Monday, January 05, 2015

How to Pray in a Week of Prayer

This is our Week of Prayer at Grace Fellowship Church, pretty much my favourite week of the year! Last night I sought to encourage our church family with five ways to pray this week. Today, I will share them with you.

1. Pray like God is listening.

I love the LORD, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
(Psalm 116:1-3 ESV)

God hears everything since He is everywhere and knows all, but He cups His ear to the prayers of His saints. He bends over His ear to hear our requests. So, when we pray, we ought to pray believing that He hears.  The King of All is is giving you all His attention.

2. Pray like God can do something.

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
(James 5:17-18 ESV)

Elijah was a redeemed sinner just like you. He was frail and failed. He had weaknesses. He was not superman! Yet, his prayer was the "prayer of faith." God did something in response to his requests.

God is listening and God can do something.

3. Pray like God loves you.

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
(Psalm 62:8 ESV)

David commands us to empty our personal vault of needs to God and we do this because this God loves us.

...to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
(Psalm 62:12 ESV)

God loves you! He is wiser than your dad, more patient than your mother, more interested in you than your best friend and He will listen longer than your online audience. Pray like He loves you.

4. Pray like the success of everything depends on it.

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
(Colossians 4:2-4 ESV)

Isn't it amazing that Paul, the man who wrote Romans, the man of such great brilliance and oratory skill, asked other Christians to pray for him. If Paul needed God's help, so do we.

The point is not the "week" of prayer; the point is that the "weak" need to pray. Apart from Him we can do nothing.

5. Pray like persistence pays off.

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
(Luke 18:1-8 ESV)

If persistence works on a godless, self-reliant judge, what might it do on a righteous, loving Father!? Our problem is not that we ask God for too much, but that we do not ask of Him enough. We have things we need from God and only the persistent in prayer will prevail.