How do you go about your personal prayer life? Do you have a regular time of day, when you stop and spend time with the Father in prayer? How long do you spend in prayer? What method do you use as a reminder of those that have requested prayer? How do you remember those that are in need of prayer, that may not have talked about it publicly — but you know of their needs? Do you have a number of churches, or preachers, or individuals; that you pray for on a regular basis? After you are through praying, do you have an epiphany — and remember someone (or something) that you forgot to mention? Do you take the time to list all the things that the Father has given to us, or blessed us with, during your prayers? How often do you spend time just praising God for Who He is?
I have always struggled with having the kind of prayer life that I wanted? I willingly confess, that there have been times that my prayer life has been better, and it has been worse. Probably, I’m not the only one that can make that confession! Over the years I have struggled, looking for the best method of practicing my prayer life. I have trusted things to my memory (and that option gets worse all the time), and always struggled to always remember everything. I have used a list, or lists, and prayed for everything that was on the list, which worked out pretty well (if you can remember to keep your list(s) updated. What has always worked the best for me, is a combination of a list, and a worksheet — where I write out my prayers, and the people, things, and situations that I am to remember in prayer.
At this particular time in my life, I am struggling with finding the time to pray like I want to pray. Most everyone knows, that I had “gastric bypass” surgery a little over two months ago. Well, I am very much a person of routine, and the my mornings were pretty scheduled — and worked really well for me. Now, I spend 45 minutes to an hour, walking early every morning, and am tired when I get back — and so my mornings are not going like I want. This morning, as I was reading through Philippians, I was challenged, and encouraged, to redouble my efforts to find a schedule that works for me. Observe what the text says:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:3-11, ESV)
It is always encouraging for me to read the prayers of Paul! I don’t know what method that he used in his practice of prayer, but he prayed for everyone and everything! I want my prayer life to be modeled after Paul’s. If you notice in this prayer, his prayer is full of joy because of his friendship and partnership with the saints in Philippi, and for that he is extremely grateful (who in your life, in your spiritual family, causes your prayers to be filled with joy, when you think of them). But not only is he grateful for that joy: he prays that their love may abound, that they will approve what is excellent, and be pure and blameless. I want to be that kind of prayer warrior, for those that I know and love.
Just reading Paul’s prayer, and thinking about how he prayed, motivates me to do a better job! How about you? Peace.