This Summer our church decided to focus on prayer. Prayer is the unholy connecting with the Holy. It's a conversation with God where you can express your fears, desires, longings, and failures.
Prayer is conversation with God
Each week I preached in the summer series I offered our church a prayer tip. Here is a summary of the different prayer tips.
God is with usThe first week of the series we looked that what we so affectionately know as the Lord's Prayer. In these verses Jesus gives us a model of what to prayer. We don't have to pray it exactly, but we can use it as a guide in our prayer life. In this guide, Jesus never asks us to pray for God to be with us. God is already with us! Before Jesus departed to Heaven He clearly told the disciples that He would be with them always:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20If you find yourself regularly asking God to be with you, you can stop. God is with you. Now, if you have yet to place your trust in Jesus, you can pray for Jesus to be the Lord of your life!
Show God your emotionsIn 1 Kings 17 there is a story of a young boy who dies. Elijah has been living with this family and the mother places her dead son in the arms of the prophet. Elijah takes the boy to his room where he then stretches himself out over the boy’s dead body three times and cried to the Lord: “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
Does your prayer life ever include tears? Throughout Scripture we see people who cried out to God. When my mom was in the hospital, I cried more than I’m comfortable admitting. God, who knows our hearts, also knows our emotions. It is pointless for us to attempt to hide our emotions from God. If you need to cry out in prayer, go for it. In his book Moving Mountains, John Eldridge talks about what he so affectionately calls, “The Cry of the Heart.” We see this throughout Scripture and mostly in the Psalms (Psalm 77:1 and Psalm 61:1).
It’s okay to cry out to God. I’m not suggesting God hears these prayers any differently, but if you are so overwhelmed with emotion, let God know what is troubling you. Don’t try to hide your emotions from our Lord.
Remove DistractionsWe live in a time with so many distractions. There is so much vying for our attention today. Our phones are constantly making noise, the Dodgers are playing, football season starts soon, and the radio is probably still on in your car. Slowly remove these distractions while you’re learning to hear God’s voice. I’m not saying to never listen to the radio or watch TV again. I’m saying minimize the use while you learn to listen to God.
Take a page straight from 1 Samuel 3. Samuel sat down and listened to the voice of the Lord. Sit down and say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” Then sit there.
It might feel weird at first. You might have all these thoughts running through your mind. You will have to learn to clear your mind of the distractions so you can discern God’s voice. I’m not saying this is going to be easy. This will take time. This might take months or years of practice. But nothing great I have in life has ever come easy. The best things I have have taken time, energy and deep thinking. Sit and listen. You might want to keep a journal near by for when God speaks so you can write it down.
Find a place to meet with GodFind a place to meet with God. In Matthew, Jesus told the listeners to meet with God in a closet. In the story of Elijah and the dead boy, Elijah took the boy to his room where he met with God. In 2 Kings 19, Hezekiah went into the temple of the Lord to meet with God.
This week, find a place to meet with God. Find a location in your home, the beach, or a secluded place where you can meet with God.
When tragedy was nearing, Hezekiah went straight to the Temple. He went straight to the place where Israel met with God. I’m not sure if this was a normal place for Hezekiah to meet with God or not, but this was His place to meet with God.
The place I met with God is at the foot of my bed. I sit or lay face down on the floor to meet with God. It’s important to have somewhere you can meet with God. Now you might think how busy you are and that you don’t have time for prayer. Listen to what Billy Graham once said: "You cannot afford to be too busy to pray. A prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian.”