One of the things that astounded the disciples of Jesus was his prayer life. They saw first-hand the miracles and the power that he walked in, and rightly attributed it to his ongoing life of prayer. They had watched him withdraw from them, from the crowds, to seek out silence and solitude. They knew that he was giving to those around him out of the abundance gathered during his times of intimacy with the Father.
“After this miracle the news about Jesus spread even farther. Massive crowds continually gathered to hear him speak and to be healed from their illnesses. But Jesus often slipped away from them and went into the wilderness to pray.” Luke 5:15-16 TPT
Teach Me to Pray
25 years ago after fully deciding to follow Jesus I became consumed with a desire to know how to pray. I remember asking the more mature believers around me about prayer, and would often tune in to our local Christian radio station and pray during their daily prayer time, even getting down on my knees and folding my hands together. I assumed this was the best posture for prayer. I was hungry for God, and wanted to speak to him. I wanted to touch the heart of heaven. I felt this urgency in my spirit that I had to know my Father, understand his voice, and tune into his wisdom. I had two toddlers at the time, a husband that had walked away from God, and I needed direction. But more than anything, I simply wanted to know God.
“One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of his disciples came over to him as he finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just like John did for his disciples?” Luke 11:1 TPT
Jesus’ followers were also hungry to know God so they asked him to teach them how to pray. Just like a mother with a baby sounds out the words to “mama” or “dada,” Jesus lovingly gave them the first words that would begin a lifetime of prayer for each of them.
“Pray like this:
“Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms, may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn. Manifest your kingdom realm, and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, just as it is fulfilled in heaven. We acknowledge you as our Provider of all we need each day. Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. Rescue us every time we face tribulation and set us free from evil.
For you are the King who rules with power and glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13 TPT
Jesus gave them the key to the kingdom that day, and that key has been passed on from generation to generation. It still works today. In fact, it sustained each one of his original disciples throughout their ministries until they were martyred in his name. They experienced unimaginable hardship and persecution, but because they had instant access to the Father through the gift of prayer they had access to wisdom, understanding and the comfort of Holy Spirit.
“I Don’t Feel Like Praying…”
When the circumstances of life bring feelings of confusion, fear, frustration, and sorrow, it’s often hard to tune in to God’s voice. It can be hard to pray. It’s a curious thing, but the times we desperately need to pray are often the times we least feel like doing it.
When you come to a place in your life where there are no words of your own or you’re spinning your wheels, it’s time to turn to the written word of God. God promised that his word would not return void, but would accomplish precisely what he released it to do.
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT
Practically speaking, what does this look like?
Praying the Word
I have a dear friend whose only daughter joined the Peace Corps and was immediately sent overseas to minister to people in the Philippines. Her mother was understandably nervous, and as a woman who is familiar with standing on the word and promises of God she turned to Psalm 91. She wrote it out, meditated on it, and prayed it back to God. It sounded a little something like this:
“Anna sits enthroned under the shadow of her heavenly Father and is hidden in the strength of God Most High. Father, you are the hope that holds her and the Stronghold to shelter her, the only God for Anna, and her great confidence. You will rescue Anna from every hidden trap of the enemy and protect her from false accusation and any deadly curse. Your massive arms are wrapped around Anna, protecting her. She can run under your covering of majesty and hide. Your arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping Anna from harm. She will never worry about an attack of demonic forces at night, nor have to fear a spirit of darkness coming against her. She won’t fear a thing! Whether by night or by day, demonic danger will not trouble Anna, nor will the powers of evil launched against her…” Psalm 91:1-6 TPT
There have been many times I’ve turned to the Psalms in distress or in need of wisdom and read until the word seemed to jump off the page at me. Then I set up camp there and pray the word back to God. Our Father is looking for someone to agree with what he has already said to create a connection that spans from heaven to earth. The flip side is also true. Our enemy is also looking for agreement, because our agreement gives him the power to wreak havoc in our lives. Complaining, bitterness, offense and unforgiveness are demonic seeds that bear the fruit of evil in our lives and in turn defile many. But when we turn to the word of God, and align ourselves with his heart, all the resources of heaven are at our disposal.
Check Your Prayer Posture
It’s important to note that the Psalm 91 prayer above is prayed from a position of victory, not defeat. There was no begging involved. We pray from the position of being God’s children, wholly and dearly loved. We are even now kings and priests unto our God (Revelation 1:6). Stand up, stand tall and let him fill your mouth with his powerful, life-changing word. Your future, your family, your ministry, career and community depend upon it!
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Lori Anderson-Bowen is the co-director for the Christian Chamber of Commerce in Charleston and a publisher with Best Version Media. Her passion is to see the Church of Christ grow and connect with the heart of God through prayer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 843-513-5392.