Last week, we talked about finding a prayer-place. Many of you responded with your pictures of where you go to be alone with God. You have carved out your place…now what do you do??
This is not a time to strive for perfection. Perfectionism is your enemy!! Just get started.
1. Get a Bible. It can be a paper Bible, an online Bible, a Bible on your E-reader, or a Bible from an app on your phone. If you don’t have any of these resources, contact me, Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry, or a local church. We would all be happy to put a Bible in your hands.
2. Get a notebook. Or paper. Or a white board. Or the notepad in your phone. Just get something to write on.
3. Go to your quiet spot.
4. Read the Bible. I recommend starting in the book of Matthew if you don’t already have a reading plan. (Look it up in the table of contents.) Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and guide you as you read. Feel free to underline, highlight, and make notes in the margin. If something jumps out at you, mark it. If something really hits you hard, write that verse down in your notebook.
5. PRAY!! (This is the hardest for me. Where do I start?)
Luckily for us, the Bible is full of instruction on how to pray. For simplicity, let’s look in Matthew 6:9-13, where Jesus said:
“Pray then like this:
Our Father in heaven Hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come,Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread,And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.” (ESV)
If we break this down, we have a great model for our prayer time. Simply read each portion and elaborate on it as you pray.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
We start out by praising God, which means that we just tell God what we appreciate about Him. He is our Father. He watches over us. His name is powerful and mighty. The name “Jesus” means Savior. He rescues us from ourselves. He brings deliverance.
“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
God’s “kingdom” is one of healing, freedom, grace, power, love. Ask God to help you live in that kingdom here on earth. Ask God to enable you to follow Him and to do His will. Ask Him to help you surrender yourself to Him.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
This is where you tell Him your requests. Ask God for help in our nation, our homes, our marriages, our schools. (Colossians 1:9-12 has a great prayer outline for praying for your loved ones.)
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
We admit to our sins and shortcomings. We ask for forgiveness. We ask him to help us to forgive those who have hurt and wronged us.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Wow!! We need this one!! Not only does Satan want to trip us up, but we also need God’s help to protect us from our own selfish desires.
Is this the only way to pray? Of course, not!! It is a place to start. You will find a rhythm of prayer and Bible reading that fits you. You don’t have to pray like me or anyone else. The Holy Spirit will lead you.
You might feel awkward at first. It’s OK!!! You will find your way as you keep at it. It’s similar to learning a new skill. With practice, it will feel more and more natural.
You might find that five minutes is all you can do at first. That’s just fine! Focus on content. The rest will take care
What if you miss a day? That’s all right. Just get back at it when you can. (I find that some days each week, there just is no time to sit down in my prayer-place.) God isn’t angry. Just try to keep a running dialog with Him on you busy days.
I want to close with one last thought:
Prayer doesn’t earn you brownie points with God.
Prayer helps you find God.