Equipping for Life Change through Prayer
Each January as we begin a new year, many of us will reflect on the year just completed with a desire to make the year ahead a year of new beginnings. As followers of Christ it is important that we take an inventory of how we are doing spiritually. The Monthly Prayer Digest continues to offer practical guidelines, inspiration, and challenge to help you “focus, stretch, rekindle, and renew” the effectiveness and enjoyment of your prayer experience.
Focus – The Central focus of our prayer life should be on the Lord Himself.
Thomas expressed worship when he acknowledged Christ as, “My Lord and My God.”
The four creatures in Revelation chapter four express their worship in the words,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is he Lord God Almighty.” This offering of praise is followed by the worship expressed in chapter five
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive…glory, and honor and praise.”
And “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb praise and honor, and glory and power, forever and ever.”
Stretch – Be intentional. Resolve to make prayer a top priority in the year ahead.
Rekindle – Ask the Lord to reawaken that spirit of “first love” excitement, and intimacy you experienced as a babe in Christ newly “born again” by the oHoly Spirit of God.
Renew – Begin each day by renewing your commitment to prayer by expressing gratefulness for the blessing and challenge of each new day.
My heart, O God, is steadfast; I will sing and make music with all my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
A Few General Guidelines on Getting Started
Adapt your prayers in light of the Model Prayer Jesus gave his disciples in Matthew 6 (The prayer we often refer to as the Lord’s prayer)
Pray in confidence.
Be persistent in your prayers.
Pray for laborers in ministry and for evangelism of unbelievers.
Pray for the government officials: Leaders at the National, State, and Local level.
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in your prayers.
Pray in faith, believing for answered prayer.
Pray for the Lord’s will to be accomplished.
Some Specific Suggestions for Contemporary Christians
Think of your i-Phone as a resource tool for prayer – Text message or e-mail your friends to let them know you are praying for them, for their specific requests, and to alert them of your immediate need for specific prayer.
Use your computer search engine to download inspiring Scriptures from the Psalms on prayer for adaptation in your prayers of affirmation, intercession, and worship.
Download worship songs from your computer. These can be used later to provide spontaneous worship while driving, exercising, or while waiting for appointments.
Intercede for people intersect with while shopping, stopped for traffic lights, or waiting in line.
Some Pointers on Practicing the Presence of God
Read books on classic books on prayer. Check out our church library for a good selection of available resources on prayer. Augustine, John Bunyan, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and Andrew Murray are among the classic authors on prayer. More recent writers include books written by Bill Hybels, Henry Blackaby, Rick Warren, and Charles Swindol.
Join other for times of corporate prayer.
Set aside a time for and experiment in “time alone” in communication with God. A time for pouring out your deepest longing and listening for His response – Be sure to have your Bible handy.)
“God speaks through a variety of means.In the present God primarily speaks by the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church.”
Use a prayer journal to record your prayer requests, answers to prayers, specific guidance, and spiritual lessons you learn throughout your spiritual journey.
“Settle yourself in solitude and you will come upon Him in yourself.”
Teresa of Avila
Adapted from The Prayer Digest – Woodland Shores Baptist Church