First off, I feel honored to be writing for such a wonderful woman of God. If you are reading this blog, Courtney, her teachings or books have touched you too. I want to thank her for being such a good friend and shining light through her work. – Demra
What can I say about prayer?
For starters, I LOVE to pray. I LOVE to talk about prayer. I LOVE to teach people how to pray. I love it when others pray out loud, over me and me over them. I love that I get to talk to God through my prayers. I love how prayers cleanse my heart and purify my soul. I love how prayer gives me hope in my darkest hours and joy in my best hours. I love that prayer is universal in many languages and many styles. I love that prayers can be shouted from the stage or silent in the heart. I love when my kids whisper a prayer for a friend or see an ambulance and stop to pray. I love that we hold hands and join together to bring our petitions to God all over the globe through this thing called prayer. I just can’t get enough of this gift from the Lord! I love to express my thoughts around one of my favorite things so I’ve put together my top seven when it comes to prayer.
1. What is prayer
Prayer is something that exudes FROM you whether you are happy or sad, mad or confused. It’s about our communication with the one true God who created us and knows everything about us. I can’t remember the last time I “scheduled” a time to cry or be sad or sing out loud because I wanted to rejoice. That’s absurd right? Can you imagine that conversation with your husband? Sorry honey I have to go cry now I’ve got a 6:30pm appointment! God is ever present and omniscient and he isn’t booked all day… promise! He’s waiting for you to simply open up and talk to him whenever and however. Yes, some of you need to set aside time in your schedule to remind yourself to pray but it’s not legality for our Father in heaven.
To get an example of how prayer started, I searched for when the first prayers were uttered in our bible. I found an article written by Ray Stedman of Authentic Christianity. He concludes the first account is in Genesis 3 during the conversation between Adam and Eve when they were hiding from the Lord. He states,
Now, there are words from God to man before this account in Genesis, but this is the first dialogue between God and man recorded in the Scriptures. It is essential, therefore, to see dialogue as a necessary part of prayer, as prayer is simply a conversation with God.”
The recommended book this month by Courtney also explains what prayer is and how we can use it in our lives for His glory and to bring about change in our own lives. According to Pastor Mark Batterson in his book, The Circle Maker, taking action by “Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn’t just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It’s a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us.”
2. Where to start with prayer
Do you strive to have quiet time each morning? Are you determined to set your alarm for 5:30 am and get your devo done before the house wakes up? Yep, me neither! I know Psalms 5:3 says, “In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch”. Sorry Jesus I’m just not one of those perky morning persons!! Honestly, how many of us keep our devo goal after a sleepless night with our kids or a late work agenda? I for one hit snooze a bit too much on this. I use to have a tendency to compare myself to others in this manner. I’d strive to fill the void of self worth in my heart and only to do good deeds to try and earn His grace. I wanted to show others that I was a good Christian because I read my bible everyday or took a meal to a new mom. What was I trying to prove? And to whom? That lie of proving myself to others use to run my life but not anymore!
Its time to let go of the stress of comparing our prayer lives and how much scripture you have memorized this week. Stop checking the box that you’ve got to read at a certain time or a specific length. God’s time clock is not our own, so pray when you can and as often as you can. He doesn’t care if its 5:30 am or 5:30 pm. He doesn’t care if is one scripture or an entire book. The point is to just get into the word and worship on a daily basis. Releasing this grip of time and quantity will jolt you out of the throws of comparison and into a prayer motivation like never before. It will have you praying more often than you even thought possible. It’s time to say goodbye to those days of beating yourself up because you once again hit snooze and just start talking with God. Download an app that sends you scripture. Enlist a prayer partner to pray with 5 minutes a day. Put a gratitude journal by your bedside. Just start somewhere!
3. Enemy distractions in prayer
The enemy knows my weak spot and what I love and he knows yours too! He doesn’t tempt me with Brussels sprouts and boring lives!!! He tempts me with all kinds of sweets, fun and material things I can’t refuse. John 10:10 tells us that “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy” – not just the physical but the spiritual desires as well. When I step out for God or spend a good amount of time in prayer the enemy wants to stop me in my tracks. The enemy knows the power of prayer and that God put these ideas in my heart to achieve for His glory! So don’t stop praying! Take the authority you have in Christ and stand firm in your prayer life. If the devil can’t stop your plans he’ll try to stop your prayers.
True confessions, I want you to watch for distractions the next time you plop down in your comfy chair with your bible and coffee to dive deep into the word. You may think I have a severe case of procrastination or ADD (still up for debate) but seriously most times I sit down to dive into the word I see a hangnail that just CANNOT wait, I get an email pop up on my phone, the laundry machine buzzer goes off and even my dog will jump in my lap for some lovin! Does this happen to you too? If it does, open your eyes and rebuke the enemy immediately that no weapon formed against your prayer time will prevail. Declare your time with the Lord to be precious with no distractions. 1st Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing” so don’t let the enemy get a foothold in your prayer life through distractions one more day!
4 Apathetic prayer
Why do I let apathy get the best of my prayer life? More often than not, I feel more like sleeping in than jumping out of bed to thank God for another day. What I’ve discovered is that the years of pain and shame have kept my eyes focused on the wrong things. Just like my kids when they’re in trouble I too sometimes hide or don’t want to talk face to face with my Father. Are you hiding from God like Adam and Eve? We are commanded in Deuteronomy 6:5 to “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Isn’t it true if we love something that much we often get consumed in it? Think about when you first fell in love. I know I couldn’t wait to see my husband again. Sometimes we would even spend hours on the phone doing nothing just to be together.
This phenomenon also happens with sports and TV in our homes. We crave to know the cliffhanger ending to the hottest show and spend the entire meal talking about what we think will happen or who done it! It can strike even younger generations. Have you seen those hysterical videos of the college students who think Hitler is still alive or cannot name the current VP of the USA? Sadly, they all know who some Snooki is from the Kardashian show. Apathy in virtuous things will only lead to disaster. Where is that same crave and discussion surrounding the most important being in our life, our Lord? It’s time to let go of apathy and start apologizing to God for being “luke warm”. In Revelation 3:16 he warns us that, “because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth”. Take heed to this revelation and begin a new zeal and fire in your soul. I have done this by putting pictures of our travels on the wall adjacent to my bed. This way each time I open my eyes in the morning I see a sign that says Blessed and all the great trips we have gone on. It instantly makes me say THANK YOU GOD and good morning. What can you do to turn your apathy into a prayer life with Jesus?
Come back tomorrow!
As the Lord opened this opportunity to write on prayer, it was so fun to examine my heart and His word on the topic. I’ll share more tomorrow on “belief in prayer”, “silent prayers” and “praying through crisis.”
How is your prayer life?
Are you reading anything that has encouraged you to pray more?
Has there been a time you’ve been distracted in prayer?
Or dependent on prayer?
Connect with Demra at DemraRobbins.com