A PRAYER GUIDE FOR THE REST OF US
Most of us want to pray, or know we should pray, but it can seem daunting to slow down long enough to truly engage with God.
But when we genuinely pray, we go into the presence of God. However, since God is omnipresent aren’t we always in God’s presence? Well, yes and no. While God may be everywhere, there is no certainty you are engaging Him. It is possible to have dinner with your spouse, and because you are distracted, never enter into his or her presence. We can do that with God.
When you pray in earnest, you come face-to-face with the God of the universe, the God who shows you grace, the God who adopts you, the God who guides and strengthens you.
The most amazing thing about prayer is we are communicating directly to the Lord Almighty who is the final authority over everything. We don’t need to go through a priest or any other person, memorize a chant, or follow any tradition or ritual. We just need to talk and listen.
As we spend time in His presence talking to Him, listening to Him, reading His Word and meditating on His principles, eventually we will grow to a place in our relationship with God that we recognize and understand what He is saying to us.
But how can we be sure it is God speaking? We can know because thoughts will come into our minds that we didn’t know come from us. They will be consistent with His Word (The Bible) and what He wants for us. Reading the Bible always keeps us aligned with God’s will and plan for our lives.
PREPARE TO PRAY
- SCHEDULE A TIME TO PRAY. No Seriously. Perhaps each evening looking at your schedule for the next day and determine the exact time you will set aside time to be alone with God. Don’t just assume you’ll get up early, or that you’ll pray when the kids go to bed. Schedule it and anticipate it.
- HAVE A PEN AND PAPER/JOURNAL READY
- TURN ON WORSHIP OR INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC. (A few great artist recommendations for a prayer time: John Mark McMillan and Josh Garrels).
- KNEEL OR SIT ON THE FLOOR (this can help you stay focused and keeps you in a posture of prayer).
- READ SCRIPTURE:
- Our friends from The Bible Project put together an incredible interactive Bible Reading plan with interactive videos. readscripture.org (also has an iPhone APP and an Android App)
- Or pick a Bible Reading Plan from the YouVersion site: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans (also has an iPhone APP and an Android APP).
- CHOOSE A PRAYER MODEL (SEE BELOW) TO HELP GUIDE YOU THROUGH YOUR TIME OF PRAYER.
PRAYER MODEL: A.C.T.S.
A: Adoration (Worship)
C: Confession (Of Specific Sins)
T: Thanksgiving (Gratitude)
S: Supplication (Specific Requests)
A.doration: When we take time to praise and worship God in our prayers, we are placing God where He rightfully belongs. As a result, our problems and needs come into their proper perspective.
C.onfession: The closer we draw to God, the more we sense our own sinfulness. The confession of our sin removes any barriers and clears the air of anything that would hinder our prayers. As 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us.”
T.hanksgiving: Our immediate response after confession is thanksgiving. We should be thankful that God would indeed cleanse and forgive us. By giving thanks, or simply expressing gratitude for what we have, we prevent our focus from shifting to what we do not have.
S.upplication: Too often in prayer, we cut to the chase instead of spending time in adoration, confession, and thanksgiving first. God does want to hear our needs and requests. Scripture tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6-7).
PRAYER MODEL: P.R.A.Y.
P.raise: God is praised over 350 times in the Bible. Try finding a chapter out of the book of Psalms and declaring it to God as you read it. Make it personal and connect the writing to everyday life.
R.epent: To repent is to confess specific sins we have committed and to turn away from doing them again. If we don’t own this reality and humble ourselves, we will never fully be able to engage with Him. “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9). A sample prayer of repentance to renounce sin is below.
Father, I come before you in the Name of Jesus. I recognize the power You have given me by the shed blood of Jesus to demolish spiritual strongholds and sin in my life. I confess that I have given a foothold to sin and I renounce the stronghold of ____________ and I calm the truth of your forgiveness by the authority of the Name of Jesus Christ. Through your power, I take back the ground I surrendered to this sin. I pray You will enable me to trust and obey Your Holy Spirit so that this area of my life will be in conformity to the image of Christ. Amen.
A.sk: God encourages us to ask for the things that are on our mind. Matthew 7:7-11 helps us understand that Jesus teaches us to ask, but also to understand that our Father in heaven reserves the right to answer according to His wisdom and love for us. Pray for a selection of the following. Take time to write out what is on your mind to God regarding:
- specific needs,
- our church,
- your purpose,
- those you care about that need Jesus,
- our community,
- our nation and leaders,
- the world and world leaders,
- your small group.
Y.ield: To yield means to be quiet after you have spoken to God and to listen to what He might want to say to you. If you regularly take time to listen, you will begin to hear God’s voice. Use a journal to write down the thoughts and promptings that come to mind. Keeping record of what God says to you is a great way to build your faith and remind you what he’s prompted you to do.