Saturday, July 16, 2011

Prayer 101

Have you ever been bewildered by the scriptures that constantly talk about prayer? ‘Pray without ceasing’, you have read it and wondered ‘How? Or, ‘I really don’t feel like it!’ The word ‘prayer’ simply means to ‘Address or speak to God’. We do not have to perform ceremonies , or remember repetitious prayers to speak to the Almighty God. The God of the bible wants to commune with us. He wants us to talk to Him. He wants us to know Him!
We have to remember who it is we are talking to. The creator of all. The alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. The Great 'I AM'. He knows our every thought even before we speak it, yet he wants us to SPEAK to Him. When we consider how the tongue is a small member of our body and yet we use it for so much communication, is it any wonder God wants a piece of that communication for Himself?
We have a need to communicate or things get shut up in our bones and come out in different ways. We begin to get illnesses of unknown origin. We find that when we do speak, we are sarcastic or weary. The Lord knew that and so He invited us to talk to Him…without ceasing.
Something happens to us when we put our thoughts in prayer. We can pray silently or aloud, but we can not fool God. He demands our complete honesty. It is a humbling experience, a joyful experience and a privilege to be able to speak at all to one who has authority over all. Yet, it is HIS desire that we come to him through prayer.
Let’s be honest here. If you believe in the Lord and yet have a prayer life that is zip, you are like a guy who owns a car but doesn’t put gas in it. The car is still real and it works fine, but you aren’t going to go anywhere.
Prayer takes practice. Now, I am not meaning we need to memorize anything. God isn’t wanting anything but our deepest communication. Satan will use anything to put a blockage to our praying. We might set aside time each day, and each day something else will come up. We might even fall asleep. The desciples fell asleep in the garden of Gethsemanie rather than watch and pray as Jesus asked.
If we start our prayer life with thanksgiving and praise Him, we will find prayer comes more naturally. One brief note here, we do not have to pray in the King James language of ‘thee and thou’s’. Just use your own language. God hears well too, so we don’t have to shout.
Sometimes, it’s good to think of our blessings and start there. All through the day pray a silent ‘thank you for my eyesight. Thank you for the sun, the rain and the flowers. Thank you I had food today.’ Just think of anything, even the fact that you are breathing. It’s all about Him.
So, now maybe a few minutes have gone by and you are being thankful. You are also in prayer. You are communicating. Perhaps something happens that is not good and you don’t have time to go off by yourself and pray. ‘Lord, help me’ will work just fine.
His presence never leaves you. You can not see Him, or the many angels that surround you but they are there. Those angels are just waiting for you to pray so they will set out to work on your behalf in Jesus name. Keep them busy! The bible says ‘you have not because you ask not and when you do ask, you ask wrong!’ What does that mean? Well, we need to know what the will of God. If we are in our scriptures we will know better what God’s will is. Are we praying 'MY' will be done or 'Your' will be done?
Do we have to memorize the bible first? No, we first must believe it though.
When I was a kid my sister always prayed for a horse. She believed for sure that God would give her that horse because she said, ‘In Jesus name’. Wrong! We lived in the heart of a big city, God wasn’t going to give us something we couldn’t use or take care of.
Yet if we ask the Lord how to pray, He will show us. If we are willing to spend talking to Him, we will find that we can make a habit of praying. We will find we can see His answers too.
People spend a fortune paying someone to listen to their problems. Those people can take the money but they can’t fix the problem. If we take our burdens to the Lord, He can fix them. We have to communicate to Him first. Then, we have to believe He will fix things His way and in His time.
Sometimes, our throat chokes as we try to pray aloud. I suggest a sip of water. Simple technique and it works. Our emotions get caught in our throat at times. Tears might come as we pray. That is a normal response and I’d let them go. Remember, He invites us to communicate. Satan invites us to be too proud to let our emotions show. He invites us to hide and to be strong. ‘In our weakness, He is strong’ though. Satan knows if we dare communicate that things hidden in darkness will come to the light and be dealt with. He doesn’t want that.
Prayer takes practice. It means spending time alone with the Lord. It means opening up and holding nothing back. Sometimes we have a mind that is so bottled up that we are shut down from communicating. That’s ok with God. Tell him that! Ask Him to set your communication free. Open the lines of communication! When we do that, the next step is praying for others.
So far the lesson is , start with thanks and praise, learn His will in the word of God, ask Him to help you pray, use your own language, speak honestly from the heart, and be aware of the devils tactics to stop you from praying.
My method of praying without ceasing is simple. Just send up short prayers all day. God isn’t looking for a theological super educated person with perfect grammar. He is looking for a heart that is willing to submit to His authority. He is looking for a heart that will communicate. Long lengthy prayers are fine if you have time, but God wants a heart that communicates rather than a beautiful worded speech.
We humans are big on communication. The Morse code, telephone, mail, twitter, facebook and television news can attest to that. Yet, as followers of God we can have an even better mode of communication to Almighty God. He gave us a direct line to the throne room, any time any place and for any reason big or small. He’s just a prayer away.
Some of us take the time to jot down a thought for facebook or twitter but don’t send up a simple ‘thank you God’. Some of us call a friend in time of trouble and don’t bother communicating to God at all. A sweetheart wants to talk to her love several times a day. As Christians we are the bride of Christ.
He is anxious to hear from you.

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