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Posts Tagged ‘how to pray’

How to Pray for Others (Ephesians and Colossians)

A friend of mine shared that she often prays for people she knows by inserting their name into Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-21. Then I remembered Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-14, and saw that it worked well, too. So, I used the New Living Translation version of the scripture as a guide to create these prayers.

(By the way… it works pretty good for praying for yourself as well. Just sayin…)

Ephesians 3:14-21

When I think of all God’s gifts and blessings, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,

The Creator of everything in heaven and on earth…

I pray Father, that from Your glorious, unlimited resources You will empower ____ with inner strength through Your Holy Spirit. I pray that Christ will make His home in _____ heart as ____ trusts in Him more and more. I pray that ______ roots will grow down deep into Your love and that that will keep _____ strong.

And Father, may _____ have the power to understand, as all Your people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep Your precious love is. May _____ experience the love of Christ, even though it is too great to fully understand. And then Lord, _____ will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from You.

Now all glory to You Father, who are able, through Your mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ever ask or even think. Glory to You in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! For it is in His Holy Name I pray – Amen.

 

Colossians 1:9-14

From the first time I met* you, I have continued to pray for you, and this is what I pray.

Dear Father, I pray that You will give ____ a complete knowledge of Your Holy Will, and also give ____ spiritual wisdom and understanding. Give ____ this Lord so that the way that ___ lives will always honor and please You, and that ____ life will produce every kind of “good fruit.”  I know Lord, that this will cause ____ to grow as ____ learns to know You better and better.

I also pray that ____ will be strengthened with all Your glorious power so that ____ will have all the endurance and patience that ____ needs. May ____ be filled with joy, always thanking You. You, dear Father, have enabled ____ (and all of us) to share in the inheritance that belongs to Your people, who live in the light. Because You have rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and sin, and transferred us to the Kingdom of Your blessed Son, Jesus Christ, Who has purchased our freedom with His blood, and has forgiven our sins, and it is in His name that we lift ____ up as we pray – Amen.

 

*The actual scripture says “Since the first time I heard about you.” Paul had never been to Colosse, but he had heard of their love and great faith.

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Unstillness in Prayer

I come this morning, Father, as one who doesn’t know how to pray as she should. I come full of an… “uneasiness”; a… trepidation; a… fear…

No wonder people seek to stay busy, because if we become still, we become aware that “we” don’t know what we’re doing.

We say we’re so busy, and we are; we truly are! Or at least we’ve allowed ourselves to get that way. We have our work, our homes, our responsibilities, and we are so overwhelmed with all the stuff of life…

We are connected on every hand, and feel that we must be able to be reached at all hours of the day and night. And for many of us, it’s not just an “imagined” need; we have children, or parents who truly need to be able to reach us. They depend on us…

But then again, many times… far too many times, we use this connectability as a crutch, or perhaps an umbilical cord, connecting us to the world, not only physically, but emotionally as well.

And so, our minds are so filled with all the things that we’ve allowed (even unconsciously) to fill them. But if we really probe deeply enough Father, I think we’ll find that this is really the way that we want it to be…

Oh, we say we’d like to have more time; we’d like to shed some of our responsibilities. We say we’d like to spend more quiet time; more meditative time in solitude… but when those still moments come upon us, even so briefly… we become antsy, nervous, and uneasy in being alone with You.

When those of “the world” have these still moments, they immediately seek to fill them. Are we any different? Most of the time we do the same thing. But, as we grow in our walk, and we seek to draw closer to You, and we set aside time to pray… it is then that we realize how uncomfortable silence and stillness really is…

And we realize that we come, as one who doesn’t know how to pray as he or she should…

So, what do we do? Well, if we’re Scripturally sound we hold to the scripture that says that we don’t know how to pray as we should, so the Holy Spirit intercedes for us “with groans and utterances too deep for words…”

But quite frankly God, I think that’s a cop-out… Sure, there are times when the feelings are too deep for words, but most of the time, we just simply don’t want to take the time to learn how to pray, or we don’t want to take the time to listen for Your voice…

The world speaks of “evolution”, but in actuality, we are devolving… One has only to read the Church fathers’ writings on prayer; or read classics from only a century ago on theology or prayer; or even read prayers from just a generation ago to realize, we don’t have a clue as to what they’re saying.

“Well, ‘language’ is different today,” we say. And it certainly is. We have devolved into a society of acronyms and invented words; we coin phrases to reflect our surrounding culture which takes us farther and farther away from being able to read and understand Your Holy Word.

Father, forgive us, and in this fast-paced world (perhaps “spinning out of control world” would be more like it!) help us to come to You as the disciples came to Jesus and say, “Lord, teach us how (and teach us now) to pray…

In His Name – Amen.

 

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How Intercessory Prayer Works

 

Paul (in speaking about the Old Testament stories) said, “These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.” (1 Corinthians 10:11 NLT)

 

For how intercessory prayer works, read Exodus 17:10ff. In Exodus 17:10 and following, the Israelites were in a battle with the Amalekites. As long as Moses held his staff in the air, the Israelites were winning, but when he began to tire and drop his arms, they began to lose. Then, Aaron and Hur came alongside of Moses and held his arms up until the battle is won.

Are you tired and weary in a battle you are fighting? Imagine the intercessory prayer of others holding your arms aloft during the struggle. There was a time in my life where I literally remember saying (as I drove down the interstate – I still remember the spot) “The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that Ruby and Georgia are praying for me…”

Nearly every Sunday these two women would come up to me at church and ask how it was going, and say, “I just wanted to know how you were doing… I’m praying for you, you know.” That made all the difference!

Do you need your arms held up today? Or, whose arms can you hold up today?

Paul also said (2 Corinthians 1:4) “He [God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (NLT)

Have you been comforted? Who can you comfort today?

Do you need comfort? Ask someone to come alongside of you and pray for/with you today. DO NOT try to do it alone!

 

Prayer:

Father, I lift up those who are seriously struggling today. I picture many of them in my mind and I see their battle weary faces. May these prayers give them comfort and strength to face the battle this day. God, I have been so comforted and strengthened by the prayers of others, may I never fail to be willing to come alongside others and comfort them with that same comfort. Thank You for sending us the Comforter, Your Holy Spirit, to be with us – in us, and thank You for allowing us to participate in Your work. May everything we do bring You glory – in Jesus’ Name – Amen

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Today starts a new section in my book “Put Your Hand to the Plow – and Pray!” These are a collection of prayers and devotionals from the farm. This section is titled “How to Pray”. It is introduced with the following scripture:

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

Enjoy!

Prelude to Prayer…

 

“Lord God Almighty,” not the “oh my god” of the sitcoms; not the god of the late night comics, nor of the movie screen. Neither the god of the philosophers or the debaters – but “The Lord God Almighty” – maker of heaven and earth, the creator Word, Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, the very One Who Jesus called “Abba, Father”, and Who knows the number of the hairs on my head… it is to You that I pray…

The Hebrews would not even say Your Name, it is so holy, and I am speechless in acknowledgement of Your majesty. There are no words to express the awesomeness of Your magnificence. With a Word, You spoke the world into existence. At Your breath clay becomes man, and at Your breath, man becomes clay…

David’s cry of “O LORD my Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth” becomes my song as well. “Oh Jehovah, my Adonai,” “Oh Eternal, ‘my God’,” “Oh Unspeakable, my Personal” “Oh Father, my Abba…” “Oh Without, my within,” how excellent is Your name(s) in all the earth…

And… You… want me… to pray… to You…?

ah…. My knees buckle at the very thought…

God, we pray at our “prayer times” and we pray “thought prayers” all the day long. We see a beautiful scene and instinctively pray “Thank You, Lord…” We see a need or hear a plea and send up an immediate prayer for deliverance or aid. And even expect an answer…

Yet as Christians, we almost take for granted that You are there; that You hear our every cry, that you care for every condition of our hearts, our souls and our physical needs. We know that we can come to You at any time, but O Lord, sometimes we fail to grasp the unspeakable, unfathomable, immeasurable, fullness of Your Glory.

But indeed, how can we? For we are just man – and You… are God.

You are the Lord God Almighty. And it is to You, that I pray…

 

 

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Someone asked the question, “When and how do you pray?” And it reminded me of this devotional…

 

There is another prayer

I used to say that I had to be in the “mood” to write… maybe that meant that I had to be “inspired” to write.

 

Maybe, I needed to be in God’s presence to write (although I didn’t know it at the time…) Perhaps now, I need to be in God’s presence to really pray.

 

“God is Omnipresent,” you say. “He’s everywhere. We’re always in His presence.” And maybe we are – but is He in ours?

 

Every time my mind is “still” (if even for the briefest of moments) my thoughts turn to prayer. I say “Thank You” or “Praise You” or I lift up a name that’s on my heart.

 

But, is that really prayer?

 

“Yes it is,” I argue. And I am right; it is a type of prayer. It is, what I call, “a prayer of aware-ance.” I am continually “aware” of the presence of God. But, in this prayer, “I” set the tone and “I” set the time. And I tell God, “Here I am! Let’s talk now.” And then I tell God when I’m finished, and I close the door and get on with “life.”

 

But… there is another prayer.

 

And that is the prayer of immersion – where (most times unexpectedly) I feel myself engulfed, surrounded, enshrouded by His Presence. Where God doesn’t just poke His Head into my world, but instead, I am “allowed” entrance into His Court.

 

It’s like a fog slowly rolling in. At first, you barely “see” it. And then before your mind fully comprehends what is happening, you are embraced with such wonder that first catches your breath, and then makes you want to breathe deeply, and be filled as completely within by His Aura, as you are enveloped without, by His Arms.

 

At times like these you want to cry out, “Oh God! What an awesome gift of Your Love. Thank You for tearing that curtain down!”

 

Do we really realize what a privilege we have been given? No, I don’t think we do. At least, not very often…

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“Prayer List” Prayer

Ever get stuck when praying? Even if you have a prayer list? Try this to jumpstart your prayer time.

Prayer List Prayer

 

            Father, I lift up to You today, Your servants of the Kingdom. I lift up those who are doing battle – those who are fighting the good fight; those who are running the race, who are staying the course.

            I lift up those who are striving on to perfection, those who are children in the faith, and those who are unaware, or worse, uncaring.

 

            I lift them up by name:

(Look at your list. Read off the names, remembering and praying for each person’s need as you know it.) 

 

            I lift them up by occupation:

(As you’re looking at your list, pray for others of their occupation. For instance, if someone on your list is a nurse, lift up other nurses, members of the medical field, and those for whom they will be caring this day.  If someone is a teacher, lift up teachers of all kinds and their students, etc.)

 

            I lift them up by affliction:

(If someone is sick, lift up others with the same sickness. If someone is traveling, lift up others who are traveling for business or pleasure. If someone is an unbeliever, lift up other unbelievers.)

 

            Father, as I see faces with each name, I know that you see hearts, spirits and souls. Touch them I pray.  Speak to their hearts and meet their needs. Strengthen their spirits, and comfort their souls. May they hear Your call and come to know the Joy of the Lord.

            Father, I pray that in all we say and in all that we do, Your Name may be praised and glorified.

            In Jesus’ Name,

                                    Amen.

 

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