In the book of Acts, prayer is one of the main signs that the Spirit has come into the heart through faith in Christ. The Spirit gives us the confidence and desire to pray to God and enables us to pray even when we don’t know what to say. Christians are taught that prayer should pervade their whole day and whole life — they should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
—Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God
Week 2: Bible Memory Verse
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
James 5:15 ESV
Day 1: Devoted to Prayer
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Colossians 4:2 NIV
Just the word prayer alone seemed to always hold some type of mystery. Hundreds of books written and thousands of sermons preached on the subject. Seminars… retreats… so many voices giving so many choices about prayer. I have read books like The Prayer of Jabez and Prayers that Avail Much and each contributed something to my prayer life.
It seems so complex, but it isn’t. It’s simple really. As simple as the conversation you had on the phone with your best friend today. I remind the children every time we begin to pray, “You don’t need special words or posture to pray. Just talk to God.” Talking to God—that’s prayer.
When I began walking with God at the age of 33, there were two things I knew about Christians, they studied the Bible and they prayed. I was sure of these two things even though I had grown up outside the church. So, with my heart captured by God the only two steps I knew to take next were (1) read my Bible daily and (2) pray every day.
My prayer life began in my shower. Being a stay-at-home mom of three preschoolers, ages five and under, there was no other time to be alone or have a little quiet. The first thing I would do when I got in the shower was to sit in the tub with my knees drawn up, arms wrapped around my legs, head resting on my knees, let the water wash over me, and pray. I prayed for blessing and protection over my family. I prayed for forgiveness. I just prayed how I knew best, at the time.
At its simplest, praying is conversing with God — a form of supernatural communication. You do not have to speak out loud to pray. All you have to do is direct your thoughts to God and talk with Him in your mind. There is great freedom in prayer. There are no limits to the places or times you can pray. Anywhere. Anytime.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines “converse” as “to become occupied or engaged” and “to have acquaintance or familiarity.” It also notes the Latin root conversari which means “to live, keep company with.” The people we know best are the ones we live with and converse with daily. We invite God into our lives through prayer. But no conversation is a one-way street, even in prayer we must take time to listen.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” — Jesus
—John 10: 27 NIV
We are called to devote ourselves to this conversation with God known as prayer.
devote — 1. to dedicate by a solemn act 2. a. to give over (as to a cause, use, or end) wholly or purposefully b. to center the attention of activities of (oneself)
—Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
What does it look like to be given over to prayer wholly or purposefully? to center the attention of our activities on prayer? Clearly prayer is more than a 911 call to God when we are in trouble or we find ourselves at the end of our rope. Prayer is precious intentional time spent with God, the Creator of the universe. It is engaging with Him throughout our day, becoming familiar with who He is and His presence in our lives.
Devotion includes being watchful and thankful. Watchful for things to talk to Him about throughout our day, such as people to pray for or circumstances where His help is needed. Being devoted to prayer helps us recognize reasons to give thanks as we go through our days.
The challenge to be devoted to prayer is one every Believer should be working toward, because without prayer we cannot grow spiritually. Begin finding ways to spend time with God before your next crisis arises. Solemnly dedicate time to Him, there are so many things He wants to share with you. Make yourself available to Him.
Prayer is the practice of including God in your day. If you have not already established a specific time of daily prayer or grown to have a conversational prayer life with Him, do it. Take the first step. It may be as simple as praying, Good morning, Lord, as the first thought of the day.
When we are awake to His faithfulness and love, then we will be awake to joy and thanksgiving and an unceasing prayer life. Which is His will for us in Christ Jesus.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. —1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
The rest of the week we will be looking at four aspects of prayer to help you put form to your prayer life.
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
Think about the history of your prayer life. If Jesus was a friend, how well would you know Him?
Talk it over with God:
Ask God to help you feel the realness of Christ. He is alive and you can have a close personal relationship with Him.
“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. …”
Job 19:25 NLT
Exercise Your Faith
Prayer is a gift… something to be thankful for. Give thanks for a God who longs to talk to us.
And the _________________ of faith will save the one who is _____________,
and the Lord will _______________ him up. And if he has committed __________,
he will be _________________. James 5:15