I have not talked or written about prayer much. There are mountains of books out there on prayer and I have only ever read one all the way through. The only quote about prayer I can think of is CS Lewis when he says prayer doesn’t change God, it changes me. Not sure I really agree with that but I get what he is saying.
I pray regularly, mostly in the morning (Isaiah 55:6), and I try to start with thankfulness (Psalms 100:4). My best prayers are when I am desperate and there is a hunger, expectation, and hope that God will come through when I am in a broken place of overt need.
Prayer is talking to God plain and simple. Some times he feels closer than others, but that is just a feeling and not reality. I do remember a very significant time of increased fruitfulness and intimacy with God was when I started praying in tongues. If you want a great faith builder on praying along these lines to break the power of addiction you have to read Jackie Pullinger’s book Chasing the Dragon.
I don’t have a bunch to say about prayer, but I can tell you what I do. What works for me and what I am confident will work for you. So….. here it goes:
Just about every morning and often multiple times through the day I pray the Lords Prayer. You just can’t go wrong with, forgive, protect, and provide for us. Great way to start the day, like bacon, coffee, and pannekoeken.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
A very cool prayer I was praying a year before I knew it was a scripture and before I knew there was a great little book about it is the Prayer of Jabez 1 Chronicles 4:1
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.
When I am having trouble sleeping I pray the 23rd Psalm, more than anything it is reminder that God has my back and it brings me peace. Praying the 23rd Psalm is not just a prayer, it’s a promise. A fantastic must read companion book is A Shepard Looks At Psalms 23.
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
How many of you men know that prayer paves the way to where you are going. It’s always a smart choice to pray scripture, it’s also a dangerous one because God answers prayer and when it comes to character, there is price to pay. The good comes at the price of the hard.
Ready to pray some radical prayers? Please think about each of these before you pray them, especially the one about Moses.
I remember wanting what Moses had, I was jealous for it in fact. I wanted that face to face with God and the long list of other really cool stuff that Moses did. I read in Numbers 12:3 that Moses was the most humble man on the face of the earth so in my zealousness for God and what he was doing in my life I regularly prayed that God would make me the most humble man on earth (what an idiot, or a genius, depends on how you look at it, let’s go with genius for now), even more humble than Moses. I was very naive at the time and I can tell you I paid heavy for that one. It was a major butt kicker that I felt the ramifications of for decades. Today I am happy I prayed it, but if I would have known….I am not sure I would have. Just saying, the price was high, but the pay off has been infinitely greater.
Here’s a list for you, if you are ready. If you want what great men have had, repeat after me, out loud……and hold on.
Jesus, give me……
The faith of Abraham
The closeness of Enoch
The Vision of Noah
The Favor of Joseph
The Humility of Moses
A warrior like Joshua
The strength of Samson
The courage of Gideon
The insight of Samuel
The relationships of David
The Wisdom of Solomon
Resolve of Job
Signs and wonders of Elijah
The hunger of Elisha
The discernment of Daniel
The tenacity of Nehemiah
Focus of John the Baptist
Boldness of Peter
Encouragement of Barnabas
The passion of Paul
The intellect of Apollos
The intimacy of John
And as much of Jesus as I can handle
Good job, you will not regret it. Take God at his word, believe that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him, that he gives good things to those who ask and prepare to receive.