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Pastor Timothy Shumer, BA, MA
Colosse, New York
colossebc@juno.com
http://www.colosse.org/
 
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Spirituality
Why should I pray? I don't even feel like God hears me!

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 prayer.

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 practice.

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.

In Paul's first letter to his young protege Timothy, Paul told him, in part:

"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

Most 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 it?

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 Him.

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.

Most 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 extra!"

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.

I'm 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 before.

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 us.

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 the answer!

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 name.


                     P - PRAISE the Lord

R - REPENT - confess your sins and ask God for forgiveness

A - ASK the Lord to hear prayers for other people, people at church, missionaries, your pastor and other Christian servants, and last of all, yourself.

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 example:

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.
12 And 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. Amen.

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.

And 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 devotion.

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.

E = ENGERY

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 there!

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 am!

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 prepared…

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 this list:

18 PRAYING ALWAYS WITH ALL PRAYER and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

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 …

1 John 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 success!

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.

So 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 possible!

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.

Just remember that prayer is work; all work takes ENERGY!

R = REGULAR

This 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 pray?

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 my day..."

No wonder he was having a good day "thus far!"

However, the 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 God.

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.

Frankly, 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 have it.

P-R-A-Y-E-R.

PRACTICE

RELATIONSHIP

ANSWERS

YOU

ENERGY

REGULAR

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,
Pastor Tim
John 3:30

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.


 

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