Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Prayer

In any relationship, communication is essential for success. In a marriage, spouses have to talk to each other to ensure the success of the marriage. When we are dating, when we are trying to learn about each other, talking is essential. When we are trying to raise our children to be good and godly people, communication is necessary. At work, at church, in our recreation, in every area of life, good communication is essential for the success of that endeavor.

It is the same way in our relationship with God. Communication is essential if we are to have a living and growing and deepening relationship with God. Prayer is talking to God. Prayer is how we talk to God. Prayer is conversation with God. In it, we speak to God, pouring out our heart to Him. He also speaks to us in the still small voice by which His Spirit speaks to our hearts about the issues between us. It has been said that prayer is oftentimes more about changing us than about changing God's mind.

But most of us do not pray as we ought. We neither devote enough time to prayer or we do not pray for the things we ought to pray for. A lot of times our prayer becomes a list of sins we want to be forgiven for and things we want God to do for us. And even those prayers are short and not given our true attention. Think for a moment about how you pray over your food. Many Christians do not even put any thought into their meal blessings. Yet, even those prayers are moments when the Christian is talking to Almighty God. So how then should we pray?

First, prepare your heart to pray. Prayer is talking to God. Get ready to approach God and to talk to Him. Make your heart ready to pray. Second, make your prayer time a time of worship. Worship God in prayer. Don't make it something you want to do and get over with as quickly as you can. Use your prayer time to draw closer to God. Third, let God speak to you. Be ready to have your heart changed by the things God brings to your mind during your times of prayer with Him.

Consider the Lord's Prayer (found in Matthew 6:9-13). Use it as a model of your own prayers. It has a section of worship, of petition (asking), of repentence, and closes in worship. Or you might use this outline P-R-A-Y. Each letter stands for a portion of your prayer. There is Praise (worship). There is Repentence (confession of sin). There is Asking (making our needs known to God). There is Yielding (purposing to respond to God in obedience). Maybe you have a way to pray that works better for you. And set aside a time to pray. Make it (as best as you can) around the same time each day. That way praying at that time of the day will become a habit. Determine not to let anything interfere with your time with God.

As a Christian we need breath and we need food to grow. The Bible is our food. It is manna from heaven. But prayer is our breath. It is life to us. We dare not neglect it. When the disciples watched Jesus, they saw He had power. He had power with God. He had power with people. They approached Him and of all the things they could have asked for, they said "Lord, teach us to pray." (Luke 11:1). Prayer has power with God. It can change us and it can change our circumstances. It is the one discipline that brings us closer to God and to His heart. Yet, it is often the most neglected discipline that God has given to us.

God has said that His house shall be a house of prayer for all nations (Isaiah 56:7). The church is the house of God. It is a place of prayer for all people. If that is so, shouldn't we be about this very important business of being praying people in God's house? Let's purpose in our hearts to start today. Because ... if not now, when?

2 Comments:

Blogger Baptist Girl said...

Hi John,
I cam across a message by Paul Washer about prayer at church and he sure hit the nail on the head.
He sure does not pull any punches in his preaching but I think it is needed in todays churches, we need preaches that are going to wake up the folks instead of putting then to sleep. Here is the sermon if you want to listen to it. Take care.

Cristina

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGwcOJ53Lfw&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Freformedgadfly%2Eblogspot%2Ecom%2F&feature=player_embedded

5:06 PM  
Blogger Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

too much of our prayers is ine sided and give me. We need to praise Him for Who He is, and for What He has done. We must intercede for the lost and our brethren, and last of all give Him our petitions.

4:47 AM  

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