August 2020: People that Pray
Last month we talked about Holy Spirit and the advantages we have in Him. I hope you were able to find a nearness and understanding to His love and function in your life. This month, let’s get even closer as we seek to pray.
**Note: You do not, unless you so desire, have to respond to this letter**
August: People that Pray
Monthly Focus: Never Ceasing to Pray
Key Verses: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Memory Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
In a conversation this month, I had a talk with one of my mentees. They were asking questions about a doctrine that confused connection with God and the connection to the universe. The problem with the information they heard is that it attacked the very thing we have to connect us to Christ; prayer.
I asked, “How do you connect with God?” The main answer was prayer. Prayer is the tool we’ve been given to access and enjoy relationship with our Heavenly Father. Prayer is our connector. Prayer is our assurance. Prayer is always the answer. When we pray, we access the promises of God that are here for us, and we also reap the benefits that come along with it. This tool has MUCH power in what it can do for us on earth, and for this, we’re grateful. But like any tool, it must be used to see its affect.
So what is prayer? There are many definitions to what prayer is believed to be. The Word gives us clear understanding to what prayer is and what it can do in our lives. Simply, prayer is talking to God. The bible encourages us to get in a personal space and focus on that intimate relationship with Him during the conversation (Matthew 6:6). I want to emphasize ‘conversation’ because God not only hears us when we pray, He is also ready to speak back. Prayer provides us intimate communion with God.
The benefits don’t stop there, however. We have access to endless opportunities if we engage two principles that are consistent to the power of prayer. We must ask and we must believe. Many people falter in never asking, and many more fail when they ask without faith that God can do what they’re requesting or that He will give their hearts desire(s). The bible is clear that we have a good and loving Father. He is also clear that there is no good thing that He will withhold from us (Psalm 84:11) and if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us and we get what we have asked for (1 John 5:14-15).
So how do we do this? How does one pray? If you’re just getting to know God, begin with recognizing His presence and goodness with gratitude and thanksgiving. Don’t just hop right into requests. No one likes that, so let’s not treat our heavenly Father in such a way. After praise and thanks, then, get yourself out of the way. Lay down any sins, burdens, secrets, bad thoughts, hurts, selfishness or pride. You don’t need to be the blocker to your own blessings. THEN come with requests. Trust God with what you want and tell Him what you need. Much like speaking with a trusted friend, you share your thoughts, you share your heart and you speak about what matters to you most. You trust that you’re heard and that you’re received. You pause to listen or give space for any feedback. I understand that privacy may not be the easiest thing to have, however, let me encourage you. Don’t be ashamed! Others watching and listening could benefit the Kingdom greatly.
Nonetheless, we have an all-knowing God. Some of the most powerful prayers I’ve ever prayed were not with words, but in journaled letters in my quiet time or tears streaming my face where no words were available. God HEARS us when we call. He is our refuge and strength in times of need and trouble. Cling to Him. Run to Him. Speak with Him. Ask of Him.
Steps to Pray
Praise and Thanks
Repent, Confess, Lay down burdens
Ask, Seek, Trust
End in Faith and Expectation
Give God space to speak
Here are some noteworthy verses for your learning and reflection:
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases like the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their many words.”
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
And He told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
1 John 5:14-15
And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.
Do not be anxious [mentally distressed] about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.