December 3, 2020

Living a Life of Prayer (Part 2)

Welcome to Coffee and the Word with Sherry! We're going to continue talking about our study of living a life of prayer. Now in our last session, we talked a little bit about why we pray and how we can go from having a compartmentalized prayer life, a sectioned off time of prayer to living an actual life of prayer.  Now living a life of prayer, as I mentioned in our last session, is really a continual conversation with God. It's a flow.  And, a life of prayer with that continual conversation with God is wonderful and that's our goal. But we do need to boost it daily with dedicated times of prayer. Now, a practical example might be that I cook healthy food, hopefully every day, for my husband and I.  But, we do boost our nutrition and our nutrients with vitamins and supplements so we eat healthy, but we give it a boost.  Well, the same thing goes with prayer.  We live a life of prayer but we boost our prayer life by living a life and turning it into a living life with prayer by dedicated times. So, in other words we have those times that we block off and we sit down, we listen and we talk to God.  

Now there's a difference between saying prayers (You know, the words between “Dear God” and “Amen”)  and the awareness of being in the flow of his power and provision. So, structured or dedicated prayer times can turn into that continual flow between us and the Lord. But, sometimes it does take us a little bit of time. And, we have a part to play and we need to make some effort in this area. So, I want to start by saying that our definition of prayer should be more. It's a continual interaction between the natural and the spiritual realm. It's a constant flow of communication between us and Him. In other words, living a life of prayer means we no longer again attempt to get God to do what we want, when we want and how we think he should do it.  But actually, that we're trusting him that a continual life of prayer is a continual communication with him.  

Now a lot of times... I've taught a lot of women over the years, and they have an anxiety or a fear of praying to get it right - to pray the right way;  to say the right words;  to say it in the right order, so that god will do what we think he should do and when we think he should do it. But, there really is no wrong way to pray if you're talking to God.  I am going to give you some practical tips about that dedicated prayer time and how to make it as fruitful as possible; as meaningful as possible.  But let's go back just a little bit. Again, remember what is prayer?  It's simply talking to God.  It's talking to your creator, the one who knows you more than anyone else, and then listening to what he has to say to us.  So, communication is a two-way street, right?  We talk, but we also must listen. And, sometimes that's the challenge. And, we'll be talking later in this series on how to hear God's voice.  But, right now, I just want to talk about the fact that communication is a two-way street.  Let's just keep that in mind. And, it's with our Heavenly Father, so it is a simple and uncomplicated conversation. 

I've heard again from so many women who say they feel inadequate praying. They don't know how to do it right. They don't know what to say to God. And, the thing about that is it's a conversation with your heavenly father. And so, just have a conversation with him. He is God and we are not.  We revere him.  We praise him.  And, we'll talk about that. But it's a conversation. So, dedicated prayer time is like talking to your best friend - to the one who loves you unconditionally. He  knows everything about you because he created you. So, the very first thing I like to do, and I think is very important, is to ask him to forgive me of my sins. So, ask him.  Number one, ask him to forgive you of your sins. If we read in Acts 3:19 “now repent of your sins and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped away, then thank him for sending his son to die on the cross.”

This is so important! It's not that we forget that Jesus died on the cross for us, but i think we don't acknowledge it sometimes as much as we should. So, thank him for sending his son. 

Read John 3:16 - a verse that's very familiar to everyone, but really think about what this says. 

“For God loved the world so much, that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”  

So, we definitely go to him, and ask him to forgive us our sins. Then we thank him for sending his son. And then, we can tell him our needs. He wants that. He wants us to turn to him for all of our needs, to be completely dependent on him for everything. He wants us to ask.

1 Peter 5:7 says:  “give all your worries and cares to god for he cares about you and then when we pray we must pray with faith and belief.”

Matthew 21:22 says: “you can pray for anything if you have faith and you will receive it.”

Now pray knowing that the answer will come. Pray knowing in your heart and in your spirit that the answer will come. And, pray with confidence. Know that that answer may not look like what you think it should look like or even be close sometimes.  But, trust him because he will answer. So, when we pray, we pray with that faith that we know an answer is coming. We want to pray with reverence. And that's what i was saying earlier about “He's God, and we're not.

We want to revere him. “Because of the lord our God, bow low before his feet, for he is holy.” - Psalm 99:5.  And, then we want to pray with worship. We want to worship him, so we revere him and we worship him.

So yes, Lord! I believe the man said, and he worshipped Jesus. That's from John 9:38. And,I love that! Yes, Lord! I believe. And then, he worshipped jesus. So, we must worship him. And, it's okay if all you say is “I worship you, Lord”, if that's coming from your heart. You don't have to sing a worship song, unless you want to. You don't have to recite scripture. Just,  “I worship you Lord. I trust you. I have faith in you.  And, I worship you, and I read you all right.

Another thing is we need to pray for each other. So, sometimes, when I go to my dedicated time of prayer, I might bring with me a list of prayer requests, or people that I want to remember in my prayer time. In jesus’ prayer in John 17, Jesus prays for himself, for his disciples, for all believers, and every generation to come. So, we need to pray for each other. 

Now, it is important that we follow this example and pray for each other the way Jesus did. Don't be afraid to say you'll pray for someone. It needn't be complicated. It doesn't need to be a long prayer. It doesn't need to sound a certain way. You don't need to use certain words or phrases to make it valid. it needn't be loud. It needn't be soft. Just pray from your heart for that other person. And, the cool thing about praying for someone is, no one can stop you from doing that. It's between you and God.  I mean, I know over the years, I've had people say, “oh don't pray for me. You know, “I don't need it”, or “I'm not the person to pray for”. That doesn't stop me because it's between me and God.

All right. So, let's talk briefly about praying in front of others, and then we'll be done for today. Sometimes I have lots of women in different Bible studies and different events and conferences say to me,  “I am embarrassed or intimidated, timid or shy. Whatever it might be. From praying in a group prayer, because they feel inadequate. So, maybe you've been in a prayer circle or a group of people praying, holding hands, and praying.  Whatever it might be, a home group setting, whatever it might be, and if you're uncomfortable praying aloud

just know this - don't compare yourself to others. And, when the Holy Spirit prompts you to

pray out loud, do it.  But, don't feel pressured.  Yes of course, you know why you pray aloud is so that your voice is going forth with your prayer. The words are going out there, and other people think it blesses the people around you. But, I know that there have been a lot of people telling me that, you know, they've been intimidated in that situation. Rest assured that God is with you. Just pray.

On the other hand, if you're not ready to pray around the group again, don't force it. 

Prayer is not a performance, and you don't get a grade from God on it. And, don't let other people pressure you into that. But there is such a benefit of praying aloud with others when the Holy Spirit prompts you, and when you feel confident. 

So let's go back real quick. A life of prayer is continual conversation with god, boosted daily by times of prayer. So, that's what i have for today. We will continue in this Living Out series. We're going to be talking about several different things - how to study the word, and then also, we'll be talking doing a session on how to hear God's voice and some of the things I've learned over the years. So, God bless you! And, i will talk with you next time!

Article written by Sherry Poundstone

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