"The time a Christian gives to prayer and communion with God is not meant for his natural life, but meant to nourish the life of the Son of God in him." Oswald Chambers
One of the best gifts I have ever been given is a book called "The Quotable Oswald Chambers." He has some great things to say about prayer, so I decided to include them throughout the post.
Prayer is such an important part of the Christian life. And if I'm being honest, it is something I struggle with. My prayer life is certainly not where I would like it to be. Prayer is one of the greatest things we have been blessed with. It is our way of being able to speak with God, to bring our troubles, our worries, and our praises directly to His feet. It's an intimate conversation that is between you and God. Prayer is the place where you can pour your heart out to the Lord and, like always, He doesn't turn away. He's face never turns away from you.
What I think is the most beautiful of all is that He knows our prayers even before we speak them out loud.
"We are not beggars on the one hand or spiritual customers on the other; we are God's children, and we just stay before Him with our broken treasures or our pain and watch Him mend or heal in such a way that we understand Him better." Oswald Chambers
When I was in college I lived on campus in a dorm. We had buses that ran around campus that promised they would always be at a stop every 7 minutes, but really, they never were. And you could completely forget it on rainy days, because everybody and their brother was going to be crowded on that bus. So, I always walked to class, even in the rain. I would grab my rain jacket, put on a baseball cap, pull up my hood and walk to class. No umbrella. And I wouldn't dodge the puddles either. Those were my favorite! I could safely navigate our easily flooded campus thanks to rain boots.
Anyways, back to the point. I loved walking to class, especially in the mornings! It was the perfect prayer time for me. I was usually by myself (unless the roommate walked with me) and because it was the morning, my mind wasn't quite busy yet, worrying about my to-do list. And, it was the perfect time to also pray for my campus! There would be some mornings where I would be listening to my iPod or reading a book (yes, I read as I walked, a possible hazard I was), but those mornings or afternoons where I found myself walking campus and just immersed in prayer were some of the most refreshing.
I have to admit, that just as a quiet time can seem to become a chore, so can prayer. I know there are days where I go without my quiet time or prayer and sometimes both. And y'all, I can tell a difference in myself when that happens. Days truly seem harder when I don't include the Lord.
"We think of prayer as a preparation for work, or a calm after having done work, whereas prayer is the essential work. It is the supreme activity of everything that is noblest in our personality." Oswald Chambers
A new goal I have set for myself is to have a time of intentional prayer. A time where I silence everything around me and it is just me and the Lord. A time where I can spill my guts and a time where I can praise Him for every blessing He has placed in my life.
I don't want this to be just another goal that I complete for so many days. I want this to be a discipline. I want this to be a part of my day that I absolutely cannot skip over. Prayer doesn't have to be just one part of the day, however. Prayer can happen anywhere at anytime or all throughout the day. Just as we have conversations with our friends throughout the day, the same can be done with the Lord. But, intentional and deep prayer, is something that I think requires a special time. Whether we are coming before the Lord for a friend in need or we are found on our knees for our own self, prayer can truly change things, because the One we are praying to is the Creator and Sustainer of everything. Prayer brings us closer to God Himself.
"God is not meant to answer our prayers; He is answering the prayer of Jesus Christ in our lives; by our prayers we come to discern what God's mind is, and that is declared in John 17." Oswald Chambers
And it strengthens our defense against Satan. Friends, we cannot forget Satan. He is very much real and he very much wants to see us fall. He wants nothing more than to pull us slowly away from the Lord, one day at a time. But, friends, we know Who has made the day and has given us the day. We know the One that allows the sun to rise each morning and the One who brings the waves to the shore. Satan doesn't stand a chance when we are in fellowship with the Lord.
"The prayer of the feeblest saint on earth who lives in the Spirit and keeps right with God is a terror to Satan." Oswald Chambers
Sometimes when we pray, especially in front of others, we feel as though we have to have the perfect words or our prayer won't be affected. Friends, this couldn't be more untrue. Remember the Lord already knows our prayers! He knows our every thought and is just waiting for us to voice it out loud. The Lord knows the deepest parts of our heart. He doesn't want us to remain silent.
Yet, there are those days where you are sitting on the floor or you have your head in your pillow and you absolutely cannot for the life of you find the words to pray. Here is a little something to help you. It's a way I learned to pray in college and a way that I continue to use. It's the perfect place to begin prayer.
The ACTS Model
Adoration -- Simply worship. Start by praising the Lord for who He is and for all that He has done. I praise Him for being the wonderful Creator He is, for all the things He has created and all the things He has done in my life.
Confession -- The time where we fess up to the Lord all the things we have been wrong about. It may be hard at first, but again, He does already know. At this point, He is only agreeing with you. Confession comes before the cleansing. I confess the things I have done that day that aren't in accordance with Him. Whether it's the way I spoke to my parents, whether I didn't keep my word, my lack of trust in Him that day, anything convicting that is on my heart, etc.
Thanksgiving -- Thank the Lord for all that He has given you! For all the blessings you have received. Similar to adoration, but I try to think of specific ways to thank Him for that day. We are given a blessing every day in some way and this is the time I thank Him for that. I thank Him for His providence, His protection, etc.
Supplication -- The time where you address the Lord with your needs and the needs of others. This is the time where I pray for my family members and my closest friends. Where I honor prayer requests, where I pray for our country, for others around the world, for ministries I'm involved in, for the Lord to show me places and opportunities to serve, etc.
Remember friends, our prayers do not have to be perfect, they just need to be voiced.
How do you pray? Sound off below!
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