Several of my friends have been asking me lately about my prayer life. Somehow, just by my living my life, they see how important and precious prayer is to me and my faith.
In my relationship with Christ, prayer is THE most important thing in my life. Through every trial, because I’m in such deep prayer, I see the hand of God working. It’s like He pulls back the curtain and allows me to peer into His world and the things He’s doing in mine.
I have to tell you, it’s the coolest thing in the world.
That moment when you see His hand. You’re in great mouth-dropping awe and at the same time, you’re scared, knowing how truly powerful He is. You’re humbled, realizing that you have absolutely no control in your life. Because yes, there’s human will and yes, we can rebel, but if God wants you to do something, He’s only going to let you rebel for so long. While human will exists, He’s also in complete sovereign control the entire time and yes, this is even for unbelievers.
I’ve seen His hand lately in the life of unbelievers and those unsaved. I’ve seen Him use them to accomplish His will. And seeing all of this, makes me all the more fervent in my prayer life. It’s this tenacious hunger to see the Lord and His hand more and more. Seeing His power, His goodness, His love.
How to Instantly Transform Your Prayer Life
There is nothing greater, in my opinion, than seeing God work in a situation and I’m not talking about just seeing one thing happen, but being involved from day 1 in HIS will. Obeying Him every single day for the tasks that He shows you to do, the roads He shows you to take, the actions He leads you to do. In the past three months, I have never been closer to my Lord than in my whole life, and I can tell you that it’s not JUST prayer that does that. It’s not JUST studying the Word or reading my Bible. It’s also acting in obedience….every single day.
Every day for the past three months, He’s shown me to do something. Sometimes it’s small. Sometimes it’s rather big. Sometimes I doubt. Sometimes I argue. Sometimes I don’t obey with a right heart, but rather obey because I feel compelled to…not because I WANT to. But irregardless of my humanistic sin nature, as best as I possibly can, I’ve been obeying Him. And the more I listen to Him and deepen my prayers and then obey what He shows me to do, the closer to Him I become. The more He shows me, the more He pulls back that curtain and let’s me see His world….His plans!
This is how our walks with Christ should be always. Not just when we’re in a trial, but every day of our lives. Walking with our great and glorious God. Following Him wherever He leads.
It’s the most beautiful picture you can ever hope to see in this life. I have learned so much about God in these past three months. I’ve seen His power and have been afraid. I’ve seen His love and do not doubt His good will toward me. I’ve seen His sovereignty- that He WILL work everything out according to His will and the good of all Christians involved in certain situations. I’m truly humbled by His redemptive work in my life and in the life of others surrounding me.
But how do we get to the point in our relationship where we can have that…where we can see all of this?
The first step is prayer.
On 1/28/2013, I started a thankful/prayer journal. I had heard in a sermon by John MacArthur, a story about how he knew a man who would keep a notebook and go around at church asking everyone how he could pray for them. Each week, he’d follow up with them on their unique prayers and he’d write it all down as they spoke. So that every week, he’d cross out the prayers that were answered and add new ones in.
Over time, that simple act, not only changed the man’s life, but everyone in whom he was asking.
In deciding to start my own thankful/prayer journal, I started simply. I didn’t do it in front of man, it was more of a private thing, just between me and the Lord. I bought a journal and on the top half of the page, I wrote the things I can be thankful of. On the bottom half of the page, I wrote down my prayer requests.
What I noticed is that my prayer requests ALWAYS outnumber my thankful list. The things that are important to me are more selfish, than thanksgiving.
This was the first effective lesson I learned in keeping a journal. So, I decided that I would START with my thankful list first and write down 5 a day BEFORE I could even BEGIN my prayer list.
Some days, my heart was bitter and angry. I didn’t want to be thankful. Some days, the thanksgiving flew out of me quickly. But after being consistent, I started becoming a much more thankful person. And I realized that even in trials, there’s still always many things to be thankful for.
Some of the things I would write down were:
- Salvation – I can be glad I’m saved, that God chose ME out of the billions of people on Earth to have a relationship with.
- Having a Biblical church to go to – I’ve traveled a LOT and have lived in MANY places and I can tell you, that the amount of truly Biblical, solid theological churches today are few and far between. While there are churches on every corner it seems, many of them are preaching a gospel contrary to God’s Word.
- Physical needs provided – I have a beautiful home, food in my fridge, even a freezer full in the garage and a second pantry full of food. I have a rather large closet with way too many clothes in it (I’m obsessed with jackets and have over 20 of them!). Truly, I am blessed.
- Good friends – I have a few very close friends that truly love me and I can count on to not run away when the tough gets going.
Many times, the thankful things were more personal. An entry I wrote on 2/12/13 says that nothing bad has happened in 8 days. When you’re in the midst of a trial, you get to know the bad days REAL good! So, when a day goes by where there are no attacks from Satan, it’s a good day. I was thankful that I didn’t have any attacks in 8 days!
Or when my old car’s ignition went out an an incredibly awesome man in the church, fixed it for me. Those are the kinds of things you remember as a single mom. Those are the kinds of people you pray for often. One day, if God should ever allow me the beauty of being married again, I pray that my husband will be one of those men that go around helping and fixing things for single moms and the elderly. Because there are true needs there and it’s such a blessing to both parties in the situation!
As time went on, I kept doing just as that man had done, crossing off prayers that were answered. By keeping record, I discovered something TRULY amazing.
God answers every SINGLE ONE of our prayers! Did you know that?!?!?!
Every prayer I’ve prayed has been answered in some way over the years. Some have taken longer to answer. Some answers were no. Some where yes. Some were instant. Some were wait. But every single prayer I’ve written down has been answered with the exception of one…
For the past 6 years or so, I’ve been praying to move back to Oregon. I thoroughly miss it there. I would move back in a heartbeat if given the opportunity, but thus far, God has said no. And while it hurts,and my heart is IN Oregon, I know I’m right where He wants me to be…but I still pray, one day I can move back! 🙂 You just never know…
Listen guys, God listens to us. He cares about us. The things that are important to US, the things that seem so insignificant and even silly, are important to him! Why? Because He genuinely loves us.
I think that it’s also very important to note at this point, that we should be very CAREFUL about our prayers! Knowing that He does answer them and sometimes He will give us exactly what we ask, it doesn’t always turn out to be the best and we regret it. That has happened a couple times with me and so now, I’m very careful in my prayers and I’m very specific.
For example, when I ask God for a future husband, I get REAL specific. Down to personal preferences like I don’t want him to be a hairy guy. I don’t like beards, mustaches, hairy backs, etc. And I’m really not a fan of muscles (I know, weird right). It may seem extremely silly, right, but when you get your prayer answered in something and you wish you could have gone back and changed up the prayer a little bit, beginners will learn REAL QUICK to start praying more detailed and specifically! Trust me on that! BE SPECIFIC! Not in the way that God is some magic genie granting wishes, don’t get me wrong, but that the things that are important to you, you should pray about them.
Your prayer life is your lifeline with God. We are at a point in history where we have access to the Holy Spirit inside of us who intercedes on our behalf, praying for the things we don’t know to pray for, but ought to. And while this is a huge blessing, we mustn’t take it for granted either.
I think one of the biggest things that changed my prayer life and really opened my eyes was during another sermon.
Let’s imagine you have a best friend and they happen to be staying with you for one week at your home. During that week, you rarely talk to them at all. You just do your own thing and ignore them much of the time. How long do you think you’d be friends with them?
Not long, right?!
It’s the same with God. He IS living with us, in our hearts. If we never talk to Him, listen to Him, or cultivate that relationship, it’s doomed. Then when we want something from him, we go to Him and pray, “Lord, help me out of this situation,” and it’s almost like He says, “Huh, you talking to me?”
We can’t do that. He is our BEST FRIEND. Treat Him like a best friend. You can’t get enough time with your best friend. You’re there with them through thick and thin. You listen. You care. You talk to them about deep things. You share. You trust. You get to know them and let them get to know you. There’s no guard there with a best friend. You feel safe enough to tell them anything and them not to run away for the hills. Talk to God in the same way. All day, every day, about everything.
Do this for a few months and tell me if your relationship with God is not exploding with passion.
Because remember, you spend your time and money on what’s important to you. Do you spend your time with God? Is He REALLY all that important to you? I encourage you today to treat God like your best friend…because if you’re truly saved…He is!