Key Practices of the Christian Life — Practice #3, Prayer — Living in God’s Presence

9 Sep

“Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6

 Prayer is one of the greatest ways we relate to God. If you really want to grow in your relationship with God, you must grow in prayer. Like any relationship, love is spelled T-I-M-E. We must give daily time to being in God’s presence in prayer if our love for God is going to grow. Below is a simple method for prayer that you may find helpful in your life. 

Step One – Give Thanks (5-10 minutes)

As you go to the Lord, praise Him for who He is and thank Him for what He has done. Make it your goal to ask nothing of God for the first few minutes of your time of prayer but just worship Him. This will help your mind and heart to become wonderfully focused as you come before the Lord. You will come to realize afresh what a great and mighty God you relate to every day.

Step Two – Prepare Your Heart (5-10 minutes)

Reflecting on God’s greatness causes us see our own need more clearly. We know we have sinned, so we confess our sins, knowing God through Christ is faithful to cleanse us and draw us back into fellowship with Him. We know we cannot live the Christian life alone, so we call on God to empower us, to fill us with the fruit of the Spirit and to use us in His service.

Step Three – Prayers of Intercession (10-15 minutes)

After praising God and preparing your heart, begin to bring specific needs to God. One way to focus your mind in intercessory prayer is to begin with yourself and slowly move your requests out to family, friends, church, town, nation and world. Or you can go in the opposite direction, beginning to pray for the world and then narrowing it down to your own life at the end.  

Step Four – Pray the Word (5 minutes)

It is a good idea, at the close of your prayer time, to come back to the Scripture you studied during your time in the Word and begin to pray through it. You may praise God for something you learned there or ask Him to work some principle you saw into your life or you may just want to pray back to the Lord some particularly meaningful portion of Scripture you read that day. Reflecting in prayer on the Word you studied can be a wonderful way to connect what you heard from God to what He heard from you. In this way, your relationship with God is strengthened and spiritual maturity can grow. 

As you can see, the combined time between the Word and prayer each morning will be about 1 hour. This is a big commitment. Spiritual growth is a big commitment. If godliness is great gain, like Paul says to Timothy, we should give ourselves to spiritual growth. Try it for a month. It takes a month for any discipline to take hold in our lives. Try this approach for a month. I am confident that for many of you, if you really try this approach, you will never look back.

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