How to IMPROVE your prayer life
E. Stanley Jones used to say, "I am better or worse as I pray more or less." We will probably all agree with that. But is our prayer life really what it should be? Here are some suggestions to kick-start our prayer lives. Develop a PRAYER LIST. A prayer list will help us to pray more specifically. We should include on our list all of the elements of prayer - adoration, praise, confession, intersession, petition, and commitment.
Select a PRAYER PARTNER and pray with that person regularly. Somehow we are better able to discern God's will and sense God's presence in connection with another Christian than we are on our own (Mt. 18:20).
PRAY THE PSALMS. Eugene Peterson calls the Psalms the language with which we must address God and he suggests that as we speak the words of the Psalms we will learn the language of faith. Praying one Psalm each day for 150 days will take our prayer life to a whole new dimension.
Develop a series of PRAYER ALERTS that call us to prayer throughout the day. When we eat breakfast, thank God for nourishing our lives. When we start our car, ask God to ignite our spirit, etc.
Get in the habit of doing FLASH PRAYERS. Frank Laubach suggested that we live in such a way that to see somebody is to pray for that person. That means, every time we meet someone or see someone throughout the day, we flash a prayer for them, inwardly asking that the joy of the Lord and a deeper awareness of God's presence will rise up within that person.
Include time to LISTEN TO GOD. Prayer is not only talking to God. It is also listening to God. That's why sometimes, prayer means simply sitting in solitude, silently listening for the voice of God.
We need to PACE OURSELVES. We need to remember that there is a principle of progression in the spiritual life, just as there is, for example, in training for a marathon. We don't take occasional joggers and put them in a marathon race. They have to work up to it. And we must not do that with prayer, either. We need to simply single out a few minutes a day and pour our spiritual energy into those few minutes. And then, build up our prayer stamina until we can spend more time each day in prayer. E. Stanley Jones is right. We will be better or worse as we pray more or less.
Sermon text with italics and bold and John 3:16 and v. 20.
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