Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Thoughts on prayer

Prayer, prayer, prayer! God might as well write it across a billboard in our front yard. I have heard people talk about it at every turn lately! I decided it might be time to listen and hear what He wants me to do.

No one can ever pray enough. Dwight Moody commented that (paraphrasing) besides the sheer glory of Christ, he believes he will be most surprised in heaven at how he made so little use of the power of prayer. (He habitually prayed for 2 hours every morning, and then throughout the day.) I could never achieve any level of "faithfulness" on this earth that would make me worthy of God's love and acceptance. This is certainly not about earning his good graces. That was all accomplished by Jesus on my behalf. But now as a believer, I have come to believe that prayer is essential for peace in this life. And somehow, mysteriously, God's providence includes answering our petitions. In my life, I can know about God just fine apart from prayer. But I can have no vital, living relationship without prayer. And I want to know and glorify Him more than anything else.

*Some verses regarding prayer:
I Thes. 5:16-18-James 5:16-Ephesians 6:18-Phil. 4:6-7

Our pastor preached on our unwillingness to pray, specifically for the lost. We are not only to pray for those handful that cross our own paths, but for those around the world. Jesus says to pray, "Thy kingdom come" first and foremost (before our daily bread, even!).

So the kids and I extended our breakfast time this morning around the table and came up with a new system. If God has been moving you to pray as well, maybe you will find something useful, too. We chose seven topics for prayer, one for each day. I took some time explaining to the children that we are to pray continually. We should talk to our Father through out the day about everything. These 7 topics are people/events that we want to make sure we do not forget. They are certainly not supposed to replace a habit of praying "without ceasing". We decided to spend a little time after breakfast each morning for "the seven". Ours were:

SUNDAY- Church leaders
~including our pastor, staff, elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers

~we have a little world map and will write their names across all six continents that they span(we know no one who lives in Antarctica!?!)

TUESDAY- "Things on the news"- World issues
~currently Haiti victims, oil spill, flood victims in Nashville, tornado victims in Oklahoma, No*th Korea, Ir*q/Afgha*istan wars (the list could go on and on)

WEDNESDAY- Government leaders
~excellent sight here with pictures of national government officials (we have to find pictures of our own state officials since we do not live in California)

THURSDAY- Unbelievers

~our own personal friends

~this site has an unreached people group a day to lift up in prayer

FRIDAY- Family

~extended family's needs/salvation


~first, for the needs of our small groups whom we have given a commitment to being in pray for (Home Fellowship Group at church, Sunday school small groups, teenage discipleship groups, homeschool support group)

Because my thoughts are always drifting towards the salvation of my children, their needs, and my husband's as well, I do not have them on the list. We tend to find time plenty of time to pray for our needs! Here is a daily prayer list of spiritual blessings for my children that I keep on the frig and use frequently.One other thought...The importance of forgiveness before prayer was brought up to me this weekend. (Mark 11:25) Not only does forgiveness unlock God's work in our lives, but it destroys bitterness. And bitterness defiles all those around us. God inhabits the praises of His people, and the Enemy flees when we praise Him. What a way to start the day with the kids!

"How can one family affect anything? One person battling away to put selfish interests aside, to put other people before himself or herself, even for a fraction of the time, day by day, how could that help? ...One family and the children of that family can do marvelous things to affect the world or devastating things to destroy it." Edith Schaefer, What is a Family

"I have held many things in my hands and lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands that I still possess." ~Martin Luther


RHB said...

Wow! Great quotes and I love the new system that your family came up with for praying for so many important things! When do you have set times of prayer together?

Renee said...

thanks, Rach! We pray together after breakfast. Keep in mind we home school, so we have the freedom to start school...just whenever. In fact, lately we haven't begun until 10:00! By the time we are dressed, have eaten, have devotion/quiet time/prayer and do our chores it's time for a snack! But that's been ok for now because it's the end of the year and we haven't had as much work.