Psalm 63:5 My soul will feast and be satisfied, and I will sing glad songs of praise to you. (GNB)
Many people have ask if I have certain guidelines I use for prayer and study. Today l will share with you a practical method I use that will help you enrich your prayer time with God. We’ll look at Bible study tomorrow. Having plan is important, but first, let’s make sure we have the right focus.
There’s a common tease that kids engage in when they are told by their parents to “quit touching your sister”. This usually occurs while in the car on a trip somewhere and the children pester each other until they get angry. After being told to quit, one child will put their finger as close as possible to the other sibling and declare “I’m not touching you; I’m not touching you”; which of course is TECHNICALLY correct, but violates the spirit of the parents command.
We treat sin and righteousness that way. We want to indulge in worldliness as much as possible while still being able to say that TECHNICALLY, we haven’t sinned. And we want to do the minimum amount of righteousness possible to earn us the right to declare that we are Godly. We see this demonstrated in many ways:
- The dating couple, or the engaged couple nearing their wedding day:
- “How much can we ‘do’ and not sin? Kiss? Hold hands? Can we do more if we’re engaged? Can we do more physically the closer we get to the wedding day? How much and it still not be considered sin?”
- When considering giving to God:
- “Do I have to tithe on the gross or net amount? Do I have give some to God when its a gift to me, or just income?”
- “Do I HAVE to give, or it is only if I feel like it? Are New Testament believers REQUIRED to give?”
- Or today’s topic… devotion, prayer and study:
- How much time do I have do? Can I split it up?
- Can I do my devotions while I’m driving? Does it have to be in private, or in quiet?
- Will God understand how busy I am?
- Can I just wrap my family devotion together with my private ones?
My friends, these are the wrong questions. We need to change our focus when it comes to God. Its not, “how much can I get away with, and still not sin?”. Nor is the right question, “what is the least amount I have to do and still be able to claim ‘godliness’?”. The right question is:
What can I do to bring the most glory to God, and become the most like Christ?
So when you are contemplating purity, giving, service, careers or money; you can know trust God will show you His will when you ask the right question such as: “What can I do to bring the most glory to God and become the most like Christ?” As we continue considering our private prayer and fellowship with God, get your focus on the right question:
How can my devotion to God through prayer and Bible study
bring the most glory to God and make me the most like Christ?
Prayer is one of the most commonly neglected disciplines for Christians. You rarely meet a Christian who expresses satisfaction in a healthy, enriched and consistent prayer life. I believe the reason for this most of the time is a careless, unstructured approach to prayer. Do you ever plan for your prayer time?: how to pray, what to pray, preparing your heart for prayer, approaching prayer with the understanding of who it is you are praying to. We can not casually enter in to God’s presence, shoot from the hip for a few minutes about our needs and expect a vibrant and effective prayer experience. This type of praying will leave us discouraged at what feels like a useless waste of time.
I want to give you a structured approach to your prayer time in twelve segments. I have adapted this from a very wonderful book, “The Hour That Changes the World” by Dick Eastman. I highly recommend it. It’s not a magic formula. It’s something to help you get started.
If you pray for one minute about the following twelve topics, you will have enjoyed 12 minutes of prayer time that will pass quickly when 12 minutes may have seemed like an eternity before. If you pray about each topic for 2 minutes, you are now someone who can pray for almost 30 minutes at a time! If you have never been consistent, or able to pray for more than a few minutes, this should thrill you!
Matthew 26:40-41 Then He (Jesus) came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (NKJV; emphasis mine)
Jesus rebuked them because they couldn’t pray for an hour. Truth be known, most of us are thinking “You’ve got to be joking, there’s no way I could pray for one hour straight!”. YES, you can. Praying over these twelve topics for 5 minutes each will lead you to an enriching hour of prayer that will go by so fast you will wish you had more time! I know an hour is hard to get a hold of mentally. That’s okay.
Start with one minute segments, totaling 12 minutes of prayer. Commit yourself to this for a couple of weeks. You will be amazed how soon you will want more and more time for prayer. God is faithful to bless your commitment. You can do it. But not if you don’t make the CHOICE.. Print out this list. Get a watch. Use this prayer guide and a timer while you pray. (All verses NKJV)
- Praise God – Recognize who you are speaking to; ponder the awesomeness of the King of the Universe; worship & humble yourself before Him.
- Mark 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
- Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God;
- Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God;
- 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.
- Mk 14.37 – “watch and pray”
- James 5:16 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.
- James 4:2-3 …Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
- Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
- Ephesians 5:19 …singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
- Psalm 119:15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
- Job 34:16 “If you have understanding, hear this; Listen to the sound of my words;
There you go. I would love to hear some comments from people after they have tried this approach in prayer for a few days. Maybe you have some guidelines for prayer that have proven effective. Share them with us!
Let me close with this: there is no set amount of time you have to pray. There is no certain prayer you have to pray. There is nothing magical, mystical or guaranteed about this approach. It is merely a proven helpful guide for organizing, structuring and enriching your prayer life. Its up to you to love God enough to fellowship with Him in truth and spirit. There are NO shortcuts.
God in Heaven, we ask that You bless our commitment to spend time with You. Help us to make prayer the most expected part of our day. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Do you find yourself trying to figure out the least amount of time you can spend with God and not feel guilty? Have you ever considered making it a habit to ask “what can I do to bring the most glory to God and be most like Christ” whenever you are faced with decisions?
Application: If one minute per segment is what you can manage now, do it. Do it consistently. Soon you will not be satisfied and your time will increase. God’s presence will become more and more real as you devote yourself to Him.
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