Photo courtesy Monique Tremblay
Lately I have felt the Lord's continual prompting to prayer. Not just a little "Thank You for this day" kind of prayer, but real, earnest prayer. Effectual. Fervent. (James 5:16) I know that I can take more opportunities to pray than I do.
Recently our ladies' Bible study group had an evening focusing on prayer. From a book by Terry Teykl, I adapted the following as I was convicted about not being prepared when I entered the House of God each Sunday.
Preparing Your Heart
~praying over church services~
"...early will I seek Thee..." Psalm 63:1
Driving to church... Humble your heart before God; confess any sin in your heart; pray for HIS arrival; ask God to protect all who are coming to church; ask God to draw unbelievers and newcomers.
Seeing the church sign... Pray for it to attract those who need to be there; request the Holy Spirit to work
Parking the car... Ask the Spirit to put a hunger in the heart of each person as they arrive.
Coming through the front door and lobby... Ask God to allow His angels to protect each entrance.
Entering the sanctuary... Praise Him for what He will do. Believe God for the "greater works" Jesus promised in John 14:12.
Passing by each pew... Pray for particular families to hear the message they need that day.
Kneeling at the altar... Pray for people to respond to the Holy Spirit at the altar call.
Pausing at the pulpit... Ask God to enable Pastor to preach with boldness and compassion; pray for Jesus to be seen.
On the platform... Lift up the musicians, asking God to work through the gift of music.
Walking down the aisle... Ask God to call more labourers into the harvest of the world.
Now this might seem like a tall order, but how could our church be affected if every church member were this serious about prayer before coming to church? What if every church member came to the church on Saturday or early Sunday morning to pray this way?
Then I was reminded how many times I grumble when I could pray. The Lord brought to mind these prayer prompts:
Life Happenings... My Response...
Face Book statuses request prayer or reveal a lack of a walk with God... Rather than write a rebuking comment, I can pray for the person.
I see a mentally challenged or physically challenged person... Rather than reacting with disgust—or even unwanted pity—I can pray for the person and their family members.
Someone gets mad in a store... Rather than getting mad in return or turning away in disgust and gossiping about them, I can pray for them to come to know Jesus or to learn to walk with Jesus.
A driver cuts me off... Rather than getting mad, yelling, or driving crazy to get back at them, I can pray for them to come to know Jesus or to learn to walk with Jesus.
A worker in a store is rude... Instead of being rude in return, I can be kind and I can pray for them to come to know Jesus or to learn to walk with Jesus.
I drive by a funeral home or get stuck behind a funeral procession... Rather than getting irritated, I can pray for the family, especially those who don’t know Jesus.
My spouse, child, (or any family member) is grouchy... Instead of being crabby in return, I can pray for God to be more real to them today.
I have a ton of ironing, laundry to fold, or another chore I don’t want to do... Instead of watching TV or being irritated and grumbling over the work, I can pray through a prayer list or using missionary cards or family photos, while I’m ironing, etc.
I see a billboard with a worldly advertisement... Instead of fuming over the wickedness of the world, I can pray for the people who made the billboard, the people who see the billboard, and even ask God to miraculously remove it.
I drive by a bar or another worldly establishment... Instead of merely musing, What is this world coming to?, I can pray for the people who run the bar, the people who are in the bar, and even ask God to miraculously close down the bar or other worldly establishment.
My boss is in a bad mood... Rather than letting it ruin my day, I can pray for him, his family, and other workers in the business, knowing that I don’t see the whole picture: there may be other issues going on in his life.
Someone says, "Please pray for..." Instead of thinking, "I’ll pray for them in my quiet time," I can pray a short one- or two-sentence prayer for them right then and there—aloud, with the person, or silently.
I don’t know what to do... Rather than panicking, allowing myself to become stressed, or snapping at others, I can stop everything and lay the matter honestly before the Lord, asking Him to show me clearly what to do.
Ask the Lord to prompt you to pray. It will change your outlook on everything in your life.
Mark 11:24 says, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive them, and ye shall have them." But even when God says, "Wait," there is a reason. Trust Him, but don't stop praying!
A True Prayer Story
Never underestimate the power of prayer! Is He calling YOU? Will you really pray today?