16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Mr. Matthew Pannkuk – Chaplain, Bible Teacher
What do you think is Satan’s least favorite thing for us to do?
I think prayer is at the top of that list. Why? Because he knows how powerful prayer is! It’s the most dangerous, effective, and awesome weapon God has given us to fight against evil.
It is the gift that keeps on giving! It’s having a genie and wishing for more wishes, and he grants that wish. (Of course we can’t take the analogy too far because God is most decidedly not a genie, not out to just hand us whatever we want whenever we want it).
One of my favorite and most encouraging quotes I’ve ever heard is from R. A. Torrey:
“Prayer can do anything that God can do.”
So what is praying going to do? Prayer can do anything that God can do.
The truth is that prayer is our access to the the Master of the universe, the Creator of the cosmos, the Most High Almighty God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords. He has granted us permission to use his arsenal, to be endowed with his power. The Holy Spirit, the greatest weapon in existence, lives in us all, granting us every supernatural advantage available. If God can do it, then prayer can do it too. God allows himself to be moved by our prayers. He chose to make our fallen words and earnest pleas and tearful confessions and heartfelt requests to him an influential force in this world.
Prayer puts us in the presence of God!
Truly there is nothing more miraculous, more amazing, more fundamentally helpful to the Christian than communication with the LORD that brings us closer to him.
This Christmas, rejoice in the power of prayer. It is a mighty gift indeed. One of the best gifts you can give another person is to pray for them. (Though I recommend getting a physical gift as well, not just handing children a wrapped note that says “I’m praying for you!”)
Some other helpful, inspiration quotes that help us to see prayer as the powerful force that it truly is.
Andrew Murray (https://prayer-coach.com/2010/08/23/prayer-quotes-andrew-murray/):
Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things ‘above all that we ask or think.’
Learn to worship God as the God who does wonders, who wishes to prove in you that He can do something supernatural and divine.
We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth.
Prayer is our most formidable weapon, but the one in which we are the least skilled, the most averse to its use.
Prayer is not the foe to work, it does not paralyze activity. It works mightily; prayer itself is the greatest work.
Prayer in its highest form and grandest success assumes the attitude of a wrestler with God.
When prayer fails, the world prevails.
Prayer is the helpless and needy child crying to the compassion of the Father’s heart and the bounty and power of a Father’s hand.
Around us is a world lost in sin, above us is a God willing and able to save; it is ours to build the bridge that links heaven and earth, and prayer is the mighty instrument that does the work.
I hope these quotes help you to see prayer’s power, and thus to utilize it more.
We need reminders and quotes like these because many Christians would probably say that the part of their Christian walk that needs the most work is prayer.
Why don’t we utilize the powerful weapon of prayer as much as we could? What are some things that get in the way of prayer in your life?
How can we pray more abundantly in our lives? What practices could help you to make the time to pray? To keep your mind focused on it, to actually do it?
Here are some ideas of ways to approach prayer. How to make time for it, how to have something to say so you don’t get too distracted or bored. Just remember, if you’re praying to the one true God from an earnest heart, there is no wrong way to pray! It can’t be too short, too informal, too long, too formal, too much, or too little. If you pray to the LORD, in any form or fashion, he will hear it.
Models of Prayer:
-Pray through a Psalm. Or any Scripture! (see Matthew Henry’s A Way to Pray)
-Google a list of “prayers in the Bible,” and read them for inspiration.
-Read and pray along with others’ written prayers. (see John Baillie’s A Diary of Private Prayer; The Valley of Vision; Rev. Scotty Smith’s prayer blog https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scotty-smith/)
-Keep a prayer journal, perhaps with a date and an explanation of the answer. George Mueller did this, and at the end of his life had a record of over 50,000 prayers.
-Write it out on paper, type it on your computer, text it on your phone, speak it aloud, talk silently.
-Utilize a friend, or a group. It helps with accountability, and it builds community. Text them a prayer, email it, speak it on the phone with them, or just have them check in to see if you’ve prayed.
-Set a certain amount of time dedicated each day to pray. Maybe only 2 minutes at first. Grow it as you are willing and able. Perhaps set an alarm, hit the snooze button and try to pray in that time.
-Find a dedicated quiet place, a place where you do nothing but pray, so your mind can focus.
-Start with a certain letter of the alphabet (I often go with the number of the date, so if it’s the 5th choose a word that starts with e, like “excellence” or “everlasting”), or have a certain number of letters in it (so say “5 letters”, and think of those words, like “we can praise God for his POWER”!)
-Look around your room, your car, where you are, and list the items around you. Then use that a springboard to pray for things to be thankful for (technology, clothing, God’s provision, artistry, fun, rest/sleep, family/friends, prosperity, safety, air conditioning, the people who made all these things, the laws and lawmakers that oversee them, the clerk who sells these things, and on and on)
-Pray using personal, local, far, based on Acts 1:8. Who can you pray for who you know personally? Who can you pray for in the surrounding community? Who in the further community?
-Pray through the Five Facets: “love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” So think of an emotion to praise God for, a belief (like his goodness, sending his Spirit, his love, etc), pray to think better thoughts, act more Godly, love others more fully
-Pray through CRRR (Creation, Rebellion, Redemption, Restoration). Praise God for something he created, confess and lament some rebellion and sin, thank him for redemption and the way this shows up in life, and pray for how God can restore us and those around us.
-Pray using the ACTS structure (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication).
Even if all of these fall apart and fail, and none of them are working, keep praying! The best way to learn about prayer, to experience it, to learn about it, IS TO JUST DO IT! Do it poorly, do it painfully, do it and fail and then try and do it again and again. Then after that, do it yet again!
LORD God, help us to use and enjoy one of the greatest gifts you have given us: prayer. May we be people of prayer, whether it’s only one minute a week or if it’s hours a day. Help us to make the time to be with you, and to bring our hearts to you.
We pray in your heavenly Name, Amen.
Twin Oaks Christian School, a ministry of Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church