Life-Changing Prayers

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“God listens to those who are godly and who do His will.” – John 9:31

Prayer is a mystery to many of us. Why pray if God already knows what we need? Or, if we do pray, why don’t our prayers get answered? There’s no formula for effective praying, but today I will share some insights others have given me that may be helpful to you, too.

Sitting: Prayer is our response to God’s invitation to be with Him. He wants us to come confidently, joyfully, consistently, knowing we will always be welcomed. So let’s not barge into His presence brashly asking for things. First, we just sit for awhile, enjoying the pleasure of His company.

Confessing: We often will find thoughts coming into our minds during this time about things we do that hurt Him. We have to be willing to give up anything that blocks friendship with God. He knows we will never be perfect, but He requires that we acknowledge our sin and commit to being better. When we confess, He always forgives, makes us clean, and gives us strength.

Asking: Now we are ready to tell Him our troubles, pray for others who concern us, and ask Him to answer as He wishes.

Listening: Then we quietly wait for any message He may give. Sometimes it is a direction or an idea. At other times, a sense of peace, contentment, or joy. Listening, though, is the best part of prayer. Let’s not hurry away without hearing what He may have to say.

Now we are ready to face our day:  refreshed, clean, calm, energized, and prepared to serve Him and others. Let the adventure begin!

“God’s presence calms your spirit, gives you restful sleep, and quiets your mind. But you must give yourself completely to Him.” – Francois Fenelon

 

Just Listening

 

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“Oh, God,” I said and that was all. But what are the prayers of the whole universe more than expansions of that one cry? It is not what God can give us, but God that we want. – George MacDonald

Do you want to know God better? To sense His presence in your life all day every day? To know He is directing your steps?

A practice that has been life-changing for me in this quest is called “listening prayer”. This is not just ordinary prayer, the worry list variety. Instead, it is God-focused prayer that invites a two-way conversation with Him. Want to try it? Here are some guidelines that might help:

  • Greeting: Open the conversation with a greeting that acknowledges His presence and His power. I often say, “Good morning, Lord. I worship You as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.”
  • Surrender: Invite the Holy Spirit to take over your entire being and to protect you from the evil one.
  • Confession: Ask the Spirit to reveal any sins for which you need to repent. Confess as soon as He points them out.
  • Quieting: Try to eliminate distractions. Often I simply ask myself “What burdens to I need to lay down?” Then as they come to mind, I give them over to God to hold while I turn my attention to Him.
  • Ask and Wait: If you are wrestling with a problem or sense a need for direction, ask Him a specific question. If you just want to know His presence and rest in His care, tell Him so. Now pause to listen. God wants prayer to be two-way communication. He speaks continually and we will hear His voice within us if we take time to listen.
  • Respond: Write it down any message you sense, then follow any direction He gives.
  • Close: You will not be able to resist thanking and praising God for His care for you. Amazing things happen his His presence!

“The Lord confides in those who fear Him.” Psalm 25:14a