We have looked at the characteristics of prayer and the reasons we do not pray. In this last installment we are going to look at the aspects of participating in a life of prayer. Through out the bible we see one thing in common with all of God’s people, from Adam to Abraham, from Moses through the Prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles. They all prayed and what they prayed for can help us in our prayer lives.
Modern technology has deprived a generation of ability to read a map. When I was a child we would take out a map and plan every part of our route. We would highlight the highways and byways. Planning each and every stop and then anticipate what we would see that was not on the map. When I was in the military over thirty years ago map reading was taken to the next level. Today with our GPS we no longer need a map we know where we are and where we are going with the push of a button. Yet if you do not take the time to update your GPS it can lead you astray.
In our spiritual lives we often make the mistake of not updating our GPS, our God Positioning System. One thing we need to do is pray for direction in our lives. When God guided His people He did it one step at a time and He guides us today in the same way. Imagine of you knew your entire life’s journey ahead of time. I work in an imaging center and one day they were interviewing new MRI technologist. This particular person was looking at the computer that showed the scheduled patients. He commented that it was so cool that they could see the entire weeks work load at one time. When he was told that was not the whole week but just that day’s work load he was shocked and left, feeling a bit overwhelmed. Imagine if we could see our entire life’s journey at one time we would feel the same way. That is why God guides us one step at a time, and we are to participate in that with our prayers, asking for guidance one step at a time.
Solomon was able to ask God for anything, he could have had riches beyond belief, power that could not have been questioned but he asked for wisdom. God granted Solomon’s request and gave him much more.
1 Kings 3:7-13
7 “Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”
10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.
When we pray we are not only seeking direction but seeking wisdom from God. It is wisdom that will help guide us through the tough times. I am a father and at Christmas there was always the thing you had to put together. Today many people shop at stores like IKEA where many things include the notation “assembly required”. Being a man I often forgo the need for instruction and take of on my own. I fail more often than I succeed. When we fail to pray for wisdom we are failing to ask God for the instructions. Yet He has told us no matter what the situation He will give us the wisdom to handle it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”(James 1:5)
Praying for the right things is a task that often eludes us. Now wait a minute I thought God said He would grant us our hearts desires. God says ask and it will be given and He is a person that keeps His promises. Our desires should be to follow Christ, when we are in Christ, living for Christ our hearts desires should be for God. Our prayers should be beyond selfishness and self-centered desires. We should be praying for others to receive wisdom and knowledge of God so that they can have the relationship that we cherish. We should pray that others have strength and patience to help them in times of trouble. We should be praying that God fills them with joy and peace. There is nothing wrong with praying for the things we need, but a strong prayer life will ALWAYS include the needs of others.
Lastly pray for God’s power to walk in His strength as a living example of what it is to walk with God. Try as we might it is not something that can be accomplished under our own power. When selfishness, self-centeredness, greed, lust, contempt, anger swell up in you ask God for the power to over come these and give you peace.
To build a strong prayer life we nee many things and the short list is as follows
1 - We need a desire to grow spiritually mature. Growth is the outward manifestation of ones maturity in there walk with God.
2 - We need to take an honest look at our excuses for not praying. Decide what is more important, spending time with the one you love.
3 - Start a prayer list or notebook, this is a practical step in building a prayer life.
4 -Talk to God through out the whole day, keep Him at the front of your thoughts through out your day.
5- Set an initial goal start with five minutes then with training build up your time of prayer.
‘The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective"
Thank you to all who have taken the time to read my series. I pray that it has been a blessing to you.