“Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:3 NIV.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 NIV.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8 NIV.
Over the next few blogs, I am going to talk more about the role of prayer in our lives. Prayer has played a vital role in keeping me tuned into God, seeking his guidance and growing my faith. As God has guided me through many different seasons, joys and trials in my life, my time in prayer has evolved. It is very different from years ago. I do praise Him more to begin with, and I am very thankful for what He has done in the past and continues to do in my life today. My prayer life has always been a priority, except now I believe I focus more on strengthening my relationship with God instead of just coming to Him with my list of requests or only when I need His help. I keep on being reminded I must go to Him first rather than ask for His help after I have messed things up doing things my way. Sometimes, I fail to pray and involve Him before making a decision or taking action. The lesson is I must follow His lead and involve Him from the beginning has needed to be repeated.
The best thing I did to enhance my prayer life was to stop reading books about prayer and how to pray, and just started praying. There is no one-size-fits all approach to prayer. I learned to trust that God would lead me in this area as well. I started a prayer list with dates and answers, almost like a journal. That is a praise in itself since I am normally not a “journaler.” Sometimes I pray regularly (daily) and, other times I pray more often throughout the day. I am still a work in progress, and my goal is to have a consistent daily prayer life and walk with God.
The three verses above, reference three key themes for prayer: Seeking to know Him, a devoted prayer life and staying in His Word. As Hosea says we must seek to know Him more, and He will come to us. He will come as sure as the morning sun and spring rains will appear. This is His promise as we press to get to know Him better. We must get to know Him by spending some time with Him.
A key way to spend time with Him is prayer. We must be fully devoted to our relationship with God and with our prayer time with Him. I am not talking of a quick “here are my requests” prayer. We need to strive for a more meaningful and disciplined conversational prayer time. In addition, we should leave time to listen in silence for His response. This has been a slow process as I continue to grow in faith. I am seeing some improvements as I continue to seek more meaningful and sincere times in prayer. Prayer takes discipline, hard work and motivation and must be intentional. These factors work together. My prayer time draws me closer to God and knowing God better helps my prayer time. Of course, spending time in His Word can enhance our prayer time. We can start by selecting from the many prayers found in the book of Psalms. They cover many topics including praise, thanks, seeking forgiveness and guidance. Using Biblical prayers can encourage and support you in current and future opportunities. Time in His Word can help you build a solid foundation in growing your relationship with God. Personally, I have built a pack of about 110 verses. These are some key verses that have helped me through the years. Sometimes my time with the Lord is reading and praying through these verses. I still add verses as God reveals them to me. All of this is an ongoing process as I move through the many seasons and challenges of my life.
We should also include some close friends for their prayer support, and in turn we can also pray for them. My current prayer list includes seven people that have started new jobs recently and seven more looking for new jobs. My closest friend is my wife, Patti. We started praying together consistently by setting an alarm for 8 pm each night to remind us. Now we can remind each other and do not use an alarm. We should always be on the lookout for ways to grow our prayer lives and intentionally spending more time with Him. After we spend time with Him in prayer or in His Word, we can allow God to respond to us – as sure as tomorrow’s morning sun.
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