New Beginnings 2019: Prayer
When we look into the Bible and examine what the Scriptures have to tell us regarding prayer in the lives of believers, we see things like…
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” Colossians 4:2
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6
“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” 1 Timothy 2:1
There are recorded prayers all throughout the Bible. Much of the Psalms are depictions of the prayers of God’s people of old in both their joy and in their sorrow. The verses highlighted above are imperative commands given to us that are to be obeyed out of hearts that are changed and are in the process of being transformed by the power of the gospel. The Holy Spirit indwells us and prompts us to cry out to our Father. Yet so often many of us find ourselves with the disciples saying, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk. 11:1). If we are honest, for most of us prayer doesn’t come naturally. We often don’t feel like doing it, it seems awkward, it comes off redundant, it takes time, and it is instinctive to go about our days moving from one thing into the next without ever turning our thoughts toward God and our need of Him.
This is why prayer is a habit that must be developed. It cannot be something that is derived solely upon feelings but thoughtfully by faith. It’s learning how to come to grips with the fact that we need God far more than we realize so that we might say along with the hymn writer, “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee.” Our own Savior in all that He came to accomplish had it said of Him that He “often withdrew to desolate places and prayed” (Lk. 5:16). Jesus himself knew what it meant to come before His Father in silence and solitude and pour out His heart before Him.
What about you? As you encounter the God of the Bible and the grace found in His Son are you moved to cultivate this private life of prayer further or for the first time in 2019?
If you’re someone saying yes to that question here are some things that could be helpful to you…
- Pray in response to the Scriptures. So often the reason our prayers are stale is that we are praying our own thoughts instead of praying God’s thoughts back to Him. Use the Psalter as a good place to grow your prayer life using this pattern.
- Build a personal guide in a prayer journal. Lay out days of the week in a prayer journal you want to pray for friends, family, the lost, the church, etc. You’ll be amazed when you look back on things you were praying for in the past and how you’ll have a personal recounting of God’s faithfulness in your life.
- Commit yourself to God in prayer throughout your day. Have set out segments throughout a day where you pause for brief yet sincere prayer. Use a resource like C.H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening to steep your thoughts so that you can commit the beginning and end of your day to the Lord in prayer.
- Pray for one another in Community Group. God gives us grace as we confess our sins and pray for one another (Jam. 5:16). We need to be involved in one another’s lives at close range so that we can support one another in our burdens by our prayers.
- Be enriched by good books on prayer. There are TONS of great resources and books out there on the topic of prayer. Some are actual prayers, some are unpacking how we are to understand prayer. Here are some of my personal favorites…
The Valley of Vision Available at the Resource Center
Streams of Mercy: Prayers of Confession and Celebration
Every Season Prayers: Gospel-Centered Prayers for the Whole of Life
A Praying Life
Praying the Bible Available at the Resource Center
George Muller: Delighted in God Available at the Resource Center
May 2019 be a year, regardless of whether you are someone who is just beginning to pray or whether you are a prayer warrior, that we grow in faithful dependence upon our Lord by our prayers.