25 March 2011

Prayers: Short, Simple & Sweet

“For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” - Matthew 7:8

Prayer is an essential part of a Christian’s faith journey.... it is not an option. The Bible gives us so much insight in to prayer, after all Jesus was the best example of all. His life shows us not only how he prayed, but where he went to pray, when he prayed, and for whom he prayed. In Matthew 6:5-7, Jesus even tells us how not to pray...

Verse 5: We are told not to pray like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners just to be seen and heard.
Verse 6: Jesus asks us to go to a private place since our Heavenly Father already knows what we are going to pray about.
Verse 7: Jesus tells us not to babble on and on, but to be specific in our petitions. It’s not the number or the enormity of our words.
Verse 8: We are once again reminded not to pray like heathens.

If we continue reading in Matthew, verses 9-14 give us the best guidance when it comes to prayer.... the words of the Lord’s Prayer.

When I think about my prayer life, I am constantly asking myself the following 4 questions:

Do my prayers honor God?
Do I pray for the needs of others (blessings and encouragement)?
Do my personal prayers include asking for wisdom and direction rather than a list of “wants”?
Do I really trust Him to answer my prayers?

If you’re like me, I like to pray in a variety of different ways. Sometimes my prayers are in the stillness of the late evening, or in my car on my way to work, or “chats” during the day as opportunities or thoughts arise. Prayer is and should be a personal experience with God, so there is not one specific time, place or style for everyone. The important thing is that we use our prayer time as a daily communication, a time to both speak and listen to God. Think about the person that you are closest to in the whole world.... what would happen if you forgot to talk to them for long periods of time, or if you only chatted when you needed something, or if the conversation was always one sided? Now, think about your prayer life.... is your communication with God.... consistent or sporadic, fresh or boring, balanced between speaking and listening, or very one-sided?

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle... action required... Below are three “types” of prayers that might offer some new prayer opportunities that may affect you, your family and your community.

V Short: Breath Prayers.... a great way to communicate all day long

The name "Breath Prayer" draws its origin from the words for breath and Sprit which are very similar in the biblical languages. In Romans 8:26-27 the Bible tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."

Breath Prayers use daily experiences to prompt simple prayers spoken in one breath. A few words, relaxed and spontaneous.... whispered to God throughout the busy-ness of our day. Matthew 18:3 tells us to pray with the heart of little children - simple, reverent, specific, and trusting. Here are some examples of Breath Prayers.... breathe in, now breathe out saying:

Give me patience, Jesus
Forgive me Lord
Thank you for this day
Make me a blessing
Protect me from temptation
You are my hope, Lord
Give me a willing heart
Take away my shame
Make me a better friend
Be my rock, God
Teach me your way
I give all my cares to you, Lord

V Simple: Five Finger Prayer.... an easy way to teach a child to pray

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, the Bible says pray without ceasing, but what should we pray for? Sometimes it’s hard to remember everyone on our prayer list, so just hold up your hand and start praying. Use each finger as a reminder for a specific prayer request.

1. Your thumb is nearest to you. Begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember.
2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, pastors, and doctors. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction.
3. The next finger is the middle finger, which is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business, industry, and community. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.
4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Did you know that this is our weakest finger? It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night.
5. Lastly is our little finger, the smallest finger of all, which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. Your pinky should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

V Sweet: Jellybean Prayer.... a great evangelism tool

Psalm 34:8 tells us to “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Type up the Jellybean Prayer shown below, and put it in a small baggie with one jellybean of each color. Hand them out and share the message of the Good News. Great family project!

Red is for the blood He shed.
Green is for the grass He made.
Yellow is for the sun so bright.
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins we made.
White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for our hour of sorrow.
Pink is for our new tomorrow.

Everything we do should have a foundation of prayer. By doing so, we recognize God for who He is and give Him all glory and honor. Jesus constantly went to God in prayer to seek God’s will and direction, to ask for courage and strength in order to resist sin and temptation. He offered thanks and prayed for others.... How can we possibly think we should do any less?

May your weekend be filled with prayerful moments and God’s Peace...
Chillin’ in His Grace, Donna Weaver

“We must alter our lives in order to alter our hearts,
for it is impossible to live one way and pray another.”
- William Law

1 comment:

Cans said...

But, let us agree that deep faith which produces peace doesn't happen overnight. In fact, much like any new endeavor, such as athletics or engineering, training, mentoring, and then practice will transform the casual jogger into an Olympic runner, and the engineering student into a professional. Ilchi Lee