Prayer, Planning, and Preparations - Part 2 (Practical Applications)

For time sake, I am going to write three separate posts allowing focus to be on each topic. The best place to begin is with prayer, an area I continually desire to improve in. Prayer is praising God, giving thanks for all His blessings and asking Him for the things He has promised in His Word. God has given us prayer as a means to communicate with Him, through Christ. Prayer is our time of fellowship with our Creator.

In this 'season' of motherhood, the daily demands of educating, nurturing and training seem to be all consuming (and that is the season I am to be in ). Our family seems to go through several 'seasons' at the same time due to our children's ages (ranging right now with expecting #7 through 19 years old). There are many days that are filled to the brim with basic responsibilities of being a wife... helpmeet... mother... keeper of the home... sister in Christ... and the list goes on and on. It can be very easy to become overwhelmed - especially when I have not girded up in His Word and prayer. BUT it is all the more important to do so. I find that when I don't, I am trying to accomplish things in my own strength - instead of being dependant on Him to extend the mercy and grace to do what He has presented before me to do that day. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

John MacArthur wrote in his book Lord, Teach Me to Prayer that the Bible details at least five reasons we ought to pray:
  1. Prayer is commanded
  2. It is a sin not to pray
  3. Prayer gives glory to God
  4. Prayer aligns us with God's purposes
  5. Prayer results in answers

He says, "God has ordained the means as well as the end, and it is His design that the prayers of His people should be the means by which He is frequently moved to act." James wrote, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much". (James 5:16) How often have I turned to Him in prayer, after I shared with mortal man? He should be the first place we turn...a reminder to myself, as well as an encouragement to you.

What are the components of prayer? His word give us many examples of how to pray...Christ, himself gave us instructions on how to pray and the model prayer (The Lord's Prayer) in Matthew 6:5-15.

Praising Him: A friend shared a prayer idea with me that a friend of hers had shared one day. Her friend would go through the alphabet and pray to the Lord an adoration back to him that began with each letter of the alphabet. When things seem 'really bad', what a change in attitude doing that can bring! Praying back to the Father who He is: Almighty, Bountiful, the Creator, our really puts it into perspective who He is and humbles me.

Confession: What a comforting Scripture He has given us about confessing our sins..."If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) After meditating on who God is and how sinful I am, it is not difficult to confess my sins. To confess our sins to one another, keeps us humble and brings us healing. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed." (James 5:16)

Thanking Him: We all really do have so much to thank our Lord and Savior for...once again, even when things seem 'really bad', I have recalled an old hymn "Count Your Blessings" as a reminder . The hymn begins, "When up-on life's billows you are tempest - tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings - name them ONE by ONE, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done."

Supplication: To make a request to the Lord we should do so with acceptance of what the Lord's will is - not what we desire it to be. For His word says, "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10 - emphasis added) There is an acronym which helps me to remember how to pray (and serve)...JOY. Jesus first, then other and finally yourself. I can remember to pray for the Lord's will regarding the needs of others and then for help with it my sinfulness, weaknesses, needs, etc.

A prayer journal may be a good way to write out requests and then write in how the Lord has answered those specific prayers. It can be a means to show the Lord's faithfulness and to help 'see' what the Lord has done. Another idea is to keep a list or prayer guide in your Bible as a reminder to pray for those needs during your personal reading time. Some churches type out the requests/praises submitted by their congregations that week so that you can conveniently use that as a guide during the week to pray for those needs. Yet another idea is to keep a dry erase board on your refrigerator, write prayer requests and praises down so you can pray together as a family for those needs/praises.

Something we have done for several years now at Christmastime is to take all the cards/letters we receive, put them in a basket on our kitchen table and before dinner each evening each person selects one from the basket. We then go around the table and specifically pray for that family. It has been a blessing and become a sweet tradition for our family.

We all need to lift one another up in prayer...of which we can never do enough!

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