Friday, August 25, 2006
Consider Your Ways: Question 9

What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

Actually pray! I could begin and end my post there! How many of us struggle with our prayer lives and how much comes down to how much time we spend in prayer? I know that I don't pray enough and, when I do, so often I am not praying honestly and with an open heart. I have to remind myself that it is the Devil who tries to convince me that my prayers don't matter, that my prayers are not needed, and that I am not good enough to pray.

How wonderful that it is on Christ's merits that our prayers are accepted and not our own! How wonderful that, even as we struggle with prayer, the Spirit is working in us, helping us to present our prayers to God in heaven, where Christ is sitting at his right hand intercessing for us! How wonderful that we can bring our prayers of joy, frustration, sadness, anger, hopefulness to a God who knows us so intimately and who knows us so dearly.

After hearing Derek Prime, an Edinburgh pastor, speak on the subject of prayer a few years ago, I bought his little book, Practical Prayer. I loved reading it at the time with its encouragement and very practical guidance in how to improve your prayer life, so I think it is time to get it down from the bookshelf to read again. I am yet to meet a Christian who does not struggle at times with prayer so I would really recommend this book.

One of his big ideas, which he found very helpful in his own life, was to make daily, weekly and monthly lists of the people and situations needing prayer. It allowed him to ensure that he was remaining faithful in prayer and to be purposeful in his prayer life. Over the next few months, I am going to try to slowly and carefully (trying to avoid my tendency to rush into things!) start creating a prayer list to help me both to be more focused in who and what I pray for and to be freed from panicking over who and what I have forgotten to pray for.

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thess 5: 16-18

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