Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lori at Lori's Reflections is hosting Thankful Thursday this week. The theme she has chosen is prayer.

She had this to say. "This week the United States has a new President. No matter how we feel about him, the Lord calls us to pray for our leaders. So this week my theme is prayer. Martin Luther had some strong words about prayer, “Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.”"

I heartily agree and am praying for our new leader.

I am so thankful for prayer. Prayer is a privelege, not an obligation. There are many ways we can approach God in prayer. Whether we pray in private or publicly, whether we pray God's Word back to Him or pray the heartbeats of our soul, we may count it a precious opportunity to talk to and listen to God.

The word pray and many of it's derivatives is mentioned 508 times in the KJV Bible. It's an important word and an important act that we as believers should note.

Did you know that your prayers are powerful and effective?

"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.." ~ James 5:16b (KJV)

The Greek word for righteous is dikaios, which means:

1) righteous, observing divine laws
a) in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God
1) of those who seem to themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves in their virtues, whether real or imagined
2) innocent, faultless, guiltless
3) used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God, and who therefore needs no rectification in the heart or life
a) only Christ truly
4) approved of or acceptable of God
b) in a narrower sense, rendering to each his due and that in a judicial sense, passing just judgment on others, whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing with them

If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you are considered righteous in Him. Only in Christ may we be made righteous.

"It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." ~ 1 Corinthians 1:30 (NIV, Emphasis, mine)

What a privelege to be called righteous in Him! And it is because of our righteousness in Christ that are prayers should be and can be effectual and fervent.

The Greek word for effectual fervent is energeō, which means:

1) to be operative, be at work, put forth power
a) to work for one, aid one
2) to effect
3) to display one's activity, show one's self operative

We can be sure that our prayers display our commitment to God to seek His will and purpose for our lives. When we put forth the effort and show ourselves to be prayer warriors to God in this manner, our prayers are strong and are answered by God.

The Greek word for availeth is ischyō, which means:

1) to be strong
a) to be strong in body, to be robust, to be in sound health
2) to have power
a) to have power as shown by extraordinary deeds
1) to exert, wield power, to have strength to overcome
b) to be a force, avail
c) to be serviceable
d) to be able, can

What confidence we can have in prayer! We must trust God to answer our prayers according to His will and purpose for our lives.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." ~ Romans 8:28 (NIV)

How is your prayer life? Do you find prayer more of an obligation or a privelege? I have found that I cannot get through a single day without it. I begin each day in prayer, find myself praying throughout the day, and end it in prayer. I am simply unable to fall asleep (unless it is midnight and I'm rocking a grandson) without praying first. I have made it such a habit to pray before I sleep that I simply don't rest if I haven't prayed. I never get discouraged in my prayers to God. My complete faith is in Him to work His will for the situation I bring Him. I admit that I get concerned, but mostly it's when I take my eyes off Him and expect things to be done in my timing and my way. Then I must re-focus on Him and remember never to give up in prayer.

Prayer doesn't have to be complicated. It's meant to be liberating! As children of the Most High God, He longs for us to communicate with Him. How would you feel if one of your children went for days at a time without speaking, or only spoke to you when they needed something? God longs for us to call out to Him in prayer so He can act on our behalf according to His will and purpose.

"Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act." ~ Psalm 37:5 (NIV)

One thing I used to try to do was pattern my prayer life after examples of other people. I thought I had to pray a certain formula, like ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) or was it CATS (Confession, then Adoration, Thanksgiving and Supplication)? I thought I had to pray the Lord's Prayer in there somewhere and pray for at least 20 minutes at a time. While we can certainly pray this way, and I do sometimes, prayer should never get so legalistic that it loses it's thrill. We should remember to talk to God, although in reverence and awe, as though we are talking with a friend.

Whether we pray a quick one-sentence prayer for someone in passing (Lord, please be with Michael, I know he's struggling in his new job...thank You for letting that car not rear-end me!) or whether we set apart a quiet time to come before Him and pour our hearts out to Him, we can be thankful for this:

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him." ~ 1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)

Yes, what a privelege it is to pray! My heart is so thankful for prayer.

P - Present your all your requests to God with thanksgiving. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

R - Remember that His purpose will prevail and trust in His will. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." ~ Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

A - Allow for multiple prayer times throughout the day. "Pray without ceasing." ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)

Y - Yearn to spend more time with Him in prayer. "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." ~ Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

E - Exalt and praise God in prayer. "The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!" ~ Psalm 18:46 (NIV)

R - Remember to ask for His cleansing when needed. "Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." ~ Psalm 51:6-7 (NIV)

To participate in Thankful Thursday, click on the button below. Be sure to drop Lori a line thanking her for hosting for Iris for the rest of January! What a sweetheart she is to do this.


Denise said...

Thanks for sharing this sweetie, love you.

Nicole said...

You are such a teacher by gift. Beautiful!

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Where would we be without prayer? I am so thankful Jesus was willing to die so that we could go directly to God with our heart, rather than through an intercessor. Happy TT!

Susan said...

Wow, this was AWESOME Laurie,

I'm going save this post for sure!!

You are really good.

Happy TT♥

Tammie @ Are You For Real? said...

I loved this line from your post:

"Prayer doesn't have to be complicated. It's meant to be liberating!"

Prayer is the first thing I do in the morning ... after starting the coffee pot. I appreciate the Lord for waking me early every morning just so we can share some time together.

Jennifer said...

Beautifully written, Laurie Ann!

I can't imagine my life without prayer. I know that there have been times that the outcome would have been much different from what actually happened and I credit it all to Jesus Christ who hear my prayers.

He longs to hear from us as any parent longs to hear from their child. I know how much it hurts to go for days, weeks and months without being able to talk to my son. I can't imagine how much it grieves our Heavenly Father when we don't spend time in prayer with him.

Thank you for sharing this from your heart have blessed me, my dear friend.

Happy TT!

Lori said...

Oh well said!! I too follow the ACTS method also. This post is a gem and I pray all read it!!! Have a great day.

Melanie said...

Great post, Laurie Ann! Prayer IS a privilege.. thanks for reminding us of the importance of our prayer lives.

Happy Thankful Thursday!

Jen S. said...

What an amazing post! THanks so much for posting! And thanks for visiting my site!

Dawn said...

Reading your post today I just felt at peace! Thank you so much for being such a blessing! Hope you are having a wonderful day my friend!

He And Me + 3 said...

I find myself just whispering a prayer all throughout the day...I am so glad that He is always there to hear me I pray that I in turn am always there to listen when He speaks to me.
Prayer is a powerful thing!

Debbie said...

What a complete and thorough post on prayer! My day begins and ends in prayer and I pray along the way too. It is such a privilege. And yet I still find times when I stress and then I remember what I need to do. Great thoughts!

Rocks said...

Such a very good post about prayer :) Blessings to you!

Debra said...

Laurie Ann,

I wake up thanking the Lord for the day and go about the day talking with Him. This was a great post, my friend, powerful.

I am thankful for you. Hugs to you!

Edie said...

I wake up talking to God and go to sleep doing the same as well. And all day in between too. :) I'm so glad that we can go to Him with every thought and in all circumstances of our lives. I am praying for our leaders too.

I wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog and for your kind comments.

Rich blessings to you!

Jill - Blessed Mom of 8 said...

Laurie Ann - that was awesome!

Like you I can't go to sleep without praying first. Sometimes I even pray thanks for the sounds of my sweet snoring husband next to me that show me his alive! LOL!

Seriously I can't imagine not going to bed thanking Him for all the things He blessed me with that day!

Hugs and love,

bp said...

Hi Laurie Ann, I love this "pray the heartbeats of your soul"...such a perfect description of one way to pray.

I hope you're having a blessed day friend.

Tracy Berta-daughter to the King, wife, mother, speaker, writer said...

Awesome post, girl!

I follow ACTS as well...

LOVE the image of the door. I love that the Hebrew says ask and KEEP asking...knock and KEEP and KEEP on seeking.

Blessings, my friend!

beverlybygrace said...

Great post. God Bless!

Melinda said...

A great post! The most important thing I learned about prayer as I have grown in my Christian life is that it does not have to be formal or scheduled. My relationship with God became much more intimate and productive when I got into the habit of praying throughout the day, whenever my heart urged me to.

saleslady371 said...

You have laid the foundation for our confidence in prayer and now I can't wait to shut down this computer and go to my prayer closet. Such a privilege to meet with our Father.

milet said...

this is such a wonderful post. i also consider prayer a major part of my life. in everything i do i got all my answers by praying.

thanks for dropping by my TT!

Shannon said...

Woo hoo!!! I am so glad I am not the only one who sees someone and sends up a short prayer for them. Fr example, when someone comes flying up behind me and passes me on the road while going around a curve (I live out, I drive about 60, it happens a LOT) I send up a quick prayer that they arrive at their destination safely and no one is harmed by their driving. This is the exact opposite from the way I used to respond.

Or I will think of someone out of the blue and send up a one sentence prayer asking God to be with them.

I know there are people who believe that you have to prayer a certain way or have a long prayer with that, this, and that all included. I have never felt that way. When I was little my grandmother would stop in the middle of a row of peas and say "Thank you God for the breeze" (a much needed thing in the hot summer when you are in the middle of a pea patch!!!).

I enjoy your posts and your turn of phrase very much.

Grammy said...

Thanks for stopping by. You are truly blessed with words and wisdom. A wonderful post.

Peggy said...

AWESOME Laurie Ann! WOW what a job! And so timely the topic of PRAYER!

If you get a chance, go over to The Power of Love with Beth & see her new LIGHTHOUSE of PRAYER idea!

I LOVE each letter for PRAYER especially the EXALT!!!...I'm learning but I will never be able to come close to your acrostics!
This is a gift! I am privileged to know you & your wonderful heart & to pray as you say so well!

I thank the Almighty for you! And thank You Holy Spirit for the gifts in my sister Laurie Ann that she uses for You & Your glory! Bless her!Thanks for your sweet heart visit & encouragement!May many blessings fill YOU overflowingly as
you bless us so much! Thanks!!!

Deanna said...

thank you so much for visiting me! I'm still a little bit on the "newer" side of bloggville, so meeting new bloggy friends is always nice!

I like the acronym (sp?) of P.A.Y.E.R. !! how neat :O)

blessings, Deanna

Serendipity said...

Wow, this is a great post! I always learn more whenever I visit you. Thanks for sharing, Laurie! God bless!

God Chaser said...

As always thanks for such a wonderful post. Be blessed

BoufMom9 said...

I just LOVe your Thankful posts. i always get so much from them. You put so much thought and emotion into them. I thank you.
beautiful and very thought provoking post.

I too find that i spend time talking to god throughout the day like He is my friend. Such a comforting friend.