Conversations with God
Recently we discussed prayer with our church family during one of our services. We discussed how that prayer is simply a conversation with God. It is very much like talking with anybody else in our life.
We speak, we pray and He listens.
Millard Erickson in his work Christian Theology says this:
The believer can pray confidently, knowing that our wise and good God will give us, not necessarily what we ask for, but what is best. For as the psalmist put it, no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. (Psalms 84:11)
There is a confidence in our conversation with God as we pray that as we speak and pray to Him, He listens. Our discipline of prayer is a strong spiritual indicator of our overall spiritual health.
In fact, it can be said that our prayer life is an indication of whether we have decided to give up.
Luke 18:1 (NIV)
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
The rest of the passage goes on to record how that Jesus tells His disciples about a persistent widow.
But the very reason He shares this story of this woman is to teach them and show them they should always pray and not give up.
Prayer is a sign that you are not giving up.
Equally, not praying is a sign that you have given up.
Jesus teaches His disciples that the most effective way to not give up is to keep on prayer. Just keep praying. Keep praying. God blesses the persistency of your prayer life. So, keep praying.
Your finances? Keep praying.
Your family? Keep praying.
Your children? Keep praying.
Your health? Keep praying.
Your community? Keep praying.
Your pastor? Keep praying.
The principle and habit of prayer is an interesting phenomenon.
The more you pray, the more you will pray.
The less you pray, the less you will pray.
Furthermore, like other spiritual disciplines, prayer is a learned behavior.
Prayer is absolutely a learned behavior, it is a learned discipline. It is something we learn how to do and because it is a learned discipline, we can take steps to be more effective in our prayer life.
How many of you remember taking lessons in something as a kid that you no longer know how to do?
I remember when I was in elementary school they took some time to teach us how to dance. I went through every lesson they offered. Since then, I have never followed up with those lessons.
Consequently, I cannot dance.
Seriously, I cannot dance. Not even a little bit. Because the truth is this…I am unable to retain skills I no longer practice. If you do nothing to exercise a skill or discipline you must accept the reality that you will lose the skill that you once had. To retain the skill or that discipline, you must use it deliberately. We must be intentional about that skill or discipline. Our prayer life operates under the same parameters. How will you develop your habit of prayer? Here are ten suggestions to help:
- Read a book on prayer.
“Too Busy Not to Pray” by Bill Hybels & “Prayer: Does it make any difference?” by Philip Yancey are two great places to start. “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren is a great book on the discovering your purpose, and has great information on prayer as well. Plus a classic that I enjoy reading on a yearly basis, “The Complete Works on Prayer” by E.M. Bounds.
- Read through the book of Psalms.
Every one of the psalms are songs and prayers written by biblical figures. Read them and make them your own prayers.
- Keep a prayer journal till January 1st.
Write down your prayers and keep track of how God answers them. The next few months can be a very busy and hectic time of the year for many of us. Family visits and holidays can become the norm and keeping a prayer journal will help you redeem the time and stay thankful for how God works in your life.
- Read Philippians 4:6-7 every morning for a month.
Every time you start to worry, stop, read these verses and pray about your worries.
- Read I Thessalonians 5:16-18 every night for a month.
Take a few minutes nightly a rejoice over something God did for you that day and pray to Him in thanksgiving.
- Before dinner every night for a month, use the acronym ACTS in prayer to God.
Adore God. Praise Him for who He is.
Confess your sins and shortcomings to God.
Thank God for the blessings in your life.
Surrender yourself and submit your requests to God.
- Find a prayer partner.
Find someone you trust and someone that will hold you accountable. Begin to meet with them at least weekly and commit to spend that time in prayer with each other.
- Find some songs that help you pray.
Songs can help put our heart in the attitude of prayer and help our minds relax as we pray.
- Read through the Gospels and highlight every time Jesus prayed.
Note the times, the places and occasions that Jesus prays. Note what He prays for and who He prays for.
- Pray with your family every night before they go to bed.
I’m excited to see how our prayer lives develop as we take intentional steps. Let me know how your prayer challenges is going! You can use the comment form below, send me a text (541-530-4912) or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Until next time…