Truegrit Prayer Posts

Prayer Posts -What I Understand About Prayer

I seem to have written much about this topic over the years. If you wish to grow your prayer life …I pray… that these essays will help you.

-The doctrine and the doing-

Like I said, I seem to have written quite a bit on prayer, here are some related things:
Opinionating that may or may not relate to prayer life:
Showmanship Religion
3 Kinds of Faith

My Life Landmarks Now

Today is a day of prayer for me. I have reentered the reformation of my life by setting up a specific day of prayer for myself and other women on the second Tuesday of the Month. This has been a long time coming.

I tried about five years ago to establish this sort of community prayer time with friends. I felt the need for it and attempted to be as creative and diligent as possible in sending out postcards, a short reminder letter, and attending to making tea each month at the designated time. It fell flat at that time, so I neatly folded it up and put it aside while my father and mother’s needs expanded to fill all my time. The dream and vision faded into the nether, as did intercessory time and spiritual confidence.

Late last year, I awakened to a renewed call, one that I answered somewhat groggily considering the urgency that my life realities seemed to create. But I started anew to establish a community prayer time for women who also wanted to pray for their families and each other. This time I have found like minds and hearts, and I can’t tell you how good that feels. I have found a home in this activity that is unlike others. It feels safe and loving to be with women who just want to pray for what is important to them. It is decidedly and deliberately restricted to a small vision. There are no imaginations of large ministry or taking it “to the people”. There is this small place for like minds, for a set of goals that meet the needs of this time.

Tuesdays have become my family day of prayer, and they have sometimes been my day to wade back into the practice of fasting. Tuesdays are landmarks in my sometimes vague sense of time and of purpose.

This time I send out emails to a few people, I have occasionally used facebook events, and my church, a tiny church plant, has put it in the announcements. We have experienced the gossamer touch of God’s loving hand at times and I have been buoyed by the answers that we receive. I’m thankful for those who join me in hand and heart to become something I would call being “more consistently virtuous” . The mystery is why God insists on working through community of Believers. I can’t explain why, but I can observe how.

I am not set on specific days, but I know we benefit from landmarks in time. Times of prayer, times of fasting, times to feast and gather together for holidays, …. all sorts of communal ways to recognize significance and meaning.

In some ways it produces a dim understanding of why God set such high significance on the Sabbath, that meeting time with Him, that special set landmark in time when we meet together away from the blank landscape of earthly struggles. A day of resting in relationship and drinking deeply of care and love for each other. I think I am seeing the light. Just a bit.

Difficulty Trying To Pray?

In the last post the lack of willingness to pray was addressed. In this, an acknowledgment of the obstructions to prayer.

The act of prayer is the exercise of the spiritual life, or the “man of the spirit”. Once we are children of God it would seem that praying would come easy, but what is it that stands in our way? As in all spiritual growth, the three enemies are the same: The flesh, that is ourselves in selfish desire to indulge our own will and do things through our own power; The world , the many distractions around us and the wisdom that says physical work is more important than the solitary and quiet time spent in prayer; The devil, the spiritual being who opposes God and all things that destroy his own nefarious plans.

The Arguments of the Flesh

When we give in to our determination that our schedule, or our leisure time is first priority we are going to find the time left for prayer to be squeezed into the small allotments of time hurriedly rushed through. Instead of placing our relationship with God foremost… it is relegated, despite our best intentions, and promises into the back rooms and leftover parts of our day. We feel farther away, and awkward in our time of prayer. It nags at us, but we aren’t sure of it’s real importance after awhile ( although we won’t say so in so many words).

The Wisdom of the World

The world displaces prayer when we become convinced that other things are of higher priority. These might be “Good” they may seem “spiritual”, but they are of the world, and not the wisdom of Christ, in the end. Running around to many meetings, taking care of an endless stream of obligations, making sure our social needs and demands are all met… al of them except an appointment to meet with the Lord. Taking ten points, or following four methods, or meeting our top three priorities, somehow we have a plan for everything except how to actually sit down to pray. Running in circles, worrying about keeping up our image, and maintaining our important and hard won promotions… all these are what the world applauds, not time on your knees that no one knows about or can quantify in their assessment of your productiveness and success.

The Devil in the Details

There are times you must recognize that the blockades and discouragements have a demonic spiritual source. this can take more guises then can be told, but the one way to uncover it is to persevere in the face of self-condemnation and be firm to not allow hindrances to overwhelm your prayer time. Banding together with others who pray builds the strong cord that resists the stumbling blocks of evil.

How To Overcome

  • As Jesus did, use the Word. Arm yourself with pertinent verse from the Bible which encourage you, and keep your eyes on the right track
  • Don’t worry about the small distractions of your mind at first, they are just the normal chaos of the mind settling into place. Consider following the Our Father prayer as a guide to keep your prayer coming back into focus
  • Don’t feel guilty, feel glad that God loves you and that you can bring your petitions to Him
  • Remember that God so loved you He gave His Son for you… He loves you, He loves your prayers
  • Remember that persevering prayer is overcoming prayer, and you will receive answers because God promises to answer. Don’t worry how it works or the way that God makes decisions, trust Him and ask
  • Pray in different ways: singing to the Lord, petitioning, praising, seeking forgiveness and forgiving, use quiet time and use music… allow your relationship with God to grow
  • Use specific times and methods to give your prayer life consistency

More on prayer:
Getting To Know God
Intercessory Prayer

Prayer: Intercession

reposted from Sept.2005

in touch with God
I began with Prayer: Getting To Know God because that is the prayer that begins the pattern of the Our Father prayer. We come to know Who God is, The Creator, the Father of All, now Our Father in a special redemptive way through Christ… we enter into a relationship of finding out His will and identifying our petitions in that framework.

We find that most of our beginning with God is as a petitioner. We recognize our needs and bring these things to Him in prayer. It is not until we have moved past our own needs that we begin to enter intercession for others. And this is the next type of prayer I wanted to examine.

Examples of Intercessors

An intercessor acts as an intermediary between two conflicting parties. The apex of mediation and intercession is always The Lord Jesus Christ, but before his ministry there have been others recorded: Moses, Jeremiah, it seems as though all the great prophets had episodes of intercession for wayward and needy people. People caught in circumstances or in trouble of their own making, it didn’t seem to matter what the cause… the intercession was made to reconcile them to God’s good grace and mercy. And it continues on….

James 5:15-17 (New King James Version)

15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.

The point made in this passage is that you do not need to be anyone ‘special’, but if you are a sincere person of prayer, who has that covenant relationship that imputes righteousness…. you hold sway with God.
Continue reading Prayer: Intercession