As we continue to reflect on Day 2’s post Make Room for Him, here is a tool that Mary put together that may help you in your time spent with Jesus. This Bible Journal Graphics tool is yours to download and use as much as you want for ministry purposes — for yourself or for others as well. [Read more…]
Elisabeth Alves, Becoming a Prayer Warrior (22)
I love this definition of Elizabeth’s. It makes me feel like I’m in partnership with God by helping usher in his kingdom to the earth. Audacious work, don’t you think?
Prayer can be confusing. How exactly do I go about it? What praying looks like probably differs from Christian to Christian, but I wanted to pinpoint some of the things that prayer time should include.
Consistent Prayer Time
First, our prayers need to be ongoing and consistent. See Acts 6:1-4 and Romans 12:10-12. In Acts the apostles recruited some help to free up their time for the important job of “prayer and the ministry of the word.” Whether your work is raising a family, holding down a job, or running a ministry, carving out regular time for prayer is important to that work.
It helps to choose a time of day to pray and then stick to it. Part of that will be based on your own natural body clock, and the other part will be based on your schedule. It has worked out for me to pray in the mornings because I am a morning person. I feel renewed in the mornings; I love the feeling that I have a thus-far unblemished day stretching before me, and to start it with prayer puts me in the right mindset. I also know myself. If I don’t pray in the morning, the tyranny of the schedule takes over, and I rarely get back to prayer later in the day.
My college-aged daughter on the other-hand, can barely function in the mornings but comes alive in the afternoons and evenings, long after I have clocked out for the night. She likes to have her prayer time in the evenings. I also know people who pray while commuting to work by bus or car. Experiment to see what works for you.
Where to Pray
Having a special place to pray can help you focus and set the mood for prayer. In the warm months (May – October for me), my favorite prayer spot is my backyard deck. The early morning sun, birds singing, and butterflies flitting from flower to flower fill me up with God’s creation, and my prayers seem to bloom right alongside the nature I’m immersed in.
In the colder months, I park on the couch by my picture window which overlooks the backyard deck. I can still see nature in the changing seasons right outside my window.
Naturally, it helps if your prayer place is relatively quiet and free of interruptions. But if you have little ones, don’t be discouraged. Use the free minutes you have, and include your children when you can. What better way to instruct your children to pray than by pulling them up on your lap with you while you pray?
*Update: Special Prayer Places
I’ve recently discovered a church down the block from my house that has a beautiful prayer chapel that is open to the public. Once or twice a month I love to go to this chapel for a time of in-depth, focused prayer with God. I’ve also found a prayer retreat center within 25 minutes from where I live. The grounds and chapel are open to the public, and they also have overnight stays that are very reasonably priced. Google retreat centers Indianapolis (put your city’s name in place of Indianapolis) to see what may be available in your area.
Methods of Praying
Many people incorporate the ACTS way of praying into their prayer lives. It has been around for a long time, and is a wonderful template for a prayer time.
•A stands for adoration. Start by praising God for who He is.
•C stands for confession. Confess your sins to God.
•T stands for thanksgiving. Thank God for the blessings in your life.
•S stands for supplication. Present your requests to God.
*Update: The Hour That Changes the World by Dick Eastman
As an update to this original post I wrote a few years ago, I am now experimenting with this prayer method by Dick Eastman outlined in his book. He breaks a one-hour block of time into 12 segments with a different emphasis of prayer in each segment. I don’t use all of the 12 segments, but have tailored them to me, and my prayer life has been enriched by this method. Adding even a few of the 12 suggested segments will open up new prayer experiences for you.
I’ve found it helpful to keep a prayer notebook of my requests. I’ve used many different formats over the years and am sure I will change it again, but currently I am using a 3-ring binder that I fill with graph paper. I split the graph paper into 5 or 6 columns. Each column is assigned to a specific person, organization, church or country. I write in the things I know I need to pray for, as well as the things God brings to my mind as I pray. Sometimes I include a monthly calendar on which I have noted any upcoming prayer items that I don’t want to forget. I also keep a little spiral notebook handy to record any ideas God may give me.
*Update to Prayer Notebook
My prayer notebook has changed once again. I am using a three-ring binder and have created eight tabbed sections where I record requests and answers: Monthly, Family, Friends, Strategic, Persecuted Christians, Only By Prayer,Work, and Prayer Team. Some I use more than others, with the Monthly tab getting the most use as I put the most current requests here. Tailor a system that works for you, making it as simple or as complex as you would like.
New! Prayer Journaling
I’ve also added prayer journaling to my prayer time several days a week. I have a special notebook that I use to record any insights God is giving me as I spend time in silence, listening to Him and meditating on His word. During this time, I also use colored pens and pencils to sketch out any pictures of ideas or thoughts He may put in my mind. Always make sure that these thoughts and prayers line up with what scripture says. God will not tell you things that are contrary to His Word. (Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar. Proverbs 30:6)
I hope these suggestions spur on your prayer life. If you’d like to explore this topic further, you may want to check out our How To Pray podcast on Praying God’s Word. What are some prayer habits you’ve developed? Please share them below and …
Many people think that Christians experience lives of ease and blessing. While Christians do experience joy and peace, our lives may be marked by sorrow, poverty, and dishonor. Despite hardship and suffering in Christ we may rejoice. To do the Take 5! Bible study please click on the link!
Image courtesy of artemisphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do you have days or months or maybe your life (!) where you feel scattered and fragmented, pulled in 100 different directions?
Perhaps the last thing you feel is complete, like you have life under control.
Well, that’s because in reality, we don’t! But I know someone who does, and He has the perfect promise for us.
I love the verse in Colossians 2: 10 that says ” and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” What does the word complete mean? In the Greek pleroo, it means “to make full, to abound, to be liberally supplied, to fill to the top, to carry out some undertaking.” Notice it doesn’t say perfect!
What this means to me is that in the midst of my scattered, fragmented life, Jesus has made me complete for what He is calling me to right now.
Right now I possess everything I need to step out and do what He wants me to do. I don’t have any excuses. Gulp. Maybe like me you’ve heard God calling you to start something, but you’re waiting for someone with far more wisdom and gifts to step up. Maybe you’re waiting until … your kids are grown, you get that degree, you’re in shape or your health is better.
The truth is that if God has put a call on your heart, then He’s waiting for you to get started now. Yes, there are times for waiting and resting and learning, but if you feel that continual nudge to do something, then you need to step out and be obedient. He’s made you complete where you are for what He has you to do, and He will provide for your lack with resources and other people as you’re obedient to Him.
I’m there myself today. I’ve felt a nudge to be involved in an outreach ministry that I’ve kept putting off. I know it’s time. What’s on your heart today? Let’s take that step together.
Have you ever worked long and hard over a document only to have your computer crash and send your work to cyber space? Thankfully, God never crashes. Our work in Him will never be in vain. I want to know that what I’m doing through Him has a purpose, that it will make a difference and that I am affecting my world for Christ. I need a reason to get up every day. At this point in my life, there is nothing more satisfying than the feeling God has used me to accomplish a work for His kingdom in the life of another person. To do the Bible study just click on the link:
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net