Creating a Prayer Strategy

Welcome to Positive Life Principles with Karol Ladd. I’m so glad you have joined me here for a healthy dose of encouragement and wisdom. During the month of January, I’ve asked my friend Candace Gray to be my guest blogger and share her insights on starting the new year in a positive and productive way. Enjoy and be strengthened!

– Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

  Matthew 7:7

Do you have a strategic approach to your prayers? Being strategic is about being consistent and intentional. Making progress on meaningful goals can be a fight, so you need a battle strategy for the year.  Here are some things to consider:  how & when will you pray? What and who will you pray for? What are your go-to Scriptures that encourage you and remind you of truth? Who are the people who will encourage you, pray with you and challenge you?  Finally, does your prayer strategy include bold requests?  

There are many benefits and specific promises tied to prayer. James 5:16 tells us that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  Here are some suggestions for being strategic in prayer:

  1. Ask, Seek, Knock continuously.  Matthew 7:7-10. This passage is an encouragement to be persistent and consistent in prayer and you will be rewarded with a response. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (7:7)” Furthermore, the passage explains the heart of God and His willingness to respond to  His children. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish, will give Him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him. (7:9-10)”
  • Be bold. In Matthew 14:29, Peter asked Jesus to allow him to walk on water. Jesus’s response to him was, “Come.”  He allowed Peter to walk on water just because Peter was bold enough to ask.  Not one to waste an opportunity, Jesus used the experience to show His power and increase Peter’s faith.
  • Ask with confidence. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “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.”  Don’t over-analyze your prayers and hold back in what you ask of God. If you pray for something that is not in alignment with God’s will, know that He is good and He will sort it out. He does not punish you for asking.  Instead, He teaches you so that you grow in understanding His will.  Therefore, present the desires of your heart to God and let Him guide you in His will. If I pray for something that’s not good for me and is not born out of the right motives, God, in His kindness, will help me to come to that realization. In His mercy, He will not give me something that He knows will be harmful to me.

In the spirit of confidence in God and pursuing a focused, purposeful and bold new year, pray and seek:

  • God’s vision for you for this year; 
  • Ability to do more than you think is possible this year;
  • Wisdom, creativity and practical ideas for accomplishing your goals this year. 

About Candace: Candace Gray is a seasoned leader with a track record of living a life of purpose and helping others to do the same. She is a Senior Director for Buckner Children and Family Services and a longtime member of Concord Church in Dallas. 

If you’d like to follow her full 21-day devotional series, go to www.candacegray.com 

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

Prayer Must Not be Our Chance Work

Prayer must not be our chance work, but our daily business, our habit and vocation. As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer.   Spurgeon

In his book entitled Prayer, Timothy Keller describes a conversation he had with his wife during a particularly challenging time in their lives. His wife Kathy urged him to pray with her every night and she used the following illustration to convince Him:

Imagine you were diagnosed with such a lethal condition that the doctor told you that you would die within hours unless you took a particular medicine – a pill every night before going to sleep. Imagine that you were told that you could never miss or you would die. Would you forget? Would you not get around to it for some nights? No – it would be so crucial that you wouldn’t forget, you would never miss. Well, if we don’t pray together to God, we’re not going to make it because of all we are facing. I’m certainly not. We have to pray, we can’t let it just slip our minds.*

Kathy recognized her desperate need to go to the Father for everything in her life. Last week I read through the book of Daniel and was inspired by his courage and faith, but more than that, I was moved by his commitment to prayer. Think about it, Daniel prayed even when the public policy was against him, and he could be thrown in the lion’s den.

If Daniel took life-risking measures to pray three times a day, then why am I not willing to get up a little earlier and spend time with the Father. Great work happens on our knees. God gives us insight on our knees. We grow more in love with Him, on our knees. We find comfort and peace on our knees. May we be determined not to make prayer a chance thing in our lives, but an essential part of each day.

Here’s one of Daniel’s prayers of praise after God:

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors:
    You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to me what we asked of you,
    you have made known to us the dream of the king.

Daniel 2:20-23

Why wouldn’t we want to pray to a God like that?

* Tim Keller: Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

Walking Together

Enoch walked faithfully with God. Genesis 5:23

            When we walk with someone, we enjoy fellowship with them as we travel together. We have a choice to walk with God in a close relationship, or we can choose to wander in our own direction doing as we please. Enoch chose to walk with God. Additionally, the Bible tells us that, “Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” Even in the Garden of Eden God we see a hint of God’s walking as we read, “The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”            

Paul wrote that just as we have received Christ Jesus as Lord, we are also to “walk in Him.”  We can walk with God as we pray to Him throughout our day. It’s one thing to know God as an acquaintance we simply see on Sundays. It’s another thing to walk with Him in close fellowship. God invites us to walk with Him. Will you accept the invitation?

This is an excerpt from my devotional Pursuing God in the Quiet Places

The Happiest Place on Earth

julio-rivera-498705-unsplash

I did it again! I rushed into my day, with a long list of things that need to get done, and I didn’t even think about seeking God’s guidance and direction, much less His blessings and help. Nope, I just jumped into my To Do list. Ironically, one of the top agenda items was to send out my prayer requests to my prayer warrior friends! Guilty again of asking other people to pray for something that I haven’t even prayed about personally!

But in all this rush, God kindly and tenderly drew me to His throne and reminded me that the happiest place on earth is spending time in His presence. What joy I experience when I fall on my knees, recognizing that the weight of the world is not on my shoulders, but on His.

What a comfort it is to come before Him and praise Him for

His majesty, sufficiency, truth and grace!

I need this divine fellowship every morning, as it offers a time of solace from my frenetic pace. On my knees, I listen for His guidance and ask for His direction. In this quiet meditation, He reminds me of His love and power. Oh the mighty work that is done as I ask for His help and pray against the schemes of the enemy!

I am reassured that I am not alone.

As I encounter people, or experience challenges or simply do the work in front of me, I can do it with enthusiasm. The word enthusiasm literally means inspired or God within (en theos). Could there be a better description of someone who has spent time with the Father and walks closely with Him throughout his or her day?

Let us be enthusiastic people! Let’s go forward with confidence, but let us begin on our knees, knowing that this is where we find our strength and hope.

Photo by Julio Rivera on Unsplash

What is Your Mission in Life?

martin-sattler-84515

Sometimes in the day to day minutia of life, we lose sight of the bigger picture of why we are here on this earth. Have you ever stopped to ponder the question, “How does God want me to use the unique gifts and talents He has given me?” I’m not talking about a job or career, or being a mom or a wife, but rather an overall mission in life that reflects who you are and why you were created.

Lately, I’ve been thinking and praying about my own personal mission statement. Here’s what I’ve put together so far:

My personal mission in life is to reflect the light of Biblical Truth as I encourage the hearts of others through writing, speaking and serving.

Now, I may adjust it or tweak it, but generally speaking, that’s what I’m all about. I encourage you to create your own personal mission statement. Think about the spiritual gifts you have, and prayerfully consider the passion God has placed in your heart to use those gifts to bless others.

As you create your mission statement, don’t be afraid to share it with others who can encourage you along your path. Your statement also helps you in making decisions, so that you are not saying “Yes” to every little activity that comes your way. Instead, your mission helps you stay focused and on track, keeping the bigger picture in mind.

Let me know your personal mission statement. I’d love to encourage you too!

 

Photo by Martin Sattler on Unsplash