Prayer. Anyone else think of dinner time and a mumbled version of “God is great, God is good?” Or the longest, tangent-filled blessing at a family gathering? With all laughs aside, and no offense to anyone who still prays that wonderful little rhyme, the prayer I want to talk about is specific and intentional cries to God.
Without going into too much detail, the past year has been very wonderful and very hard for many different reasons. I cannot count the number of times I have audibly talked to God excited and amazed, frustrated and hurt. There were even moments of loud, weeping tears when I didn’t have any words to say.
I’m in no way saying that I’m the perfect praying person, I’m actually still trying to get the hang of it, but what I’ve learned is that the more communication with God you’re doing, the more you WILL hear Him, feel Him, and be moved by Him.
Even back in college, when I was just a freshman, I decided that I was going to live a life that I wanted. Without turning my back on God, I chose to party and live in complete sin, all the while proclaiming His name at church on the weekends and to people in my life. I was a mess. One of my strategies during this period of time was to “pray less.” I just won’t talk to Him, then I won’t feel Him as much. I don’t recommend this, because it’s true. No shame, no guilt, no tug in the other direction, nothing. Let me tell you, this season ended with a crash-landing and a bad taste in my mouth. Luckily, we have a Father who extends His merciful hand to all of us, so when we do crash land, He’s right there, offering to help us back up.
I chose to pray less. It’s a beautiful thing, that gift of choice. But, what I ask you is, what choices are you making in your prayer life?
Why should we choose to pray?
My pastor always tells me, “It’s not about the end-point, it’s about the journey.” Isn’t that how God works in our lives? Sometimes He just hands it to us, but most of the time (at least in my life) He has taken me down a road, where I had to learn and grow. A key part to this growth has always been specific and intentional prayer.
Through prayer, we have our greatest weapon ready to go against spiritual warfare! Ephesians 6:17-18 says, “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To the end keep alert with perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”
My ESV commentary says this, “Prayer in the Spirit is a form of worship (John 4:23-24) enabled by the Spirit of God, who intercedes on behalf of the person who prays (Rom. 8:26-27).”
So, how can all of this be applied to our lives?
As I’ve continued to study and literally pray about my prayer life, God has helped lead me to a strategy that has helped my prayer life tremendously. With the help and motivation received from reading Priscilla Shirer’s “Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer,” I’ve found a way to keep my prayer life strong, to pray specifically and expectantly, and it’s simple – I am writing my requests down. For me, it’s a specific notebook, one that will be worn and torn from the usage and years. I have been writing down requests as people have talked to me, asking for prayer, but I’ve also been writing down my own prayers for my family, life, heart, etc. The reason why I chose this notebook is because I’m a writer. God created me to write, and as I write my requests, I’m literally writing to the Lord, sometimes I’m praying out loud as the words form with ink. Writing down my requests does two things for me – it clears my head and reminds me.
I am praying for you as I write this, that if you feel you’ve lost passion for prayer, the Holy Spirit revives that part of your heart. Or, if you feel disconnected with our Father, that you feel His presence in the current present, and that you avoid the words “almost” and “someday” and replace them with now and today. Or, you feel like you’re heart is on fire for the Lord and your prayer life strong – keep it up! Wherever you are in your walk and prayer life, I am praying you never cease to pray, knowing our Lord and Savior is faithful, because God is so great and God is so good.