Various Methods Used in Praying

Have you found a method of prayer that you find useful? People have come up with many methods to help them in their prayer lives.  I am currently praying Scripture, using the Psalms.  I am especially enjoying this method because of the benefits I mentioned in my previous post, What Benefits Scripture Praying Brings. 

A prayer list is probably among the most common. Sometimes because of the number of prayers we want to bring before the Lord we divide our prayers into themes such as family, friends, those in government, missionaries and so on. Then the themes are assigned to specific days to keep the prayer list from becoming overwhelming. Our prayer lists may also include personal requests, those of our church family, the persecuted, issues in the news, and so much more.

There are also many acronyms to help us focus in prayer. Some of the common ones are:

ACTS:   A-Adoration, C-Confession, T-Thanksgiving, S-Supplication

CHAT: C-Confess, H-Honor, A-Ask, T-Thank   -or-

C- Cheer God on for who He is, H-Humble yourself, A-Appreciate what He has done, T- Tell God your needs

PRAY- P-Praise, R-Repent, A-Ask for others, Y-Your own needs

These acronyms incorporate many of the types of prayer we see demonstrated in the Bible. If you would like to read more about prayers of the Bible please see one of my recent posts entitled, Prayer as Demonstrated in the Bible.

One of my favorite methods of prayer is to write my prayers. I have a journal that I use specifically for this purpose. There is as much freedom in writing payers as in speaking them. I often just write what is on my heart almost like a letter to the Lord as I read through a Psalm. Reading the Scriptures may prompt confession as it convicts my heart, or bring new recognition of a personal heart need, or at other times the neediness of another may be brought to mind. It is beautiful and amazing the way the Lord uses His Word to prompt our hearts in prayer.

One other method of prayer that some people use is a prayer board. this is simply some kind of bulletin board with a combination of pictures of loved ones, Bible verses, and notes of prayer needs pinned or taped on it. Some people even use a world map to remind them to pray for certain areas of persecution or for missionaries and their work and needs.

These are a few methods I am familiar with there are probably many others available. The method which you choose is only a tool, it is most important for prayer to be that heart-to-heart time with the Lord.

I have found that I come to know myself better and to know the Lord in deeper ways during my prayer times. He shows me the depths of my heart often things I am unaware of. He knows me better than I know myself.

How about you? Do you use one of these methods, or is there a different method not mentioned here that is helpful for you? All that matters is that it draws you into intimacy with the Lover of our soul.

Open your heart, allow the Holy Spirit to have His way as you bring your requests before you loving Heavenly Father. He desires to commune with you.

I hope that this series of posts on prayer have been helpful to you and your relationship with the Lord. Seek Him with your whole heart, He will meet you wherever you are.

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What Benefits Scripture Praying Brings

I have found that praying the Scriptures is invigorating to my time with the Lord. I have used this method much more recently than in the past. I had used the scriptures for prayer in the past, but mostly by reading a prayer I found in the Scriptures and putting in names or praying it specifically for myself. But the game changer came when I read the book, Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney. He helped me to learn so much about prayer, as well as a wonderful way to pray using Scripture. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling in their prayer-life or just needs some encouragement.

There are many benefits to praying Scripture, and Donald Whitney especially highlights using the prayer-book in the Bible, specifically the book of Psalms. He explains how to use other portions of Scripture for prayer as well.

Let me specifically share the benefits I have found.

First of all, the most obvious benefit is it gets you into God’s Word. There are so many books about the Word, and studies that use the Word to answer questions, that it is easy to just use the Bible as a reference book. When you use Scripture for prayer, you choose a portion and read it slowly. You meditate on what the author says. So for me right now that means I choose a Psalm and I read through it once to become familiarized with its content, and then I begin the process of praying through it.

Donald Whitney explains in his book that as we read the chosen Psalm, you slowly read and use it to prompt a prayer need, and you pray that need then go on reading. You may have many prayers for one verse and none for others, but it is not about using all the verses, it is about being drawn into God’s Word and praying it back to Him. Whether that means worshiping Him in a praise of the Psalmist or confessing how much you do not feel like worshiping because of the overwhelming concerns in your life. Praying the Scriptures may mean recognizing more about Who God is in ways that are new to you. It may mean your heart becomes burdened for the lost because of what you read. It means being open to the Holy Spirit prompting your heart with His Word to pray whatever He brings to you, and that brings us to the next benefit.

I have found in praying Scripture I have a new openness to the Spirit. My heart and mind are fully focused on God’s Word, and the Spirit uses His Word to touch my heart with Truth that easily relates to my life and the lives of those around me. The Psalmist may share the thanksgiving of his heart in a portion of the psalm and one word he says may prompt me to recognize so much that I have to be thankful for.

For example, Psalm 9 begins “I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart. I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” Well reading that made me realize first of all that I was distracted and overwhelmed, I wasn’t attending to Him with my whole heart, so I had to ask for help to concentrate and really be present with Him. I had to quiet my soul, my heart, and my mind. It was then I could share all that I had on my heart to be thankful for, telling Him of the great wonders He had shown me, being glad and exulting in Him, and even being drawn into songs of praise. Later in this Psalm David speaks of the Lord being a “Stronghold.” Here I asked the Lord to be a stronghold for certain people in my life who were going through difficult times and needed Him even more than we need Him every day. I shared my own troubles, and how my heart needed protection because of certain hurts. Just one Psalm gives us an open door to so many prayers of our hearts as the Spirit opens our eyes to what He sees and knows and reveals things we have missed in our busyness or distraction.

I also have found praying the Scriptures beneficial because there are so many Psalms, with the Psalmist’s sharing their hearts out of different circumstances. Each prayer-time is new, a different perspective, a different way to bring my needs before the Lord highlighting these needs in a different way.

And finally, always amazing to me, but a known truth is the fact that the Lord makes His Word fresh and new to me each time I read it. I am in a new place each day emotionally, and spiritually. My outlook on life may be different, my neediness for the Lord may be different, my understanding of the Word may touch my heart in a different way dependent on my perspective on life that day.  I may reread a Psalm I did a different day and totally different words and truths stand out to me and my prayers are voiced in a new way about the same people and the same things. It is never boring.

God’s Word gives us all we need to learn to pray and to pray from the depths of our hearts with earnestness and also finding the depths of our very real desperation for our Father God.

His Word is written for us and we can benefit so much as we read it and use it in praying. I hope that your heart is encouraged to open up your Bible and use it for prayer.

Prayer as Demonstrated in the Bible

The importance of prayer was instilled in me from little on. As a young girl my Opah taught me much about Jesus. We lived by my grandparents. Each Sunday evening my brother and I would have “church” with them. My Opah would be the “pastor”, Omah would be the congregation, and my brother and I were the choir. We would always sing, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” A beautiful hymn outlining the truths about the importance of prayer.

Now when I think of my prayer life, my joys and struggles in praying, my mind returns to these precious moments. Opah taught me so much. He demonstrated so much about Jesus and life in Him. As an adult I now look to the Lord and His Word for help in prayer, but often wish that Opah was still here to guide me when I am struggling.

The Bible is filled with prayers demonstrating ways we can pray. It gives many examples of how others prayed. I would like to share a few examples of the different kinds of prayer, there is so much to learn in God’s Word.

Many of our prayers fall under the umbrella of petitions, sometimes this type of prayer is referred to as supplication, these terms refer to the times we cry out to the Lord with our needs. We may petition the Lord about anything; our finances, our health, for our protections when we travel, or about difficulties in our workplace, the opportunities are endless.

David shares his prayers throughout the Psalms. Psalm 3 is an example of him petitioning the Lord for deliverance. David is in the middle of a very stressful situation He is feeling as if everyone is against him. There are times in our lives when we feel exactly the same way, whether it is in the workplace or in our homes, or maybe just in dealing with inner conflict about an issue. David knew the Lord was on his side and he needed the Lord to help him through and out. He felt pummeled by his enemies. We may have human enemies but many of our emotions can seem like enemies. Guilt, greed, anger, and jealousy can entangle our hearts and destroy our peace and joy. We then may need to call out to the Lord for deliverance in these situations as well, petitioning the Lord for His help.

When we are not praying for ourselves, we often are praying on behalf of others. We see the needs of family and friends. We see problems in our world; problems of persecution, wars, human trafficking, abuse, and other injustices. When we look in the Bible, one of the most beautiful examples of intercession is found in John 17 when Jesus cries out to His Father on our behalf. He prayer for his disciples and ultimately, for us. It is such a beautiful prayer of love. Intercession is truly a prayer of love for another, there is nothing more important that we can do than cry out to God on another’s behalf. Paul also give us many examples of intercession, for example He speaks of his prayer for the people in the church of Ephesus in Ephesians 1:15-23. He prays for their spiritual growth. He asks that the eyes of their hearts be enlightened so that they will know the hope of God’s calling. You can’t go wrong interceding for someone’s spiritual growth, what could be more important to the Lord than that.

Another kind of prayer we see demonstrated in the Bible is the prayer of thanksgiving. In Psalm 138 we read the words of David giving thanks for the Lord’s favor. He thanks God for His loving-kindness, His truth, and His answers to prayer. He gives thanks for the confidence and strength that the Lord gave him in life, for fulfilled promises, for deliverance, and so much more. David has seen the hand of the Lord at work in his life and he is grateful for so much. We too have many reasons to give thanks. I think that we often neglect sharing our gratitude with the Lord, and in doing so we often miss out on the joy that can fill our hearts because of such a prayer.

Similar to this are the prayers of worship and praise. Hannah prays such a prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10. Hannah  rejoices in the Lord because of Who He is and what He has done. She is filled with worship and praise because after a time of infertility the Lord has answered her prayers and blessed her with a child.

When we see the reality of God’s goodness in our lives or recognize the gift of answered prayer we too may go to the Lord as Hannah did with words of worship and praise.

The last type of prayer that I want to mention is that of confession. David gives us a beautiful example of a prayer of confession in Psalm 51. He wrote this after he sinned with Bathsheba. You can read about his sin in 1 Samuel 11. David realizes his sin of committing adultery after the prophet Nathan confronts him. David then pours out his heart to the Lord in Psalm 51. He prays for God to have mercy and compassion on him. He asks that the Lord would blot out his sins (transgressions). He admits that he has sinned against the Lord by doing evil in His sight. He asks for cleansing and restoration. David desires to praise the Lord again. He wants his heart to be right before the Lord and his realtionship with Him restored.

When we personally find ourselves realizing that we have grieved the Lord with our sin, we too need to bring that sin before the Lord in confession. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Confession restores our relationship, broken by sin, with the Lord.

There are many reason to come before the Lord, to cry out to Him, these are only a few examples. These prayers give us words to express our feelings and needs. They can encourage us in praying when we are at a loss for what to say or when we feel stuck. Each of these prayers are expressed by real people going through real struggle, recognizing heartfelt needs, or responding to God’s intervention. We can relate to their heart cries, and our heart have cries of their own that we can bring before the Lord.

When prayer is a struggle we can find hope and help in God’s Word. The Lord often uses His Word to prick my heart to help me realize a personal prayer-need of my own or to realize the need of another. The Lord wants to hear from us. He wants to meet us in our neediness, in our desperation, as well as in our rejoicing and praise. Jesus is our loving Friend. The hymn I use to sing in my grand parents living room tells it all.

“What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry Everything to God in prayer.

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear.

All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer.”

(written by Joseph M. Scriven)

What a privilege it is to take our needs to God in prayer. I am so grateful for these beautiful scriptural examples that serve as a guide when I struggle in my prayer life. I hope that you have found encouragement for your prayer needs also. Truly what a privilege we have to take our concerns to the Creator God of this Universe.

What Keeps You from Prayer?

Prayer is a very important part of a Christian’s life. We need to pray in order to know the Lord more and more intimately. We pray to share our hearts, our desperate neediness, as well as to share our worries and concerns with our Heavenly Father. He is ultimately in control of all things. We go to Him with quick shouts of prayers in emergency situations, or with lists of needs at certain times. We go to Him when our hearts are full, because we know He is always waiting, always ready to listen.

But, I can say from personal experience, much can get in the way of praying. I have heard others share their frustrations as well.

There are times when we don’t feel like praying and other times we may find ourselves feeling as if we are just too busy. 

Some days we may get frustrated with the lack of ability to concentrate. It seems that somehow one thing after another can come up when we are trying to spend time with the Lord. Busyness and distraction can easily pull us away. 

Then, sometimes it feel like we pray the same things over and over. We may even come to wonder “why bother?” And if it is none these things that keep us from prayer it may be that it is just plain hard to even know what to pray.

Our feelings can interfere with prayer too. We may feel anger or disappointment with the Lord about a situation in our lives that causes us to feel distant from Him. It could be unanswered prayer, or a prayer not answered according to our desires. We may feel as though our prayers are not ever heard. 

Sometimes when trials are ongoing we pray, and pray, and pray, with seemingly no changes in the circumstances. We feel as if the Lord doesn’t even hear us. 

Or at other times our prayers are answered or we feel led by the Lord, but the situation doesn’t turn out as we hoped. The outcome we expect turns sour and we wonder why we heard wrong or why we were led this way. This can cause fear within, fear of doing it wrong again.

I know years ago I felt clearly led to believe that someone I loved was going to be healed but instead she died. I was devastated. I felt like a rug was pulled out from under me and I was left flat on the floor with the wind knocked out of me. I questioned everything and sought the help of a Christian counselor for help. Prayer became very difficult for quite a while following that period of time.

At other times there may be sin in our lives that even though we have repented we feel as though we are not worthy to come with our requests to the Lord. We forget we are all equal before the cross because Jesus alone is our righteousness. 

We also can grow weary in prayer when we feel as though our prayers are repeated day after day. We go through the motions but our heart isn’t in it. At other times in life, we are faced with such challenging circumstances that we don’t even know how to pray. What do we even ask for? What really is the Lord’s will? So because of the turmoil within we may procrastinate.

There are so many things that can keep us from prayer. Many things can disrupt our relationship with the Lord.

This month I will be sharing some things I am learning about prayer. My next post will be about what the Lord and the Bible say about prayer. Later in the month I will share different methods of prayer people choose. And finally in this series, I want to share about some benefits I have found in praying Scripture.

So, if you have found yourself discouraged with your prayer life, you may find some encouragement as you read the upcoming posts.

What keeps you from praying? 

We need to talk about our frustrations and encourage each other in our prayer walks. We need to be real about where we are at, and offer insight so we each can grow. Prayer is that important.

Lord, I Need You, Always!

There is no truer statement. We are a needy people.

My recent blogposts have narrowed in on our crumbling states of emotions that magnify our neediness before the Lord. I want to take one more look at these. Difficult times come up frequently in life and God’s Word gives us so many tools to help us through time when we are hurting in this life.

We considered times of exhaustion and the treasures the Lord gives us in the darkness. When we have grown so incredibly tired from the pressures of life, the Lord in His great love for us, shows up in amazing ways. We can look back and see how He has gifted us. We can see His presence through times when life seemed impossible, when we felt as though we were crawling through a dark cave alone.

We looked at our need for the Lord in the midst of helplessness. When suddenly we come to the end of ourselves and realize we are unable to make a situation any better, when it is evident that we are powerless to change anything, it is then we realize we need help. It is then we must reach to the Lord. King Jehoshaphat’s responded to an impending battle he faced with beautiful words of prayer. We can take his words in our times of helplessness and speak to the Lord, “We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) The Lord will hear us as He heard King Jehoshaphat, and He will work on our behalf.

We learned from Elijah about the neediness in depression. Elijah’s story led us to see the Lord’s love throughout Elijah’s downward spiral. The Lord met Elijah at each time of need. The Lord knows our deepest needs as well. We saw how the Lord can whisper in His still, small voice, words of hope into our brokeness. He gave direction to Elijah after He had fed him and strengthened him.

We discovered that people respond differently to fear. Caleb and Joshua showed us what we need to remember when we are afraid. Rather than cower and choose to run away, Caleb and Joshua remembered the truth about who God is in the face of giants. We, too, need to remember who God is in the face of our seemingly insurmountable giants that we come upon in our present day lives. The reality of the Lord’s presence with us in everything should bring us confidence and courage. He is our strength and He promises deliverance from all of our troubles.

Emptiness is another place of neediness we considered. O how the Lord desires to satisfy our hearts. He has come to give us abundant life. He can fill the emptiness as nothing else can. We only must seek Him, that is what He desires most of all.

Finally, we looked at our neediness in loneliness. We learned from Jeremiah how he coped with his loneliness as a prophet. He showed us the importance of being honest with the Lord regarding our feelings. And he demonstrated how to feed on the Lord’s faithfuness- remembering God’s goodness and work in our lives during previous trials and difficulties. The Lord promises to always be with us.

Moment-by-moment in our lives we learn more and more of how very needy we really are. And in those times, if we don’t cry out with words, our heart cry out, “Lord, I need You!” We cry with desperation and the Lord hears us. Time and time again we see in the Bible how the Lord met His people in their pain and suffering.

God has not changed and our responses to trials are not much different from those living in Bible times. God knows what we need. We only need to seek Him in our neediness. We must look for Him and He will be found, for He is always faithful!

Just a side-note:

Summer is flying by, and our garden is growing beautifully with the plentiful rains the Lord has provided. My husband and I already have begun doing some freezing of vegetables and there is much more to do. Soon we will begin canning. I know my posts have not been on schedule due to the summer’s busyness, I will try to post once a week throughout the next couple months. I hope that your summer has been a time of learning more about the Lord’s love and provision. Thank you for being a faithful reader!

Sweet Blessings to you, Cheryl

Lord, I Need You, I am Lonely

Do you feel lonely? We all go through seasons of loneliness.

  • Times when we feel no one is really listening.
  • Times when no one sees who we are.
  • Times when it seems that no one even cares what we do.

We want to be known.

Loneliness makes my heart hurt. It is sad. It is a very needy feeling. To me loneliness is the absence of heart connection. We each need connection to different levels of depth. And when we are disconnected for whatever reason we can feel lonely.

  • It could be your spouses pre-occupation with their own stuff that leaves you feeling lonely.
  • It could be because you feel isolated emotionally by what you are going through leaving you to feel as if no one understands.
  • Or, maybe the busyness of life leave you feeling disconnected.

There are so many scenarios that can leave us feeling lonely. When we are lonely we feel empty and deeply desire to receive understanding and acceptance.

Loneliness can be felt whether you are alone or in a crowd, it’s a feeling of isolation. You may be at a family gathering or alone in your apartment and loneliness can strike.

The prophet Jeremiah was isolated by his calling. The Lord called him to tell the Israelites difficult things and no one wanted to listen to him. Jeremiah chose to listen to the Lord despite the pain this brought him. He obediently shared the Lord’s words to these rebellious people.

The Lord forbids Jeremiah to interact with the Israelites, in fact, Jeremiah was told not to get married or have children. Jeremiah didn’t have any close relationships in his life. This caused him to struggle.

We struggle in our times of loneliness also. Our personal times of loneliness may not be because of God’s call on our lives, but our feelings may be similar to Jeremiah’s.

The book of Jeremiah reveals that he was ridiculed and insulted because of the words he had to proclaim. We learn that Jeremiah had no close friends. We hear him becoming angry and frustrated with the responses of the people whom he shared God’s message with because they refused to listen.

Jeremiah’s loneliness led him to feel depressed and to even wish that he had never been born.

Jeremiah was honest with the Lord about how he felt. We see this most often in the book of Psalms. Ths often allow their raw feelings to spill out to the Lord. We too can be honest before the Lord with our feelings and needs.

Jeremiah was able to help himself through this difficult time by remembering what the Lord had promised. Psalm 37:4 tells us to “feed on His faithfulness.” This verse stands out to me in the midst of all neediness. It helps me know, as I remember God’s words to me or as I remember all He has done for me, that I can find hope.

God’s promise of bringing the people under a new covenant brought Jeremiah hope to help him keep moving forward. We too can think back to what the Lord has done in our lives. We can hold tight to verses that He has used to speak to our hearts. We can find hope and know that He is present with us.

The Lord knows our desperate need for connection. He gives us the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as Savior. We can constantly speak to Him who lives on the inside of us. We can choose to share what is on our hearts and minds knowing that He listens and cares.

When we go through times of loneliness we need to call out to God. We can say again, “Lord, I need you!” We can tell HIm what we need:

  • I need acceptance.
  • I ned to feel loved.
  • I need to be known.
  • I need connection in my life.

We can, also, talk with those we know who love us, about how we are feeling and ask for help through the difficult times. It may mean asking for a listening ear, or finding a time for deep sharing. Possibly, it may mean talking something out to develop understanding with another person.

We need to reach out to the Lord and others, especially in our loneliness.

We can find hope as we seek the Lord in all neediness.

 

Lord, I Need You, I’m Empty

When we are feeling empty, it seems that we cannot find satisfaction in anything. We feel discontent and are left wanting. Sometimes we feel as if we don’t know which way to turn. We often wonder why we are feeling this way.

Psalm 81 gives us a hint to a possible reason. Psalm 81 is a call to obedience. The psalm shares an overview of the Israelites journey out of Egypt and their choices to live in disobedience. The Lord wanted His people to listen to Him, as a parent wants their children to listen and be obedient. But the Israelites wanted their own way, they wanted to make their own plans, so they refused to live in submission to God a lot of the time.

Things haven’t changed much. Fast forward to my life or your life. There are times in life that our emptiness can come out of a place of disobedience. we too choose our own ways, and make our own plans apart from the Lord. We soon find out that we cannot find satisfaction apart from the Lord. No matter how many options, we try we are left unsatisfied.

F.F. Bruce explains our plight this way, “The soul’s deepest thirst is for God Himself who made us so that we can never be satisfied without Him.”

The LORD tells the Israelites in Psalm 81:10, “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”

The Lord wants us to be satisfied, He wants us to know abundance in Him and not hunger, but only in turning to Him to have our needs met can we experience true fulfillment.

Emptiness may also come to our hearts and lives in order to create a spiritual hunger. The Lord wants us to desire Him and be in relationship with Him.

Deuteronomy 8:2-3 says, “Remember that the LORD your God led you on the entire journey these 40 years in the wilderness, so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands. He humbled you by letting you go hungry; then He gave you manna to eat which you and your fathers had not known, so that you might learn that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

The Lord humbled the Israelites by letting them go hungry. He wanted them to realize their absolute dependence on Him He wanted them to feel their desperate neediness apart from Him. He wanted to know what was really on their hearts. Were they fickle or true? Yet, when they cried, out He provided them with manna in the wilderness. He showed them His love by meeting their need.

The Lord desires for us to see that He is present to meet all of our needs. He loves us too much to allow us to constantly feed on the junk food of this world. So, although we may go through times of emptiness, when we run to Him, like the prodigal son, we will find that His heart is always love and His desire is to satisfy us.

God is a good Father who wants the best for His children in every situation. He loves us with a perfect love. God will allow us the freedom to seek other things to satisfy ourselves, but once we realize how empty we are, He knows we will run to Him. He waits for us to cry out to Him, “Lord, I need You.” And then there in our emptiness He will satisfy our hungry hearts with the perfect manna.

It always comes down to recognizing the REAL need so that we really may know satisfaction. The need is Jesus.