Do you ever look around your home and consider the myriad of modern
miracles surrounding you? It's really wonderful that we can stay in touch with friends
and family - even halfway around the world! - through the telephone. On my computer, I
have several Bible programs, and they are valuable tools, as I prepare Bible studies and
sermons. The Internet provides access to a wealth of information, all of it a mouse click
and a keystroke away. I could go on and on with this list for some time, including radio,
television, satellites, and other modern miracles.
As marvelous as these modern
miracles are, I know of something better, something more instantaneous than the phone,
more reliable than a computer, totally cost free, absolutely portable. And it has the
added blessing of putting me in-touch with the most important person I know, someone who
is always ready and willing to listen to me. IT’S CALLED PRAYER.
Many times in the
Psalms David or another writer asks God to "give ear" to their prayers, to hear their
pleas. The rest of that Psalm assures us that God hears and responds to their prayers.
Prayer is amazing! Through prayer I can pour out my heart to God. I can share with the
Creator of the Universe every concern and dream I have for my life. I can come before the
Saviour of the World, confess my sins, repent and ask Him to forgive me, and make Him MY
Saviour-all through prayer.
Through prayer I can ask God to watch over friends and
family who might be half a world away. And more than the phone or email, I KNOW God hears
me and will respond to my request. In fact, through the Word of God, I have confidence
that He is truly listening when I turn to Him in prayer. Scriptures like Psalms 4, verse 3
says, "But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will
hear when I call unto him."
Now most believers I know would agree – prayer is
marvelous, miraculous and powerful. However, what's even more amazing to me, in light of
that knowledge, is why most believers don’t spend more time praying. Perhaps what we
should be most concerned about is the fact that God wonders why we don't pray. The Bible
tells us, in Isaiah 59, that the Lord "saw that there was no man, and wondered that there
was no intercessor." The fact that we don’t pray causes our God to wonder. With all that’s
going on in our nation right now, can you think of anything better or more productive to
do than pray?
Do you have a "prayer life?" Do you regularly spend time praying to
the Lord God in Heaven? It's an awesome privilege and the Word of God tells us our prayer
has the ability to move the God of Heaven to act on our behalf -- James 5:16 says "The
effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. And let's not overlook the
fact that prayer isn't just a good idea or a nice suggestion. God commands that we
pray. Consider one of the first New Testament references to prayer in Matthew 6:
5 ¶ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they
love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may
be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou
prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which
is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when
ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be
heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father
knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Did you notice how
Jesus puts it? He doesn't say "if you pray" but "when you pray." That means He expects us
to pray. We honestly have no good excuse not to pray.
Maybe at this point you would
say, "But Pastor Tim, I'm not trying to make an excuse. In fact, I'd like to be able to
pray but I'm not quite sure how to pray!" Well, I certainly don't look at that as an
excuse, but it is also NOT a reason not to pray. Allow me to give you a few simple
suggestions to use when praying and, if you put them into practice, I think you'll be
well on your way to building an exciting life of prayer.
In order to help you, I'm
going to take the word "prayer" and use each letter to start a different part of this
brief study on prayer. I hope, in that way, you can memorize these six words and the
Scriptures I suggest, making it easier to practice these principles of
P = PRACTICE
Do you play a sport or musical instrument? Do
you have a hobby such as painting or creative writing? If you do, this first point will
make a lot of sense to you, but even if you don't, I think you'll be able to appreciate
the point I'm making.
How do you think a great professional athlete gets to be so
good? Practice! Ask any writer how to become a good writer? - By writing. Ask a
world-class chef how you can become a good cook? - By cooking. Ask any artist the best way
to become a skilled artist? - By doing the artwork. Getting good at anything takes
Right now, perhaps you don't pray because you think you don't know how,
or you don't pray on a regular basis because you never have. Fine! But if you want to be
good at prayer, you need to pray! You need to "practice" praying, if you will.
Paul's first letter to his young protege Timothy, Paul told him, in
"If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be
a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine,
whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise
thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is
profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is
to come." (1 Tim. 4.6-8)
Notice that Paul tells Timothy he should
"exercise" himself to Godly behavior. In fact, he admonishes him that doing physical
exercise is a good thing but doing Spiritual exercise is better because "godliness is
profitable until all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is
to come." The word "exercise" is the same root word where we get our modern word
"gymnasium" today. What happens in the gym? - All sorts of sports and athletic events.
What do they all have in common? - People practice them so they can become good or
proficient in them.
Ignacy Paderewski was a world-renowned pianist and composer. Do
you know what his attitude was concerning practicing? He said, "If I miss one day of
practice, I notice it. If I miss two days, the critics notice it. If I miss three days,
the audience notices it."
My friend, who is watching your every move more
closely than God? Does He notice when you are doing your best and when you aren't?
Surely, He does! Living the Christian life, putting into practice the things God's Word
says we should do, takes time and practice. Eventually, as we live for God, we learn how
to do it better. We learn how to live in a way that is pleasing to Him. We understand that
we must constantly and consistently live for Him, or He will notice we are slipping, and
we will notice we are slipping, and then others will notice it too.
In the same
way, you will NEVER get good at Bible study, prayer, or any other Spiritual discipline
without practicing, every day. So, if you've never prayed, or if feel you don't know
how, just get started. Do it like the shoe commercials say. That is, "Just do it!" Just
pray! But practice, pray, and pray every day.
R = RELATIONSHIP
of you have a mom or dad, and many of you may have a special friend [a girlfriend or
boyfriend]. What would happen if you simply stopped talking to your friend or your
parents? Or what if they stopped talking to you? You might begin to feel a variety of
emotions -- anger, sadness, loneliness, confusion.
Why? Because even though the
other person claimed to care about you, perhaps even to love you, they surely have a
strange way of showing it, right? In fact, if they are demonstrating anything at all,
it's not love to you or for you. It certainly seems to be the exact opposite, doesn't
Why is this important? Communication is one of the basic foundations and
building blocks of any relationship. I have a dog, and while she's only a dog, I talk to
her. Why? - Because we have a relationship. It's a dog. It's a master-pet relationship
and about the only thing she ever says to me is "Woof!" but I talk to her - or at her? -
Because she's my pet and I care about her.
I have a wife and children. Can you
imagine what life would be like in my house if I simply stopped speaking to them? Let's
just think about my wife: If I totally stopped talking to her, she might eventually decide
to do some serious talking to me - with the rolling pin. Ouch!
Seriously, if I
did stop talking to my wife or kids, they would be confused, hurt and concerned. A lack of
communication hampers, impedes, and destroys a relationship. You certainly could never
build a relationship without communication.
When you become a Christian, the Bible
says that you will soon discover God is your Heavenly Father. In fact, in 3 different
places in the New Testament, God is referred to as our "Abba." That's an Aramaic word
that basically means "Daddy." Yes, it means Father, but it's a much more personal way of
thinking about God. And that's how God desires we think about Him, as our Daddy. Someone
Whom we can be close to and get to know in a very personal way.
In other words,
God desires that we have a relationship with Him and that means there has to be
communication for the relationship to be valid. Now the plain fact is that God has given
us His Word so that He can speak to us. As we read and study, learn, memorize, and apply
His Word, He speaks to us.
How do we speak to Him? - Through prayer. If you can
remember that God simply wants you to talk to Him, and that prayer is the way you do that,
perhaps prayer can be less intimidating and a more natural thing to do. And you'll find
it easier to start and do!
I sometimes hear an older, mature Christian speak to God
in a bit more formal way. They may use phrases like, "Oh, thou mighty God..." or "Almighty
Father, the exalted God of Heaven..." or words like that. I surely do respect people who
pray with that kind of love, devotion and respect. But you and I have to understand, God
knows our heart before we open our mouth. He knows if we really love and respect
And in the privacy of our own room, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks
about how we talk to God. It only matters what God thinks. And He already knows what's
going on inside of you. Really, that's the only part He's concerned with. You can truly
pour your heart out to God. You can tell Him all your joys and fears, all the good things
which happen to you in a day and all your concerns. And you can be sure He is ready,
willing and able to listen to you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
importantly, you can speak to Him like you would your "Daddy" or friend. It really is that
simple. Remember that God just wants you to enjoy having Him as a Heavenly Friend and
Father, and that includes developing a relationship with Him by talking with Him and to
Him - through prayer.
A = ANSWERS
I heard a story once about a famous
evangelist. He was asked by a certain town out west to come preach to them. They wanted
him to ask God to make it rain because they were experiencing severe drought. The preacher
was glad to come and hold the meetings. The first day of the meetings, the preacher did
his best to bring a good message and to pray for the town. He invited them back that night
for another meeting. That night only one little girl showed up WITH AN UMBRELLA. Many in
the town laughed at her and outright mocked her. But the evangelist hushed them all with
some old-fashioned common sense. "After all", he said, "she was the only one to truly
believe God would answer their prayers and send rain -- because she was the only one to
come prepared for rain!"
How true! And yet the Bible assures us in many places that
God will hear our prayers and answer them. The truth is, though, that many Christians do
not approach prayer with this understanding.
If you say, "Lord, bless my friends
at church," how will you know if, when, or how God answers that prayer? You won't! But if
you pray, "God, Jim needs some money for summer camp, and Susie needs to understand her
homework so she can pass the test," then you can watch God work. You will know if, when,
and how God has answered your prayers.
And you will begin to see that God doesn't
always say "yes." Sometimes He says "no." Frankly, if Susie doesn't study, God is NOT
going to miraculously put the knowledge in her head! And let's be thankful for a God who
cares enough about us to answer our prayers in a way that is best for us. In fact, some
people think that unless God says "yes" to every thing they pray, God hasn't answered
their prayer. But how silly! If you ask your earthly father a question, your dad can say
"Yes," or "No," or "Not now," or perhaps even, "Yes, and by the way, here's something
So, also, our Abba in Heaven can answer our prayers in the same way. A "no"
from God, or a "wait," or a "Oh, yes, my child, I thought you were never going to ask!"
are all legitimate answers to our prayers. And the more specific our prayers, the better
we will be able to discern if, when, and how God has answered our prayers.
writing this brief article in October 2005. Back in April 2002, I started something at our
church. I began trying to keep track of every answer to prayer that God gave. Now I know
that God may not be answering OUR prayer specifically, especially when we are praying
along with others. He might answer the prayers of the missionary across the sea and not
ours. But if we were praying, "God, please let that missionary's visa be approved," and
then the visa is either approved or denied, we know God has answered that prayer, and we
mark it down as an answer.
We have seen God answer many, many prayers. In fact, to
date, almost 1500 answers have been discerned! And some of them have been "No." We've
prayed for people to get jobs, to get better from being sick, to get saved. Some times the
person does not get hired, and some times the person dies. Some times we've prayed for
someone to get saved and they are STILL not saved.
I understand there are many
reasons that God might say "no" or "not just now." But my experience has been, more often
than not, that God says "yes" to our prayers and, often times, we see Him work in
miraculous ways we simply could not have imagined.
The important point in all
of this, however, is that we are learning to recognize when God answers our prayers. This
helps to train us to expect God to answer our prayers. This expectancy builds our
confidence that God hears us when we pray. We know that He will answer our prayer and that
knowledge increases our faith. It helps me to pray with more faith than I had
Romans 5:1 ¶ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with
God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace
wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory
in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience,
experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God
is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto
So when you pray, remember that God will answer your prayers. Be as
specific in your prayers as you can be. Perhaps you can even make a list of things
you are asking for, including the date you ask. Then when you see that God has sent an
answer, whatever it is, you can mark it down that God answered your prayer. And don't
forget to thank Him for answering it. If you see that God said yes, thank Him and praise
Him for being so good and gracious to you. If you see He says no, thank Him for being
wiser than you are, and praise Him for doing what's best for you [not just what you
wanted!]. This will also help you mature in your faith in Him.
If you pray for
someone to get saved, and they don't get saved right away, don't be discouraged. Some
prayers are a bit more complicated than a yes or no response. Remember that when we pray
for someone to get saved, the subject in our prayer must be ready and willing to cooperate
with God in the matter.
God may move on their heart but He might take a while, or
the person might simply resist the Spirit, or perhaps just ignore the Holy Ghost. I
personally have a friend whom I've been praying for since I got saved, almost 20 years
ago. Because I was saved and he wasn't, and he really didn't want to have anything to do
with Jesus or religion, we started following separate paths. I tried to be a faithful
witness to him when ever I saw him, and I tried to pray for him when I thought about him,
but over time this became less and less frequent.
A few weeks ago I heard that my
friend was in jail, and he had become so depressed he was ready to commit suicide. My
pastor is a chaplain at that particular prison and my friend ended up going to hear him
preach. My friend accepted the Lord and was gloriously saved. Now he is out of prison and
making plans to be baptized. The change in his life, from a crack cocaine addict to a born
again child of God has been so dramatic that several members of his family have also
accepted the Lord. And in a couple of weeks I will have the great privilege of not just
attending his baptism but being guest speaker that Sunday morning.
Truly, I can be
thankful to the Lord because I know this is happening, in part, because almost 20 years
ago I prayed and asked God to work in my friend's life and save his soul! Isn't God
good! Even though it took some time -- almost 20 YEARS -- God still did answer my prayer.
I know of some parents who pray faithfully for their children, and end up dying without
ever seeing the answers to their prayer. But God is faithful, and oftentimes answers their
prayer after they have gone on to be with Him.
I don't pretend to understand it
all but maybe God just wants them to be with Him so they can have the privilege of
watching Him work up close and personal! But this one thing I do know, God answers our
prayers. So when you pray, pray believing, God will answer you, and then be looking for
Y = YOU
I suppose this point will sound very simple,
maybe even too simple. But it is important.
I once was called to the home of a
person who was very sick, and they needed a very serious operation. They were frankly
afraid the operation was not going to go well, and they wanted some prayers for
reassurance. Of course, the first thing I dealt with them about was their salvation. Once
we dealt with that, and I had some assurance they were Christians, then we spent some time
talking about this health crisis they were facing.
I assured them that I would be
happy to pray FOR them. But I also reminded them that, since they were as much a child of
God as I was, they had the same Holy Spirit in them as I did and they were just as
entitled to pray as I was. In fact, it was very likely more important and better for them
to pray for themselves than it was for me to pray for them.
Now, you have to
understand something. When you pray to God, you should NOT simply pray for yourself, and
have a laundry list of things that you want. No, I suggest people follow a prayer
pattern. One good, short and effective pattern is this:
Matthew 6:9 ¶
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy
P - PRAISE the
R - REPENT - confess your sins and ask God for
A - ASK the Lord to hear prayers for other people, people at
church, missionaries, your pastor and other Christian servants, and last of all,
Y - YIELD - End your time of prayer with more praise and
confess to God that, while it would be nice for all the things you prayed for to be
answered in just the way you prayed, nevertheless, you'll be satisfied with "Not my will,
by Thine be done."
This, of course, is a very simple pattern. But it can be very
effective. Another very effective pattern is what we commonly call "the Lord's prayer."
Study each verse or part of that prayer. What exactly is the point of each petition? For
Is God your Father, your Abba? Do you talk with Him like He
is? Do you treat His name as a "holy thing," something to be "hallowed?" Do you praise His
name and Him for being the kind of God He is? Holy, righteous, loving, just? That's a
good way to start praying, isn't it?
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be
done in earth, as it is in heaven…"
Then you can ask God to accomplish His
will here on earth:
- To help the missionaries you know, the ones
your church supports
- To give your pastor the right words to say to others, to draw
them to Christ, to minister peace and healing in their lives
- To see your friends
and family come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord (That is His will, isn't it?)
- That you would obey Him as the Lord of your life, since He is, isn't He? But, if
you are not obeying Him, is He truly your Lord? Do others know that Jesus is your Lord
because they see you obeying Him? Perhaps you need some help obeying Him? Ask God for
help; He will!
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.
Perhaps you can see how the rest of this brief prayer thus becomes
a pattern for us. I really don't think simply repeating this prayer is the best thing to
do. Use it as a pattern: Think about the things Jesus mentions and use those thoughts as a
way to determine what you should pray for.
If you aren't in the habit of praying,
you can start by spending about 2 minutes on each letter or verse. At first this will seem
like a really LONG time. Trust me, it will. If you doubt this, look at a watch and just
spend 60 seconds doing nothing but watching 60 seconds go by. You'll realize how long 1
minute can be! And when you are trying to talk to the Lord Sovereign God and Creator of
the Universe, 8 or 10 minutes will seem like an eternity! But after a while, with
PRACTICE, this form of communication will build a RELATIONSHIP in which you will make
requests of your Abba, with the expectation that He will ANSWER YOU.
that's the point. He will answer YOU. He WANTS to answer you. He wants to
build a relationship with you. He wants to hear from you and also communicate with
you. The primary way He speaks to us is through His Word, so Bible reading can be a good
part of our prayer time. Then, our time of prayer can become a time of
But don't forget that it's YOU God wants to hear from. You are
important and special to Him. So much so that He was willing to ask Jesus to come and
die on the cross for YOU. So you must be pretty special and valuable to God, right? So
don't expect everyone else to pray for you. You be the one to pray, for others, and for
yourself. I hope these points encourage YOU to pray today, too.
I was tempted to put "Exciting" for this letter because when you begin
to see God working in your life, when you begin to see God answering your prayers, it
really is exciting. And humbling. Just recently, I was having a very frustrating day. I am
not proud to confess this, but being honest, I was not really being very spiritual. I was
feeling very angry and frustrated by a situation. So I yelled out with tears, "God,
please! You must help me, now!" Boy, am I thankful no one but God and me were
I don't want to share a lot of other details about this specific request,
but I can honestly say God answered my need right away, and in such a way that it could
almost be called a miracle. It certainly seemed miraculous to me, and it was just what I
needed at that moment in time. It was exciting and a great ncouragement to me --
encouragement being another good "E" word!
It was also humbling to know God was
willing to be so good and merciful to me, especially when I acted a bit like a "brat"
towards Him! But that's how good God is, and how much He loves us! How thankful I
But the word that is a bit more practical and realistic to use here is ENERGY.
This word comes to mind because what I want you to understand is that real prayer takes
real work and it is real work that we are called to do!
Perhaps this quote by
Corrie Ten Boom captures the thought well: "Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare
tire?" That is, is prayer the thing that is directing your life, or just something you
keep around for emergencies?
Prayer can be a joy -- as we practice it. But it is
also hard work. Why? Consider the famous passage in the Bible from the book of Ephesians,
chapter 6, about the armour of God:
10 ¶ Finally, my brethren, be strong in
the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may
be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Take note at this point
that we are admonished to be strong in the Lord and in His power, and we can only do that
by wearing His armour. The main reason we must be so clothed is because we are expected to
go into battle.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places.
I tried wrestling once against another
boy who was on the school wrestling team and I lost quickly. Why? Because he was stronger
than I was, faster, and he knew how to wrestle. Wrestling is hard work. God tells us that
we have spiritual opponents and that we are not aware, many times, that they are there.
But they know we are here, and they are all fired up to "take us on and take us down."
However, if you start practicing prayer, and you get serious about building your
relationship with the Lord, and you personally become convinced that God will answer your
prayers, and you start looking for those answers, God WILL bless - but your adversaries
WILL fight you. AND YOU WILL KNOW THEY ARE THERE. But don't worry, just get
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may
be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
God says it IS possible to succeed!
14 Stand therefore,
having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking
the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the
wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the
word of God.
And notice what God leaves last, but certainly not least, in
18 PRAYING ALWAYS WITH ALL PRAYER and supplication in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all
Truly, real prayer is really hard work. It's a wrestling match with
spiritual beings who are much more powerful than you, but take heart …
4:4 ¶ YE ARE OF GOD, little children, and have overcome them: because GREATER IS HE THAT
IS IN YOU, THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD.
As you study God's Word, as
you study the provisions God makes for us to succeed in living the Christian life, and as
you walk in the Spirit, you will be encouraged that you can succeed! God guarantees your
Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him that loved us.
Part of your success is in the fact that you
realize this isn't a game. It's serious business and takes hard work. Anything in life
that's really valuable usually takes some effort. The more effort you put into a job or a
project at school, the better you'll do, and the more recognition you'll get. We very
often succeed in this life in direct proportion to the effort we put forth.
it is with prayer. If you work hard, and approach prayer as hard work, God will notice and
be pleased. You will find that the armour you put on - His armour - is sufficient for the
daily battles you will fight with the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and the
spiritual wickedness. These things are essential, because the enemy notices when
Christians are effective.
Satan simply cannot stand a Christian who is a prayer
warrior. But a true prayer warrior ensures that Satan can not stand -- because a true
prayer warrior defeats him every day. It's not easy, but it is
Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is
impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
remember that prayer is work; all work takes ENERGY!
R = REGULAR
last word sort of brings us back to the beginning but I hope it also encourages you to
begin a habit of prayer. Practice implies a regular, consistent time and place. And
that's what you need with prayer. You need a REGULAR time and REGULAR place to pray.
If you study the Scriptures, especially the Gospels, you'll notice Jesus more
often than not prayed in the morning or the early hours of the day. Often before something
very special He prayed all night. If the Son of God Incarnate thought it was important to
pray, and often to pray all night long, how much more important is it for us to
Praying in the morning has a lot of advantages. It makes me think of a joke
about a man who was praying to God, thanking Him for how well his day was going, how good
a witness he had been thus far, how he had not had any fights with others, how all was
going so well, and then said, "Now, Lord, you know I'm about to get out of bed and start
No wonder he was having a good day "thus far!"
truth is that if you start your day with prayer, you can ask God to watch over you, help
you meet the challenges of the day, and get Him working with you and for you before your
day begins. What a great advantage you'll have! I honestly believe you can even ask Him
to help you put on His armour so you'll be fully equipped for all things which might come
your way that day.
But I also know that some people have trouble in the morning and,
for one reason or another, the morning just isn't a good time to pray and read their
Bible. If that's you, I want to encourage you that God knows your heart. While I truly
believe it can be more effective to have morning devotions, I also believe it's more
important to set a time each day that you can realistically spend some time with
Maybe you can take most of your lunch hour, and spend, say, 20 minutes
reading your Bible and 20 minutes praying. Or perhaps you'll try reading 30 minutes at
night and spend 30 minutes praying just before you go to sleep. Or maybe you spend some
time praying in the morning and then later in the day you read your Bible.
the specifics are really only important to you and the Lord. The most important thing is
that you determine to set aside a time each day so that you can meet with God. And since
you should be doing this on a regular basis, you should also pick a special place to meet
with Him. Pick a place where you will not get a lot of distractions. For example, don't
pray in the living room if other people are watching television or listening to the radio
or playing video games. If you're going to concentrate on God, you need a place where you
won't be disturbed or distracted.
Imagine if the President of the United States or
your most favorite sports personality or movie star called you up on the phone and said
they were going to visit you at your house. If they could only spend 20 minutes with you,
I'll bet one of the things you would do is to make sure other people knew that they were
going to visit! But if you were good friends with them things might be different. If you
called them to see if they could spend a few minutes with you to help you with a problem,
I would guess you might try to find a private place so that you could spend some
undisturbed time with them…some quality time, right?
If you develop a consistent
time of fellowship with the Lord, it's not wrong to share how this is blessing you with
others. I'm sure your parents would be glad and encouraged to know you are reading your
Bible and praying. Perhaps you could be a positive influence on your friends. But don't
brag about it. Maybe, if they have a problem and share it with you, you can tell them that
when you pray, you will pray for them. And then, if the subject comes up, you can share
with them how you are building your relationship with your friend, the Lord Jesus Christ,
through your special prayer and devotion time, every single day.
And you know what?
That will be a major blessing and encouragement to your friend, because they will know
that you really mean it when you say you will pray for them! Then, perhaps, you'll be the
spark that they need to have a quiet time with God, themselves. And if they're not a
born-again Christian, perhaps your testimony could be used to bring them to Christ.
Wouldn't that be fantastic? You bet it would be! Amen & amen!
So there you
I don't suppose
that this has been the deepest or most spiritual article you've ever read. But I do hope
it's been a practical guide, a help and encouragement to you to start praying, and to
have a prayer life…or, perhaps better than that, to have a life of prayer - or a real
relationship with Almighty God. Having a relationship with God means more than just going
to church or youth group.
God bless you as you practice building a
relationship with the Lord God of Heaven Who loves you and loves to hear from you so
He can respond to the things you bring before Him. You! Yes, you! Hey! I think it's true,
if God had a "fridge," your picture would be on it; He would love to hear from you every
single time you call. Remember that He always answers "knee-mail!" But don't get fooled.
Prayer is not for the lazy or faint of heart. It's for those who really want to love God
and live a life that counts for Him. This is the kind of life that makes an eternal impact
on those around you. Is that you? I hope so! Why not start today - right now? Just take
out that assignment book of yours from school and block out 20 or 30 minutes for God,
today, and tomorrow, and every day after that. Even on Sunday!
If you do, I'll bet
before you know it, you'll be speaking just like a psalmist. Hey, don't take my word for
it! Take His! …
Psalms 6:9 The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will
receive my prayer.
Psalms 65:2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall
all flesh come.
Psalms 66:20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my
prayer, nor his mercy from me.
Psalms 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth
before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
God bless you!
Your friend in Christ,
You can also read Pastor Tim's online journal @
http://www.ourchurch.com/member/p/PastorShumer -or- you can send him an email and request
his free, weekly Bible study via email.