a Person - God Himself. If it becomes merely about accessing the provision or protection of God rather than knowing and pleasing the Person of God, we are getting off track.

But when the one goal of our praying is to live in relationship with Him - one on One, He will cause prayer to also help us experience His purposes, plans, provision, protection and all He intends for His glory. 

Be encouraged to find  routine - a daily committed time and place for prayer, but turn the intent to the Person of God. And watch what He can do in your!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Prayer - Our Greatest Privilege

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Prayer.  One simple word that can pack such a powerful meaning. What does it mean to pray? What is the right way to pray? What determines the correct method - place, time, words?  How can a simple act get so complicated? 

The ladies at my church are engaging in a Bible Study - The Battle Plan for Prayer. We are beginning with a heart that is not anxious about 'the right way' to pray, but asking God to deepen our grasp of His love as we learn to boldly approach Him in a renewed devotion to prayer. 

For several weeks, this blog will be our weekly place to come for a visit and be refreshed in the lessons we are learning. Quotes and notes that we can hold close in our hearts to deepen and enrich us will be shared. Please feel free to stop by and linger with an open heart on the subject of prayer. May your heart be stirred and drawn into a more intimate walk with our Lord. May prayer become as natural as breathing and may God work through our prayers to help bring about His kingdom and will in our hearts, homes and generation. 

Instead of being intimidated about prayer or feeling guilty about not praying enough, our first realization is that prayer is a true privilege. It isn't a Christian task to do. Through prayer, God chooses to communicate with us. He wants to show Himself mighty in our lives. Prayer is simply talking to God. 

Prayer can accomplish what a willing God can accomplish. There is no greater privilege than being able to personally talk with and speak into the ears of the Almighty God. There's not an issue we're facing that prayer cannot address because nothing is too difficult or impossible for God to handle.
But prayer isn't just about having our needs met. Prayer is the greatest legacy we can embrace or leave behind. Every generation needs courageous believers who will trust God at His Word and continue the legacy of faithfully standing in the gap and seeking His heart in prayer. 

Please stop by again as we share and grow in the Lord through prayer.