The best sports teams have a game plan for effectiveness on game day, prayer time can also benefit from a little planning, rather than shooting from the hip.
Preparation: emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. Bring resources that you will need, choose a place with minimal distractions, use a hymnal, Bible, pad and pen. Get comfortable whether sitting, walking, or listening. Utilize prayer, worship, Bible reading, singing.
Waiting Time: Isaiah 40:31 tells us about waiting on the Lord. Sometimes there is way too much talking and not enough listening. This sort of waiting is in expectation… let God love you, search you, show you. Waiting can be difficult because we want results, and want them now.
Confession Time: Unconfessed sin is a roadblock to prayer. When God searches you, he will point out what you need to confess. Confess that sin immediately, without rationalization, don’t wait until later, or until Sunday at church. Never allow your position to keep you from confessing sin. If you are a leader or even a staff member, set the example of obediently confessing known sin. Remember that God is never surprised by what we do, so be totally honest. Trust that God will always tell us when we have done wrong. Here is a warning, when sin is tolerated, it will increase.
Bible Time: the Bible is important every day (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Psalm 119:89). I have discovered that my own words will fall short in my prayers, but actually praying God’s Word back to him, it is a powerful encounter with God. Select a passage that speaks to your heart on the subject you want to pray. Pray the passage by personalizing it, reading it, and applying it to your situation. Respond to the passage mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Allow God to search you and change your attitude and life.
Meditation Time: James tells us to not only read the word but do what it says (James 1:22). The difference between reading and acting is meditation. Meditation helps us to receive the Word and will allow it to transform us. Psalm 1:1-2 is a great example. Meditation helps us examine our relationship with God, see ourselves in a right way, and discover where you are on this spiritual journey. The better you understand how to obey, the closer you will be to the Lord.
Intercession Time: Paul taught us how to pray for others (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Intercession not only benefits other people, it connects us to God.
Petition Time: this is simply bringing your list of needs before the throne of God. Pray with the attitude of “thy will be done” which has the potential to purify our motives. Praying for God’s will is not a sign of weakness or lack of faith, Jesus did it (Luke 22:42). We are in submission to God, we are never in a position to demand anything from him. We ask God not to bless what we are doing but to help us do that which he is blessing. Be honest with your feelings, problems, and needs. Talk to God about the little things that concern you.
Application Time: this is where listening and obedience come together as action (John 14:23-24). Sometimes God will ask us to do something that makes no sense, like a strange request, like when Jeremiah was told to purchase a field (Jeremiah 32). I may need to obey something, pray for someone else, or may be asked to share a message with someone. Obedience is a key, never stand still, walk forward in faith.
Faith Time: faith is pretty important to God because without it we can never please God (Hebrews 11:1, 6). Praying in faith is exciting, as long as we pray with the right motives, according to God’s will and agenda, and not for our own selfish reasons.
Praise and Thanksgiving Time: these two are not synonymous; praise recognizes God for who he is while thanksgiving recognizes God for what he has done. When we praise God he inhabits us; when we thank God he blesses us.
- Which brings you most quickly in the presence of God (worship, prayer, Scripture)?
- For what do you need to thank God for today?
- Listening is very hard for busy Americans. How effective are your listening skills? What makes it difficult? How can you improve?
- Those who love God will obey God (John 14:23), so is there something that God has asked you to do? Are you willing to obey?
[print_link] [email_link] [ From John Maxwell, Partners in Prayer ]