How is your prayer life? When I ask people that question, I get a wide variety of answers. Some say “great, I pray before all of my meals.” Others say, “pretty good, I know I can talk to God when I need Him.” Still others say, “I don’t pray anymore because He never seems to give me what I ask for.”
I think most of us would roll our eyes at those types of answers, but again I ask you personally “how is your prayer life?”
Let’s start by asking the question…What is prayer? Luther’s catechism says that prayer is speaking to God in words and thoughts. So, what should we pray about? Again, the catechism says we should ask for anything that tends to the glory of God, and to our own and our neighbor’s welfare, both spiritual and bodily blessings. We should also praise and thank God for who He is and what He has done. Seems to me, we can talk with God about anything! We can pray silently as well as out loud or even in song. We can pray a memorized prayer like the Lord’s prayer as well as just talking to your Lord. We can pray kneeling, standing, sitting, walking, driving, anywhere and anytime. We can pray for ourselves, family, friends, people you don’t even know. We can and should pray for forgiveness and restoration. The main point is for you to PRAY OFTEN.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18…Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
An overweight man decided it was time to shed some pounds. He informed his coworkers that he was going on a diet and would no longer be bringing donuts to the office. He knew it would be hard to resist stopping at the bakery on the way to work, but he committed himself to remaining strong and resisting temptation.
His coworkers were surprised one morning to see him arrive at the office with a big box of donuts. When they reminded him of his diet, he just smiled.
“These are very special donuts,” he explained. “When I left for the office this morning, I knew I was going to drive by the bakery, and I wondered if maybe the Lord might want me to have some donuts today. I wasn’t sure, so I prayed, ‘Lord, if you want me to stop and buy some donuts, let there be an open parking place directly in front of the bakery.’ As you know, parking places in front of that bakery are hard to get!”
“So, the parking place was there?” one of his coworkers asked.
“It was a miracle,” the man replied. “The eighth time around the block, there it was!”
Ouch…I don’t think that is what God is looking for in our prayers. We should not try to manipulate God into rubber stamping what we have already decided to do. Reminds me of Jesus. He did not want to have to die on the cross, so He prayed to the Father. He did not demand things go His way, instead He prayed in Luke 22:42… “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Our prayers should always be in praise and worship…seeking God’s will for our situation and life choices. God (our loving Father) wants us to talk to Him about everything, our concerns, our Joy, our sorrow. But we need to remember that He hears the prayers of all Christians and answers in His own way and His own time.
I want to share my daily prayer life, perhaps it will help yours.
- First thing in the morning, I stumble out of bed into a long hot shower (opens my sinuses). While there I talk to God. I thank Him for keeping me safe over the night, thank Him for this new day, seek His direction for the plans and tasks that I have scheduled. I then pray for my family individually by name and situation. Part of that prayer for them is…Lord / make them men and women of God / men and women of integrity / that they know You as Lord and Savior / that they live accordingly / that You bind up Satan and evil and boot him out / and replace that void with more of your Holy spirit. Take a few minutes to process each section of this prayer…and then offer it up for your loved ones.
- Really….go back and pray that prayer for your family…then continue on!
- After I get dressed, I then walk for 1-3 miles for exercise. That’s when I pray for others including many of you. I ask for physical, emotional, spiritual, financial blessings. I pray for you to be good stewards of His blessings…to get to know God a little better and to grow a little closer to Him today. I pray for my neighbors, the church, city, issues of the day type things…as well prayers of thanks for His many blessings.
- I stay connected with God throughout the day. Short conversations, seeking His will, having a thankful heart for all of His blessings, and inviting Him into each of my thoughts, words, and actions.
- Then right before bed, as I am winding down and brushing my teeth, I end the day in a short prayer to God. Thanking Him for the day, assessing how I did with each new opportunity, confessing any way that I have let Him down today. I then ask Him for a safe, healthy, refreshing night sleep for me…and for my family.
I am not saying that my way is right for you, but perhaps it helps you make a plan for your time with the Lord. Start out slowly and add as time goes by.
Take a minute to think over what a normal day’s prayer life looks like for you. Do you connect with God regularly and often? Are there any changes He would want you to make regarding your prayer life? Do you praise Him, seek His will, confess and seek re-direction? Do you lift up the needs of family…friend…co-workers…neighbors? Do you pray for your enemies…and those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior?
In this unique season of all of our lives, are you lifting up those impacted by this current pandemic? Those suffering with the coronavirus, those who have lost loved ones. Those out working in places that put them in danger. Those who are hurting financially, (workers and business owners.) Those seeking food pantry help for the first time. Those who this “stay in place” “social distancing” “isolation” has left them lonely, anxious, and depressed.
Wow….I guess I have really challenged you to adjust your prayer life!!! Think about it! The creator of the universe has given you a direct line to Him 24/7! You would be a fool not to use it!
You can also leave prayer requests at royred.org. I will continue on this topic of prayer in my next 2 devotions.
Pastor Dave – (call me at 440-237-7958 ext. 118 if you need to talk).