Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday on Prayer

Notice my little, red, Razorback purse on the floor there? :) 
Oh goodness. Church is usually good, but this morning it was extra-good! I love it when God moves like He did today.


SO much good stuff takes place at the Fayetteville Prayer Room! 

I had to go early (well, I SHOULD have gone early, I THOUGHT I was early), but I was "just on time" for the first service to start. I was scheduled to work a table for "Seek God For the City 2013," which our church joins in with the Fayetteville Prayer Room to facilitate over the Lenten Season. Good stuff. 

Praise God for the family that put this huge board together, with all the little tabs to pull off!! Based on the 1-1-12 Prayer module, it will allow us to keep track and have someone praying 24/7 during our 40 days of prayer!

I knew that Lee was teaching on PRAYER today as a continuing subject in the series on "The Basics" - sort of the series on the core of what we believe, as a church, as a part of the body of Christ, as Christians.


Well, PRAYER is one of "my things" - probably the first of the spiritual gifts that I recognized in my life as a new, baby Christian years ago....so I love ALL things PRAYER...including sermons, teachings, books... and this was no different. I'd prayed for God to work through Lee's words through the week, as he prepared for this topic. God didn't disappoint - and I got a good work out as I listened to him teach.

These are my notes:
My notes, not nearly as impressive as the sermon, or the prayer board...

 "Prayer is personal communication with God." - don't make it more difficult than what it is - talking to your "dad" in an intimate way. No rules, just honest/genuine anticipation.

Why pray? 1. Prayer expresses our trust in Him. 2. Prayer brings us into deeper fellowship with Him. 3. God wants us to pray, so we can be equipped to do things ETERNALLY important. (then there's Jim - our co-pastor's philosophy of prayer: 1. Prayer changes the person praying. 2. Prayer changes things in the world. 3. Prayer changes things in the spiritual realm/world (Eph 6).

Why we DON'T PRAY: 1. we don't believe it works. 2. to pray is not tangible - we don't see it, feel it, taste it - so it goes against our current culture (if we hang out with a friend, and tell him what we want/need - we're accomplishing something because it's tangible.). 3. we are too busy. 4. we have low prayer self -esteem (oh, so and so prays so much more eloquently than i do) 5. we have unconfessed sin in our life (so of course our prayers are ineffective). 6. we have an "I can fix it myself" mentality 7. we are mad at God (or at life in general) so we aren't going to give it to God in prayer b/c He didn't do it the way we wanted last time we prayed.

SO - how to change it: 1. confess the 7 barriers to prayer above, and ask God to "help my unbelief" and help me to pray. 2. find a prayer mentor (or 2) - Jesus as a prayer mentor: a/pray concisely (Matt:6:7) b/ pray with persistence (Luke 18) c/ pray humbly (Luke 18:9-14) d/pray for our forgiveness, and forgive others before coming to His presence (Matt 11:25) e/pray specifics (Luke 11:9-10) f/ pray against temptation - praying out in FRONT of our struggles (not just when we fall into temptation) Pro-active prayer (Matt 26:41) g/ pray for children - grandchildren, students, babies, etc. - specific prayers for them too! And remember that when they HEAR us praying, we are TEACHING them to pray too! (Matt 19:13)

OK - so maybe it was a "no brainer" to you...but there were a few things in here that hit me upside the head in a spiritual v8 moment. My favorite - praying against temptation - I mean, duh - I've prayed it for other people, especially my kids - but I don't believe I've ever prayed it for me. :( I'll be making that a point of my prayer times from now on!

All in all the morning was AH-Mazing. After church I was able to hook up with a *new friend* and go to lunch with her to learn more about her life and the unbelievable ways God is using her. I can see God using our friendship in some big ways too - encouraging global workers in other parts of the world. Funny, "small world moment" occurred when we made the connection that we both knew the same girl working in another country - me from her time in the U.S. and her from spending time with her in Africa! Crazy LOVE when God does that!!

SO, all in all, I'm knowing that I need to step away from the laptop and take my dog for a walk - prayer walking my neighborhood all the while (one of my FAVORITE ways to pray!!). 

I hope that you feel challenged (at least a fraction of how I do) to take prayer to some new heights, as we take to our knees...