Sunday, March 13, 2011

How's Your Prayer Life?

Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)

 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)

 1 You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard someone decline praying in a small group or in public because they say "I don't know what to say" or they are concerned about their public appearance. A few times I have seen it go so far that a father did not want to pray in front of his young children because he did not know what to say. I am not trying to judge, but I cannot help but wonder at times what their private prayer life looks like when I hear this excuse. Because if not knowing what to say is the real reason that is stopping them from praying aloud, then it may just stop them from praying period.

Do not get me wrong, I can fully understand that speaking to the God that created the heavens and earth, who named all the planets and knows the numbers of hair on my head could be a bit intimidating. But check out what David says in Psalm 139, verse 4: "Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely."

How cool is it that God knows the words before you even speak them? In actuality he knows the desires of your heart and every thought going through your mind. So if you are praying and stop in the middle of the sentence, he hears that prayer and knows what the thought was. He can complete your sentence!

Now check out Romans 8 verse 26: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."

Check that out! The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. If we do not know what to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede for us using "wordless groans".

That should take a load off your mind when you are wanting to pray and do not know what to say. Because one: God knows what is on your heart, and two: if we do not know what to pray, the Holy Spirit will do it for us.

So relax, no pressure. God created you, He loves you, and He wants to be your friend. And, He wants to hear from you. No pressure!

Jesus said,"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." - Mark 11:24 (NIV)

So how do I do it? I pray like I am talking to a friend as we are driving down the road together. It is very conversational.

First I express thanks for the blessings in my life. Not seeing any? Cannot think of any? Slow down and consider, is the sun shining? Do you have food to eat? Do you have people in your life that love and care about you? Are you employed? Are you able to pay your bills? Do you have a dry place to sleep? If so, you have things that you can be thankful.

Then I ask for God's intervention in people's lives. Those I know that are struggling with illness, cancer, loss of love ones, loss of jobs, marriage problems, and other struggles of life. Sometimes I do not know their whole names, sometimes I may not even know a name. But remember Psalm 139:4? He knows who I am thinking about, where I saw them, what the situation is - even better than I do.

Finally, I ask God to use me however he wants to be a blessing to the people I encounter each day, to be a positive influence and an encouragement.

So, how's your prayer life?


Mike said...

This is a great post Allen... and timely too. Thank you. I find my prayer life is usually not what I'd like it to be. I get upset because I forget to pray for people and things. I think daily Bible reading keeps us God-focused. When that slips everything gets off center.

Romans 8 and Psalm 139 are two of my favorites. God's eyes saw our unformed substance. How amazing is that!

Pam said...

Allen - thanks for the encouragement to pray! You Rock!

RichardM said...

I would agree with Mike. A great post and pretty timely. I was just thinking about this over the last week or so. All the things occurring around us seems to distract rather than encourage prayer.


Lady R (Di) said...

I'm like you... I pray as if I'm talking to my friend. If I find myself stumbling... I just laugh and say... "I know you understand my heart Lord, help me form the words".

I'll have to agree with the other comments too... this was well timed. You are a wonderful spiritual inspiration for me. Thank you my friend.

Allen Madding said...

Mike - thanks for the kind words and for sharing. quite encouraging!

Pam - you're quite welcome.

Richard - it is a relief to know he knows what we are attempting to pray for, isn't it? :)

LadyR - You are quite welcome, my friend.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sir:

Whern in doubt, I simply pray the Apostle's Creed. And when I remind myself of what I believe, the hesitation is replasced with peace.

Peace is God's gift to troubled men.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Gotta agree with Mike and Richard. i wish I could say my prayer life has been on fire lately but I can't. Thanks for the reminder to pray. thanks also for visiting my blog. Our cycling is both of the two-wheeled variety...mine is self-powered though. LOL

Allen Madding said...

reep - I agree. I love peace.

Bill - thanks for visiting. I got tired of peddling and opted for a V-Twin :)


Shelley L. MacKenzie said...

Such an encouraging post and reminder that God knows what our prayers are - even if we can't find the words to voice them.

Shelley @ Confirm The Work of Our Hands

Adam Tucker said...

Could be better, but could be worse. Very mediocre right now. Need to be more passionate about it and not so much as a routine...

irondad said...

Thankfulness and a desire to live in harmony with His will.

Interesting that we still pray regularly though He knows what we need. It can also sound like we are asking for the same things over and over.

Saw a sign once. It read:

Is a tangerine just an orange that didn't want it bad enough?

Prayer is like that, I think. It shows God we want it bad enough. Then He blesses our efforts.

We need to think of things like this. Nice post.

Allen Madding said...

Shelley - thanks for visiting and for your comments.

ufcfan1 - Be Bold!

Irondad - I like the tangerine sign. Thanks for your kind words.