|Listen to the Bible|
Thoughts and Commentary on today's reading:One of the most important things the Saviour taught is how to pray. In fact, the Bible tells us that God characterizes His Church (His people, no matter what denomination) by their prayers. His House is called - not a house of preaching or teaching (although these are good and important things) - His House is called the House of Prayer (Matthew 21:13).
Considering how vitally important prayer is to our spiritual lives, I'd like to focus on Christ's prayer lesson, found in today's reading - Luke 11:1-4.
We all know that prayer is vitally important. Prayer is spiritual breathing!
James 6:16 “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
1 Peter 3:12 “For the Eyes of the Lord (Yahweh, in Hebrew) are over the righteous, and His Ears are open unto their prayers: but the Face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My Face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Sadly, when we're totally honest, many Christians find prayer boring. They may not come out and say that praying is boring, but when you suggest communing with God for a whole hour on our knees, the reaction ranges from shock to: “I can’t spend a whole hour PRAYING! I wouldn’t have any idea of what to SAY for that long? What am I supposed to DO for THAT LONG? Wow! If I can concentrate on praying for 10 MINUTES, I’m doing good!”
Don't get me wrong! The reason I can write about this is that I've been there! I understand what that's like. But that's not where we want to be. And it's certainly not where God wants us to be. So, let me share with you some of what God helped me to see, to bring me out from behind that "I-don't-know-how-to-commune-with-God-for-any-serious-length-of-time" road-block.
First, I needed an attitude adjustment. What do you call a human friend, who you can only stand to spend 10 minutes with? Of course you would quickly correct me… If I can only stand to spend 10 minutes with a person – that person is definitely NOT my friend! There is no friendship, where there is no willing investment of time. In fact, if we are good friends with someone and then, for one reason or another, no longer spend time with them, we are no longer friends – only strangers with memories from a past friendship.
So the first attitude needing adjustment is our desire for God. Our prayer life comes alive in living color, when we spend the time communing with our Heavenly Father because we WANT to BE WITH HIM!
Not only is prayer a vital part of communing with God, it is the vehicle He uses to bring about deliverance, healing and conversion. How can we be bored with prayer, when we understand that through it, we get to meet with the Almighty and see some of what God will accomplish through it?
So, with that motivation in place, let's now consider HOW to pray in a meaningful and effective way. Certainly, Christ taught us how to pray by giving us the famous "Lord's Prayer". But, it wasn't meant only as a memorized prayer that we should just pray over and over again. Yes, we pray it - repeating it frequently. But, if we prayed even this perfect prayer, over and over again, it would soon lose its meaning to us and become just an empty repetition (Matthew 6:7). The Saviour didn't mean for us to only pray this same prayer over and over again. He was giving us a PRAYER RECIPE.
So, incorporating the elements of this prayer recipe will help us remix our own prayer-life, even breaking through the 1-hour prayer barrier! Here's how:
Start off by planning to spend a whole hour with God in prayer. During this hour, you'll be including all the elements of prayer to keep it meaningful throughout. In fact, I think you'll find (as I do) that it's actually not hard to pray for as long a whole hour - rather you'll find the hour too short! Really! Try it!
1. FIVE MINUTES: PRAISE GOD
To start off your hour of prayer with God, spend the first 5 minutes in praising Him. Honor Him for Who He is to you - personally. In Christ's prayer recipe, He demonstrated this ingredient by saying,
"Our Father, Who Art in Heaven..."
"Our Father, Who Art in Heaven..."
Praise God for His Names (Yahweh, El Shaddai, Elohim, the Almighty, my Salvation, King of kings, Heavenly Father, etc), Character (He is loving, merciful, gracious, etc...), and great Works. Seek to bless HIM by your praises!
Praise Him for things that are on your mind right now. Praise Him for one special thing He has done in your life in the past week. Praise Him for His goodness to your family. Seek to bless God (isn't it an amazing thought that WE might be empowered to bless GOD?) during your prayer time! Ask Him to help you be a blessing to HIM!
Psalm 145:1-3 “…I will bless the Lord (Yahweh) at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
2. FIVE MINUTES: WAITING
Next, is the waiting period. Spend this time prayerfully waiting on God. Let Him pull together reflections for you. Ask Him to impress you of anything specific He wants to tell you or desires you to do during this prayer time. Like Samuel, say, “Speak, Father, Thy servant heareth.” Make a note of any sins He impresses you to confess, tasks He asks of you to do, or any other things He communicates to you in this time.
Psalm 27:14 "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."
3. FIVE MINUTES: CONFESSION
The next 5 minutes is for confession of sin. Ask God to show you anything in your life which might be displeasing to Him. Ask Him to point out attitudes that are wrong, as well as specific acts for which you have not yet made a prayer of confession. Now confess that and claim 1 John 1:9 so that you might be cleansed and your prayers empowered, and then pick up and read the Word. (Read and personally claim Psalm 51:1-19). In Christ's prayer recipe, He demonstrated this ingredient by saying, "forgive us our debts (sins)..."
1 John 1:8-9 "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
4. FIVE MINUTES: READ FROM THE WORD
Next, it’s time to read from the Bible. The Bible is spiritually compared to "Bread". Reading the Word of God is spiritually eating. Choose a portion of today's reading - like the Psalm for today, for example. Use E-sword to look up any words you think may have deeper meaning. In Christ's prayer recipe, He demonstrated this ingredient by saying, "give us this day our daily bread (physical AND spiritual food)"
Psalm 119:11 "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might (have strength) not sin against Thee."
5. FIVE MINUTES: PETITION
Next, it’s time to present your petitions to God. This is the time for you to present your requests for yourself and others, praying through your prayer list or personal prayer needs on behalf of yourself and others.
Hebrews 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
6. FIVE MINUTES: INTERCESSION
Do spiritual warfare in intercessory prayer for those on your prayer list, who are under attack. The following is a spiritual warfare prayer that is Scripturally formulated for maximum effect. It is found in my husband's and my book titled, Keys to Living Like You've Been Saved. Fill in the blanks and pray this prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, in prayer I now come before Your Throne because of Your wonderful invitation in Hebrews 4:16, where You have invited me to come boldly before Your throne to find grace and help in time of need. Thank You for this promise and this invitation. I do indeed seek Your grace and help on behalf of _________________.
He/she does not realize it, but he/she is under attack from the enemy in the area of _____________________. Thus, I come to You heavenly Father to pray and intercede for _____________ today. It may be that _____________’s own choices of friends or influences is giving Satan the legal right to attack as heavily as he is. Thus, as Hosea prayed for Gomer, I ask that You place a hedge of thorns around ________________. Cause the path of sin and all unholy influences to become a source of irritation to ________________. May he/she not find peace or comfort on this destructive path.
Satan, where you are working to destroy ________________, in the Name and Blood of Jesus (Yahshua) Christ, I bind and rebuke you and command you to take your hands off of him/her. Your legal rights to destroy ______________ are cancelled by the fact that I claim the sacrifice and victory of Jesus (Yahshua) on ___________’s behalf against you.
Heavenly Father, I ask that You will anoint _______________’s eyes with eyesalve that he/she may have spiritual discernment to recognize the spiritual battle that is going on. Please take the demonic scales from his/her eyes at this moment. May he/she have wisdom to recognize his/her need of You. Please pour out Your spirit upon ______________ in a mighty way just now to convict of sin and lead this precious one back into a right relationship with You. Because of Christ’s sacrifice on ___________’s behalf I claim His victory on the Cross for him/her. I ask that Your Holy Spirit will have all legal rights because of Christ’s sacrifice to work in a powerful way upon ________________’s mind. Draw _______________ to You in any means You see fit and most effective. Please spare nothing, but rather do all that heaven can do to save ______________________ from this and all demonic strongholds and influence to the saving of his/her soul.
Thank You for hearing and answering this prayer. In Jesus' (Yahshua’s) Name I ask it, Amen.
7. FIVE MINUTES: PRAY THE WORD
You are now halfway through the hour of prayer. Now its time to pray the Word. To do this, start praying the Scriptures… You may choose to pray the famous prayer of Jabez… Or you may pray a section of Psalm 119. Psalm 119 lends itself beautifully to prayer expression. (For example, pray Psalm 119:38-46). Whatever your pray from the Bible, personalize it. Ask God for the Promises in His Word for yourself, specifically.
Psalm 119:38-40 "Stablish (establish) Thy Word unto Thy servant (me), who is devoted to Thy fear (I reverence and worship You). Turn away my reproach (my shame) which I fear: for Thy Judgments are good. Behold, I have longed after Thy Precepts: quicken me (make me spiritually alive) in Thy Righteousness."
8. FIVE MINUTES: GIVE THANKS
Spend the next five minutes in thanksgiving. Give thanks to God for specific blessings and answered prayers in your life.
Philippians 4:6 "Be careful (filled with care, or worried) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
9. FIVE MINUTES: SING!
Spend the next five minutes in singing praises to God. Take your hymnal and sing a prayer song, sing a praise song, sing a song regarding witnessing... God loves to hear you sing - whether or not you feel you have a good voice. Let it be a time of praise in song! (Psalm 59:17)
1 Chronicles 16:8-10 "Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon His Name, make known His Deeds among the people. Sing unto Him, sing psalms unto Him, talk ye of all His wondrous Works. Glory ye in His holy Name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD."
10. FIVE MINUTES: MEDITATE UPON THE WORD
At 50 minutes into your hour, meditate on some aspect of the Word which you found personally meaningful. Ask God to speak through His Word. Choose a verse in today's reading (or another meaningful Bible Promise, or Torah portion) and prayerfully consider it and its meaning. Copy the verse onto a 3x5 card so you can carry it with you to meditate on it throughout the day as well. Work to memorize it.
Psalm 119:97 "...O how love I Thy Law! It is my meditation all the day."
11. FIVE MINUTES: LISTEN
Your hour is nearly complete. Spend this next 5 minutes in listening prayer, desiring to hear God Speak. Spend time merging the things you have read from the Word, the things you have prayed, the things you have thanked God for, the things that you have been singing, and see how your Heavenly Father brings them all together to speak to you in a personal way. (This can take some practice, so don't feel discouraged if you do not get a full blessing from your first few attempts.)
John 10:27 "My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
12. FIVE MINUTES: PRAISE GOD
Just as you started with praise and blessing to God, end with praise and blessing to Him.
Praise the Almighty for the time you have had to spend with Him. Praise Him for the impressions that He has given you. Praise Him for the prayer requests He raised up in your mind. Praise Him through Psalm 103:1-13:
Congratulations! You have just spent a whole hour in meaningful prayer! For an amazing boost in your spiritual life - do this everyday!Psalm 103:1-13 "... Bless the LORD (Yahweh), O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy Name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The LORD (Almighty Yahweh) executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known His Ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth (watches over with tender care) them that fear Him."