The fervent prayer of a righteous man is POWERFUL. James 5:16
This week I want to share something that is on my heart; something that I believe many of us struggle with especially when discouragement and the pace of everyday life become overwhelming. The struggle I speak of is a neglected prayer life.
Prayer coupled with scripture is the most powerful tool that God has given us and we haven’t begun to scratch the surface of its awesome power. Scripture says in Jeremiah 29:12 & 13 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for and require Me as a vital necessity and find Me; when you search for Me with all your heart.
The problem is that more often than not, we don’t pray fervently nor do we seek God with all our hearts.
When I have pondered and asked the Lord why it’s so easy to neglect our prayer lives, four main reasons have stood out: The first reason comes from being so occupied and busy with life that it squeezes prayer from our schedule. Secondly, we live in turbulent times that are filled with uncertainty and fear which make God seem distant and uninvolved. That diminishes our belief that prayer is powerful…so we don’t bother. Thirdly, our culture has conditioned us to seek instant gratification and self-fulfillment of plans rather than searching for God and His purpose for our lives. God sees everything through the scope of eternity and answers prayer with our eternal good constantly in mind. The desire for instant gratification destroys our ability to wait on God and submit to Him. Lastly, discouragement and hopelessness from trials and disappointment sucks the life out of our faith and our prayer life suffers dramatically.
This past winter I was feeling numb after going through months of stress. I walked through a serious injury with one of my children and was closely involved with the illness and death of my father in law. I was emotionally and mentally exhausted and it was hard to pray no matter how much I tried. I would sit down, intent on praying fervently and couldn’t get through three sentences before I was daydreaming. Powerful, fervent prayer was a distant memory for me.
Discouragement from the pressures and disappointments of life had robbed me of my ability to pray and Satan was laughing at his victory. I knew in my head that prayer would help pull me through and change my heart but I was helpless to myself and words of prayer were frozen in my heart.
I told a friend about my problem and she emailed a prayer that I could print out and simply read.
I started out reading the prayer word for word, out loud to the Lord. Within a few days I started adjusting the prayer to fit my life and my family. Within two weeks I was praying fervently and changed most of the words to my own and even added sections with specific requests for each of my family members.
The simple act of reading that prayer broke the ice that held my heart captive; it refreshed me, and moved me back into a fervent prayer life with a heart that was seeking God again.
If you are having a hard time praying and you feel like your heart for prayer has dried up, write one down on paper or on the computer and print it out. Simply read it each day to God and allow your heart to be renewed. Talk to a fellow prayer warrior and ask them to pray for you…God might use that friend to help supply just the right tool for you like he did for me. With everything that is going on in the world, we must be ready to stand; we must be light in a darkened world. How will we do this if we aren’t sitting at the feet of our God?
It helps to follow the concepts of the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6: 9-13. Begin by praising and thanking God and asking for his will to be done; then make your requests and needs known to God; next ask for forgiveness and for help in forgiving those that have hurt you; ask God to keep you from temptation and sin; and end by praising and worshiping Him again. I always mix in binding strongholds and loosing the opposite and praying scripture as well. Most of all, remember to be totally honest with what you are going through and how you feel. God already knows it anyway and He deeply desires an honest, intimate relationship with you.
Pour out your heart to God; He cares for you, loves you, and will never give up on you. I know, because no matter how many times I let Him down, He never gives up on me. He has an amazing purpose for our lives but we will never know that purpose if we don’t stop and seek Him with all our hearts and make our requests and thoughts known to Him. Sometimes He changes our circumstances, sometimes he changes us; whichever it is, we will come through each circumstance changed for the better – forever, if we will just take the time to seek Him and pray with all our hearts.
By Rhonda Shelford Jansen