Monday, November 07, 2005

Notes on Prayer

I don't know about you, but prayer is one area where I struggle. My husband's sermon last night was on the Science of Prayer, so I wanted to share my notes, mainly the ones about how to pray.

These are the suggestions for making your prayer time more meaningful. Take a piece of paper and divide it into four pieces. On each piece, write the things you want to pray about and "present your case" before God (this is just one way to do it, of course!). I like this method because it keeps the mind focused on what you're doing, making it harder for the mind to wander, which is one of my biggest problems. I start out praying for someone's health and end up thinking about what I'm going to fix for supper!

1. Confession - take a few minutes to write down the things you need to confess to the Lord as sin. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring things to your mind. After you write them down, tell the Lord about them and ask Him to forgive you, then throw the paper away. God has forgiven you; forgive yourself!

2. Thanksgiving - Write down things you are thankful for, then go over this list with God, thanking Him for what He's done in your life that day (or the previous day).

3. Worship - Make a list of things for which you worship God - His attributes such as mercy, forgiveness, grace, longsuffering . . .

4. Petitions - Make or update your prayer list for others. Write down what you're going to ask God for each person, His promises to claim, why you want this for the other person, and promise to praise Him for answered prayer. Our pastor taught us to pray for specific things, but to remind God that we will still serve and love Him no matter what He chose to do. We want things from Him, but we don't demand them! Spend a few minutes naming areas of your life that you need His help with, and ask for His power on your life. We must have His power in order to change our lives and to live for His glory each day.

Some ideas I had while listening to this sermon . . . for the thanksgiving part, I would like to keep a thanksgiving journal, writing down 5 things to be thankful for each day, including praises for answered prayer. A 3-section notebook would be good for this method of praying, using them to record the last 3 steps each day and keeping a running prayer list. I also thought of having a list of missionaries, national leaders, etc. and just go through that list, a couple from it each day, writing down specific things to pray for them each day. I have the hardest time keeping up with a list of missionaries and ministries to pray for!

I hope this has stirred you to pray more. It sure was a blessing to me, and I hope to see my own prayer life revived by putting this into practice.

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