Sunday, January 15, 2006

Ministry of Prayer

Updated 2/17/06
Spiritual Needs

-Salvation specifically:
-Leah, Emma, Alyssa, Brittany W., and Lisa Miller
-Taylor & Miah's Dad

-Chastin, to get right with God.

-Casey requests special prayer for herself.

-Bryan's parents; that they'll come back to church & get right w/ God.

-Taylor; for courage, wisdom, & the Spirit's guiding as she shares Christ w/ those she's concerned for.

-Pastor Travis; as Pastor-Teacher of the youth ministry... Please pray for me on a daily basis. Pray that God will protect me and my family spiritually, and pray that God will continue to give me wisdom and guidance as I lead our youth ministry.

-Kurt's cousin - going to Mexico to be a missionary.

Physical Needs

-Mara's uncle is dying of Lou Gehrig's disease (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)

-Kylie's Mom will get better.

-Taylor Kessler's Grandma, recovering from heart surgery

-Karisa's baby cousin

Friday, December 09, 2005

Model for Prayer

As I mentioned in the last article, one of the excuses many people make for not praying is, "I just don't know how to pray." Even though prayer is simply talking to God about all the things on our heart, that I'm sure we do quite easily with others, I understand the frustration of not really knowing a good way of praying. All long time ago when I was still a very young Christian, someone taught me a neat model for praying that I have never forgotten. In fact, many of my own prayers today will still follow this same basic model. And if you can remember the word, "ACTS"... you can remember this model. Allow me to share it with you now.

A - Adoration
The first thing that is totally appropriate in prayer is adoration, which is another word for love. Take some to some to just "adore" God for who He is. To adore is to regard with loving admiration and devotion. Before praying, take some time to read in the book of Psalms, and observe how David adored and praised God for just who He is. Repeat back to Him some of His wonderful attributes... like the fact that He is holy, good, righteous, loving, faithful, merciful, and gracious. Remember this is a time to just simply tell God how much you love Him.

C - Confession
The next thing that is also appropriate and sometimes necessary for prayer is confession. What is confession? Confession is simply agreeing with God regarding what He's already said. Now there are a couple of different aspects to this. One is we can confess our dependence upon Him. We can confess in light of how great He is, just how small we are, and how much we desperately need His grace and mercy for each passing day. This is something I do on daily basis. Every morning at some point, I confess to Him just how weak and frail I am without Him, and how much I need His grace and the filling of my heart with His Spirit.

Another aspect of confession is the confessing & repenting of sin. If we have unconfessed and unrepented sin in our lives, then we're out of fellowship with God, and therefore it greatly hinders our prayer life. So, sometimes we have to confess things that we've done if we are going to approach His throne not only for our needs, but for the needs of others. Remember, confession is just agreeing with God. God already knows your sin, but He desires that we agree with Him that whatever it is, that it is indeed sinful that we are totally responsible. Don't ever make excuses or try to blame others; this isn't confession... this is dodging responsibility (what Adam & Eve tried to do in the garden). Just agree with Him that it is sinful, and then pray for the grace and help to never do it again. (This is repentance.)

T - Thanksgiving
After we have cleared up all the junk in our life that has probably accumulated since the last time we prayed, then we can logically move into a time of thanksgiving. Take some time to thank God for all that He has done for you. This logically follows confession b/c one of the first things we should thank God for is His grace and forgiveness, and the fact that He even cares to listen to us. So spend sometime thanking Him... Thank Him for your family, friends, church, youth group, etc. Thank Him for all that He has provided for you... your house, your clothes, your food, etc. Thank Him for His protection and guidance. Thanksgiving is good for the soul. Most of the time, its a great cure for depression. It's hard to be sad and depressed when you begin to count your blessings.

S - Supplication
And last but not least, when we have taken the appropriate time to praise God, express our love, thank Him for all He has done, and confess all the junk in our life... then we can move into a time of making requests. This is what supplications are. The verb "to supplicate" means to ask humbly and earnestly for something... and this should be the way we approach the living God every time. And remember, this doesn't put God out or take too much of His time, He loves for us, as His children, to bring all our burdens before Him. As the Bible says, "Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you." He wants you to bring your requests before Him. Begin by making requests for others; this is called "intercession." This is us going to God on behalf of others. When we pray for others to get well, or to get saved... we're interceeding. Think of all the people in your life that desperately need your prayers: your family, your friends, your church, your pastors, your teachers, your country's leaders, etc. Many of us need your prayers. Having trouble at school with a certain teacher? Have you prayed for them? Mom and Dad always on your case about something? Have you prayed for them? And then after you adequately prayed for everyone else, then go to God lastly with your personal needs. Oh yes, God wants to hear them too. He never tires of hearing His children express their dependence upon Him for everything.

Now you can see how prayer can easily go from 2 minutes to 20 minutes. But don't let time be the deciding factor, and don't bother with big words or trying to be all eloquent... just talk to God like you talk to anyone else, only with fear and reverence, always remembering just Who it is you're speaking to. And if you ever want any more help with praying, just read the Bible; read some of the prayers of God's men. Personally, I found this to be extremely helpful in learning how to pray many years ago.

Now that we have motivation to pray... and even a model for prayer... let's actually begin the ministry of prayer. The next post will begin the actual requests for prayer from the youth ministry. Make the commitment to check this site atleast once a week to pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ and the burdens in their life. We all want others praying for us, so it is only fitting that we, in turn, pray for others. May God richly bless you with a double portion of His Spirit as you begin this critical and vital area of ministry in the body of Christ!!

Motivation to Pray

When it comes to prayer, every Christian (that I know at least) agrees that its a good thing and that it is definitely needed, but sometimes I wonder just how many of us actually do it. Too often I hear the excuse... "I don't know how to pray," or "I don't know what to pray for." That's one reason for creating this new "Prayer Page," which is to teach us to pray. Allow me first of all, to give you some motivation for prayer. Here are 4 quick reasons we should be motivated to pray.

1. We should pray b/c Jesus expects us to do it.
First, we must understand that prayer is not an option for the Christian. Jesus said in Matt.6:5, "When you pray...," Not... "If you pray" but "When you pray." In other words, Jesus expects His disciples to pray.

2. We should pray b/c we've been commanded to do it.
Not only does Jesus expect it, but He's commanded us to pray. In Phil 4:6 the Bible says, "Be anxious for nothing (i.e. don't worry), but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." So, He's saying "Hey insteading of worrying and fretting about everything, tell God what you need and desire! So not only does God expect us to pray, He even commands us to pray.

3. We should pray b/c God delights in us doing it.
It should also encourage us in prayer to know that God delights in our prayers. In Proverbs 15:8 the Bible says, "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight." God does not listen to the prayers of people that are not His children (i.e. born again Christians), b/c we only have access to God through His Son, Jesus. The only prayer that God listens to from the lost is the prayer of repentance from sin and faith in Christ. But for us who are born again Christians, God greatly delights in our constant and continual dependence upon Him. It thrills His heart His heart when His children constantly seek His face for His guidance, protection, and provision.

4. We should pray b/c prayer is powerful and effective for bringing about the will of God on earth.
James 5:16 states, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James believed in prayer. In fact, tradition tells us that he spent so much time in prayer that his knees became hard and calloused, earned the nick name "camel knees." I can't really explain how or even why, but in His sovereignty and grace, God has chosen to work through the prayers of His people... and works He does, with great effect. The only conditions concerning this would be that our prayers must come from a clean, dedicated heart, and we need to try our best to pray according to His will. The Bible says in 1 John 5:14, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."

So, prayer is not an option for the born again believer in Christ... God expects it, commands it, delights in it, and greatly blesses it with the fruit of results. So, what are you waiting for? Make an appointment to meet with God daily to pray! Pray for yourself, your church, your family, all your friends, and everyone working to build the Kingdom of God around the world! Not only will you be doing awesome ministry, but you'll be growing closer to Christ everyday!!