But in order to make the most of these new opportunities need to undergird them with prayer: dynamic and powerful prayer.
The beginning of each year a great time in which to encourage each other in prayer, to read, worship, and learn more about prayer as you put it into your daily life.
I was greatly surprised to read that John Wsley, the founder of the great Methodist / Wesleyan movement say:
“I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.”
He had a deep appreciation for the life of prayer. Because of the hours he spent in prayer, he became one of the most prolific travelers and writers to explain God’s gift in Jesus Christ.
Often in our busy-ness we rush from one task to another, keeping our sanity by closely monitored calendars.
John Wesley learned that when we take time with God, especially in the morning, all our other priorities sort themselves out. We end up taking the time needed for the most important things in life. We rarely are bored or waste time.
The secret of this life of prayer is to learn that prayer is more than a good thought and a hoped for outcome. Too often we simply see prayer as a list of requests for health and healing, for strength and courage for others going through hard times.
Such prayer, (called “supplication” or “asking” prayer,) is more about the needs we see around us and then asking God to address those needs.
While important, such prayers are only one part of a larger balanced prayer life.
I have often mentioned a well-used pattern to help us gain such balance.
It’s the ACTS pattern of prayer.
A - Adoration; a time of recognizing God’s greatness and grandeur. Like when we stand speechless at the rim of the Grand Canyon, or in a redwood grove overlooking the ocean below. We simply adore our loving God.
C – Confession; a time of looking deeply into our heart and facing up to our all-too human flaws. We examine the times we fell short of our highest moral code, the times we hurt others, the bitterness we carry when others hurt us.
We need to speak those to God if we truly want to understand forgiveness and healing.
T – Thanksgiving; a time of gratitude and humble thanks for all that we have received at God’s hand. This includes the air we breathe, the words of the bible, the love of those around us, the challenge of the Holy Spirit. The list tends to be quite long.
S – Supplication (asking); here’s where we finally get to that list that starts with: “I’ll pray for you.” However, even here there’s guidance. As we pray those things, we need to be open to what God may put on our mind to cause us to be involved in the helping, the healing, the presence of God in someone else’s life.
As a result of our prayer, can we make a phone call? …a grocery run? …send a card? …offer a helping hand?
Once a seminary professor told me that the “amen” of a prayer, (the “I agree” or “make it so, Lord”) is not really complete until we let God complete it though us by our involved and loving action.
So you can see, prayer is a dynamic and life-giving force. It takes time and energy to release its power in our life. We cannot simply say a few words and then get on with the rest of our day.
And so I encourage you to take 15, 20, 40 minutes each day to sit silently with God. Take that time to read the Bible as a personal love letter to you. Let God guide your thoughts with not just WWJD: “What Would Jesus Do?” but WWJHMD: “What would Jesus have me do?”
And what have others have learned about Jesus Christ because of you?
How goes it with your soul?
Grace and Peace,