Some people pray only when all else fails. However, if prayer works, why wait until things are horrible to apply it to our lives? If prayer really works, why not use it all the time? I know that prayer changes everything, and it starts by changing us.
There was a time written about in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (yes that’s a part of the Bible) when God’s chosen people turned their backs on Him, and this led to another nation taking them into captivity. So GOD gave them this challenge:
“…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Prayer is talking with GOD and it’s not complicated. It draws us to GOD in a personal way, to connect with the creator of the universe, to experience all that life has to offer. Many people reserve prayer for holiday meals or times of trouble. That’s like having a phone and only using it to call on Christmas and Easter to say hi, or just when your car breaks down on 635. Instead we use our phones all day long and enjoy the benefit of staying connected with others. Prayer is like that. It works and should be enjoyed.
Pray Without Ceasing
If you believe in the power of prayer, and since GOD has directed us to pray, why don’t we do it more often? In my past, I considered prayer as a “get out of jail card” to be pulled out when things got really bad. Until then, I was doing pretty good on my own so I didn’t need the man upstairs. I began to look at GOD like a butler or rich uncle who I called on when I needed something. This routine went on for years until I really understood that my Heavenly Father loves me and actually enjoys talking with me each day. Prayer was a way of staying connected all day long to a source of love I could not get enough of.
The Bible teaches us to “pray without ceasing,” which means all the time. It’s like being on a long journey with a friend where we chatted about life, our thoughts and dreams, the experiences and lessons learned along the road, and our excitement about the destination. You would not get in a car at Dallas with your best friend and say “I’ll let you know when I get tired so you can take over” and then ignore him for the next 12 hours. Yet this is how many people consider GOD as they journey this adventure called Life.
Prayer Is For Our Benefit
Since GOD knows everything, then He certainly knows what I’m thinking or what I will pray even before I pray it, so why pray? Well it’s because prayer is for US. The process of taking our prayers to GOD (talking with Him) helps us to remember who is in charge. It helps us become grounded again as we think of how powerful and awesome He is, to remember all the great things He has already done for us, and look at our current situations from an eternal perspective.
If you are not experienced in praying, let me share with you something I learned a long time ago called the ACTS of praying:
Adoration – when I start praying (talking with GOD) I realize just how awesome it is to talk one on one with the GOD of the universe, and I cannot help but pour out praise and compliments on how awesome He is. This get my head in the right perspective that I am in the presence of greatness, the King of Kings. This also helps me to see how I fall short of His perfection and leads me to confess where I come up short.
Confession – I sin, Jimmy Carter sins, everybody sins. The cool part of GOD is that he made a way for all of us to come speak and be with Him by having Jesus Christ die on the cross to pay the price for my sins, and the sins of the world, once and forever. We are directed in the Bible to confess our sins so that GOD will remove them forever and allow us to be in His presence. This puts us back in a right relationship with GOD so He can give us the blessings a loving Father wants to provide His children. Knowing all He has forgiven me of makes me very Thankful.
Thanksgiving – when I start by telling GOD all I am thankful for, it helps me to see just how much he has already done for me. I also thank him for what I do NOT have, like cancer, or a child with special needs, or a wife who has lost interest in me, or friends who betray me. By the time I cover all that I have to be thankful for, the things I was going to ask GOD for almost seem insignificant. A Thankful heart turns my focus off me and over to the needs of others.
Supplication – this means asking GOD for what I want. Yes, I do pray for my family to be safe, for wisdom to raise my children, my business to grow, and much more. However, after realizing how awesome GOD is, how foolish I often behave, and how thankful I am for all He has done for me already, I realize I have a great life and my attention turns to the needs of others. I like praying for my friends because I love them and want God’s best for them.
The ACTS process moves our attention off ourselves and over to a world in need. Like some of your coworkers who do not have the HOPE you do, and who need the PEACE that GOD has given those of us who believe in his son Jesus Christ, and the JOY of knowing I am LOVED above all else.
This is the hope we share at our annual DFW Technology Prayer Breakfast. We do indeed pray that morning but we will spend most of our time talking with other Technology leaders from the DFW area, and hearing great stories of how GOD has changed the lives of business leaders just like you. I hope you will come join me that day.