Without question, prayer is the greatest untapped resource in a Christian’s life. Why is it that, although we recognize the vital role of prayer, so many of us neglect it?
“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)
The desire of the disciples was that Jesus teach them to pray, not how to pray. The real challenge I face is whether or not I will come apart from my business and schedule long enough to spend time talking with the God Who created me. That is your challenge, too.
John R. Rice, in his book Prayer: Asking and Receiving, says all failures in life are prayer failures. This really makes me feel uncomfortable. You mean to tell me that I am not the husband and father I need to be because I do not pray enough?! Ouch! As much as it hurts me, it is the truth.
What a command and privilege we have to be praying people! A prayerless life can never be a God-guided life. Allow the Lord to deal with you regarding the condition of your current prayer life. Consider these simple steps to help your prayer life become a special, intimate conversation with your Creator.
1. You MUST pray with a pure heart.
Confess any and all sin to the Lord. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalms 66:18). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
2. Be willing to pay the price of a consistent prayer life.
Prayer is the one spiritual exercise that Satan and our flesh opposes. Paying the price could be going to bed earlier so you could get up earlier to pray. It might mean turning off the television to spend time in prayer. As I heard one preacher explain it, “Be willing to PRAY (not pay) the price!”
3. Be reminded of the confidence with which we can pray.
This confidence is not in our prayers, but in the God Who hears and answers prayer! “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” (1 John 5:14) “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
4. Even before you ask, decide to trust the Lord that He will answer your prayer the way He knows best.
God has never made a mistake and He will not start with your situation. Trust His loving, sovereign hand. “But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:18) What a challenging thought that the three Hebrew boys accepted the outcome of God’s will, even if it meant their death. Usually, I want God to answer my request the way I prayed it, and then pout when He doesn’t! What a baby I can be!
5. If possible, have a specific time and place for your prayer time.
This will become sacred, holy ground that you will guard and protect.
6. Consider dividing your prayer time into four divisions:
A-Adoration (praising God for who He is); C-Confession (agreeing with God about your sin); T-Thanksgiving (express gratitude for what God has done); and S-Supplication (praying for the needs of other).
7. Pray with the help of a prayer list or journal.
This will help you to be specific in your prayers. Learn not to pray general prayers, but specific prayers.
8. Spend time thanking God for specific answer to prayers.
This will become a source of encouragement as you look on all that the Lord has done for you. Too often, we spend a great deal of time praying about a specific need. We bombard heaven repeatedly with our need. Then, when God meets the need, we spend only a few seconds thanking Him. What if you were to spend as much time thanking God for answering your prayer as you did in praying?
9. Remain in an attitude of prayer throughout your day.
I am thankful that, at a moment’s notice, I can approach the throne of God with a need. We are reminded in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “Pray without ceasing.”
Your prayer life can be alive and vibrant! But it takes discipline and real work to make it happen. Determine, with the Lord’s help, to become a real prayer warrior!