I’m not sure why – but nobody ever taught me to pray. I became a preacher without having much of a prayer life or even prayer understanding. I heard people pray and my parents had family devotion where we’d gather for prayer. Dad always started praying with the words, “Our most gracious heavenly father . . . “ So some of it did stick. Perhaps I was daydreaming the days they taught the Sunday School class on “how” to pray. Thankfully, this did change and while today I’d not define myself as a man of prayer, it is better. Let me share some things that worked for me.
I’d add a caveat. There is nothing new. A book that helped me was Bill Hybels Too Busy Not to Pray. I suggest you pick it up. Of course you can also order it from Amazon by clicking here somewhere.
What Hybels material really helped me with was that writing or journaling my prayer was a better place to rather than verbalizing them.
1. Slow down and begin with yesterday – Psalms often has the word, “Selah” meaning pause and consider this. Our modern hectic culture allows very few “Selah” moments. To get things stopped in order to prepare to pray I write a single paragraph about yesterday’s events. It forces some review and thinking about yesterday. What is there to celebrate? What came into my world that I need to talk to Jesus about.
2. Adoration – write a single paragraph of adoration to and about Jesus. Now, this is not as easy as it seems it should be. It is easy to get into the routine of offering adoration about the same things. To combat this narrow consideration of God and His greatness, I use some sort of devotional book that expresses wonder about who Jesus is. It may require me reading several devotions before something resonates, but when it does I write a paragraph about this specific aspect of the nature of God. My favorite books on the nature of God are five volumes by Charles J. Rolls. These books are out of print, but on occasion can be found at Amazon or American Book Exchange. I’m including the links for Amazon at the bottom of this post.
After I all Rolls’ stuff I started using G. Campbell Morgan’s Searchlight from the Word. It takes a bit more daily reading to get to something that is adoration. Still good stuff though.
3. Confession – no book is needed here. A single paragraph confessing my faults, failings and fears.
4. Thanksgiving – no book needed here either. A paragraph of gratitude. Doing this each day helps me scratch beneath the surface and to be grateful for His MANY blessings to me.
5. Supplication – My written petition – “God save our lost son . . . He needs you. Save him now. Save my grandsons.” Then on to specific needs that I’m aware of.
A.C.T.S. – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
My prayer grew from this foundation to using Bible to pray God’s will for children. Again, there are books available to help with this.
The last portion of my prayer time is with my hands lifted. Paul said he wanted men everywhere to worship (prayer is included in the idea expressed by the Greek word) lifting holy hands without wrath and doubting. Lifting one’s hands is an act of surrender. You can’t be in charge and have your hands up at the same time. Paul also indicated this was to be prayer/surrender without wrath.
“Without wrath” – wrath has to do with what has already happened. With hands lifted I can surrender any and all bad that I’m angry about. I let go of my anger . . . surrendering it – hands lifted
“Without doubt” has reference to the future. We don’t doubt for yesterday, we doubt for tomorrow. Yesterday is a known, tomorrow is an unknown. With hands lifted I turn loose of the uncertainty of the future. I’ll walk into it “without doubt.”
You talk about cleansing the spirit and mind – this last bit, built on the foundation of what has preceded – gets one ready to tackle about anything.
Final two components – listening for and to God. What is the spirit saying to me? What is the spirit saying to the church? Digging in for some time with the word of God.
Now . . . I’ve shared – how do you pray? What has worked? My prayer is relatively structured compared to many. I’m interested to learn . . .
<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002K7DIU0/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002K7DIU0&linkCode=as2&tag=truthpublicat-20″>The name above every name, (His The names and titles of Jesus Christ) by Rolls</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=truthpublicat-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B002K7DIU0″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />
<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008YKMFOC/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B008YKMFOC&linkCode=as2&tag=truthpublicat-20″>Rolls, Charles J.’s Time’s Noblest Name: L, M, N, O (Names and Titles of Jesus Christ) Revised edition by Rolls, Charles J. published by Loizeaux Brothers [Paperback] (1985)</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=truthpublicat-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B008YKMFOC” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />
<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000K4UN58/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000K4UN58&linkCode=as2&tag=truthpublicat-20″>The Name Above Evry Name: The names and Titles of Jesus Christ P, Q, R, S</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=truthpublicat-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000K4UN58″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />