Now What? Day 4 - How Can I Pray Effectively?
Today's Bible Reading: John 10, 11, and 12
If the Bible can be likened to food, because it nourishes our spiritual lives, then prayer can be likened to our breathing.
There are two parts to breathing--breathing in and breathing out. So it is with prayer--the outreach after God, and His response to us.
The person who said, "I can't find time for prayer," was correct. You must make time for it. A good way is to do it along with your Bible Reading. In fact, I know some people who read their Bible on their knees; then if some truth grips their hearts, they stop for a few moments and pray about it.
You'll never become a solid, mature Christian without a consistent prayer life.
WHAT TO PRAY ABOUT
What to pray about is one of the first problems you'll meet. You think of your family, your friends, your associates, your own needs--and in five minutes you've run out of subject matter. One way to solve this problem is to channel your prayer into certain directions, a different direction each day.
KINDS OF PRAYER
Another solution to the problem of what to pray about is to recognize that there are several kinds of prayer. Basically, it is simply talking to God.
(1) PETITION - This means asking God to meet certain needs. Though some people never progress beyond the "gimme" stage, always asking God for something, there is nothing wrong with asking the Lord for His help. In fact, He encourages us to come with our needs.
(2) THANKSGIVING - Remember, prayer is a two-way street. Don't forget to thank God for what He has already done for yo. In fact, this is a good way to begin your prayer times. For one thing, it builds your faith to remember what God has already done for you.
(3) PRAISE - This is something like thanksgiving but deals with what God is instead of what He has done. Sometimes you can use one of the Psalms, reading it aloud to express how you feel.
(4) WORSHIP - Is very close to praise, but it is almost an attitude. There will be times when words cannot fully express your feelings, and you can only say praise words like, "glory" or "hallelujah." You may even be silent as you kneel or sit, overwhelmed at the sense of how great God is.
(5) INTERCESSION - You may become gripped with the need of someone else, and feel burdened to keep on praying until you have the assurance that God has answered your prayer. This is one of the greatest kinds of prayer, for in it you are thinking of others. We need more of this kind of prayer.
HOW GOD ANSWERS
This is an important lesson to learn: God answers every prayer. Sometimes He says, "Yes," sometimes He says, "No," and often He says, "Wait." But time spent in prayer is never wasted. You see, even more than what He does for you. God is interested in what He can do in you. Prayer changes things--and people.
PRAYING IN PUBLIC
Sooner or later, someone will call on you to lead in prayer. Don't get panicky. Simply remember that you're praying to the Lord, not to the people. Pray as representative of the group and express what you feel are their general desires in that meeting. Don't worry about using exactly the right words.
BIBLE STUDY FOR TODAY
John 10:11, Who is the good shepherd?
John 10:15, What has Jesus done for the sheep?
John 11:27, Who did Martha say Jesus is?
John 11:42, How often did the Father hear Jesus prayer?
John 12:32, What did Jesus mean by "lifted up"?
GOOD VERSES TO MEMORIZE:
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