I recently shared some thoughts about the importance and the priority of spending time daily in God’s word. The same is true about prayer. Prayer and the reading of God’s word go hand in hand. The above picture used to hang in our kitchen when I was a boy. It shows a man spending time in prayer over his meal but also having his Bible right there. The two go together. It was a reminder that we all need to pray and spend time in God's word.
However, prayer is one of the things we often struggle with and because of that one of the things we neglect.
I would like to share some thoughts about prayer and then give you just some practical ways to pray that has helped me over the years.
I do not want to come across as one who has it figured out or has arrived when it comes to prayer. I am like you, just a student in the school of prayer with Jesus. I am learning and really have so far to go.
But I desire to be not just a person who prays but a person of prayer. Join me in the journey!
These are just random and not in any order.
Some thoughts about prayer.
Jesus said in Matthew 6, “when you pray.” Jesus just understood as a follow of His, we would spend time in prayer.
Jesus said in Luke 18, “men should always pray and not faint.” He was saying we must make prayer a priority and when we do, we will have strength and power to live the life He has called us to. But if we do not pray, we will faint or lose strength. That simple.
Prayer is not a button to be pushed, it is a relationship to be pursued. It is spending time with the Father and having a conversation with Him.
Jesus spent time in prayer (Mark 1), which means if the Son of God spent time in prayer while here on Earth, I know I need too!! =)
3 Things to Remember about Prayer
Prayer is a family conversation. What I mean by that is that prayer is a conversation between God and His children. Have you trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and ask Him to be your Savior and Lord? If you have not, cry out like the man in Luke 18:13 – God be merciful to me a sinner! That is a prayer I promise He will hear! As His child, we can call out to our Heavenly Father and He has promised to hear our prayers!
Prayer is simply talking to God, who is your Father. You may or not been able to talk very well to your earthly Father. But your Heavenly Father longs to talk with you and you with Him. He desires so much more than just a quick trip to the Heavenly Grocery Store: “I need some grace, peace, healing; thanks God, see you in a week”. Yes, He will give us these needs, but He longs to fellowship with us and for us to long to be with Him.
Prayer also involves listening to your Father. Prayer was never meant to be a one-sided conversation. We talk to Him and then we are to listen to what He would say to us. He does this as we read the Bible, the Holy Spirit leading us and in that “still small voice” that we can only hear when we get quiet and listen.
Prayer is not about us getting our will done in heaven, it is about God getting His will done in us and in the earth. When we pray, as we surrender ourselves to God, we are seeking to line our hearts up with God.
Ways to pray that have helped me.
I promise I do not have all the answers about prayer, but these are some methods or helps if you will that will give you some direction in your prayer time. For me, it helps me to walk through my prayer using these different ways because it keeps me focused and not let my mind just wonder as I pray.
Let me mention a few things quickly:
Just like I mentioned in the time in God’s word, you need to set an appointment each day. It should go hand in hand. Pray to go along with your Bible reading time.
These “helps” are more for your daily time of being with the Lord in prayer. In other words, it is for that time that you have set aside to pray. Also, keep in mind, these are not meant to be used all in one prayer time. Mix it up, use what helps you. Use parts of one and parts of another to make it personal. Again, these are just helps.
It is not about the length of your prayer as it is your passion and desire to seek the Lord in prayer.
There will be times in everyday when you need to send up a quick prayer as you enter a meeting, talking with someone or hear of an immediate prayer need. Again, these prayer paths I might call them or more for the time you have set aside, not those times we need to go straight to an immediate need to pray for.
The Bottom line is this – pray, pray, pray, and pray some more. Little prayer, little power; some prayer, some power; much prayer, much power.
Ways to pray – these come from other pastors, teachers or as I have read and study through the years.
• I use the ACTS method each morning as I have my prayer time. What in the world is the ACTS method. Let me lay it out for you. It is an acrostic.
o A = Adoration This speaks of worship. Open your prayer giving God praise and giving Him worship with your mouth. Taking a moment at the beginning to say to Him how worthy He is and How much you praise Him for who He is and What He has done.
Example: Using one of the many names of God and sharing with Him what blessing He is. Also, taking the alphabet and choosing a letter or a few letters each day and share how awesome God is. Like, using the letter A and saying to him in prayer – you are amazing. Or using the letter H and saying to Him, praise you because you are Holy. Helps me.
o C = Confession Use this time to confess to God all your sins, knowing that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. To confess is more than saying, I am sorry for my sins, amen. It literary means to tell God exactly what you did and name it. It means you see it as God sees it. Confess actions, thoughts, words, and attitudes that were wrong before God and others.
o T = Thanks Take time to thank the Lord for all your blessings. “with prayer and thanksgiving, let our requests be made unto God” (Phil 4) Thank Him for the big and the little and as each day goes, new things to thank Him for. It opens a whole new level of intimacy and prayer when you spend time thanking God, even in the tough times, thank Him for grace and mercy for instance.
o S = Supplication Supplication simply means seeking and asking. Use this time to ask God for your daily needs both physically, spiritually, and mentally. For your family, your friends, your work, whatever you have need of. Also, take this time to seek and ask for others. Praying for others is a special part of prayer and taking others before the throne.
• Another prayer method is PACE. This is just another help when it comes to daily prayer. It is meant to focus us on the Lord and then give our day to Him.
o P – Praise
o A – Accept and Abide
o C – Commit my day to Him
o E – Embrace the day
• This one is one that a pastor friend uses to focus His prayer time on the layers of His life.
o Personhood – praying for my own heart.
o Partnership – praying for my wife.
o Parenting – praying for my children.
o Profession – praying for what I “do” vocationally – for me it would pastoring.
• There are times, I recite the Lord’s prayer. It takes 21 seconds, but it can change your life. I one time led our church to do 21 seconds for 21 days, daily praying the Lord’s prayer. It is a good place to start if it has been a long time or to kick start a stagnate prayer life.
Do not get so focused on the how that you lose sight of this simple fact – prayer is talking to Jesus. These helps are just that, helps. But do not forget, you are talking to the one who loved you so much, He laid His life down for you and then picked it up again for you. He is with you and will never leave you and He longs to talk with you.
You grow in prayer by praying. Keep at it. Sometimes it feels like heaven comes down and others it feels like they do not reach the ceiling. Do not go by emotion. The word of God says, He hears us. Trust His word, not your feelings.
Be a person of prayer and not just a person who prays.
One of the new things I am doing is using my phone as a prayer journal. I started in the hospital and it has been a real blessing. I actually write out my prayer to the Lord. It helps me to keep track of what I am praying, stay focused and get specific in my time. Plus, as people text me prayer needs, I can copy and paste them right in my prayer journal. Just a thought.
God bless you on this journey of the bible and prayer. Blessings are headed your way.