I have a very smart friend who has great spiritual insight. I look to him for good counsel. He’s a fully trained and licensed Pastor and counselor, and he has a PH.D.! He’s also a college professor. Like I said, he’s smart and wise. But even he said while speaking to his fellow Christian college professors on spiritual growth — “Most days, I feel like a kindergartener.”
I’m in good company, then, because I, too, have a lot to learn in all things God.
Here’s my list on PRAYER to remind myself of and grow in:
1) Remember when to pray: Always.
I forget to take everything to God. I tend to have a positive attitude thinking that everything will be great, or fine, and that I have it figured out and under control. Boy – is that belief misplaced! I forget to pray until I’ve made the situation and a mess and grown weary from trying to accomplish my plans and goals.
Lord God, help me to remember to turn everything over to you with prayer. Help me to remember sooner, rather than later, to seek you in all things. Help me to remember to pray, pray, pray.
2) Identify good things to pray for.
Knowing what to pray for is hard, because the real problem is often, not what I think it is. I usually think the problem is my PROBLEM or someone else, when in fact, it might be me. At the very least, there is usually some specific area, something, that God wants me to grow in, or do, or pray for.
It’s great to pray for miracles, whether for myself or others, but there are a lot of other good things to pray for, as well. These include growth, wisdom, insight, guidance, protection, strength, grace, and love in action.
Lord God, give me greater spiritual understanding and wisdom in knowing what to pray for, especially when fear and confusion tend to make me not want to think about a tough situation. Help me to pause and brainstorm some good blessings to pray for that you might want to bring in to a situation. Help me to ask you what to pray for.
3) Remember to be patient and not give up.
Part of praying is learning to wait patiently on God and waiting with hope (positive expectancy). When we practice the spiritual art of waiting with grace on God, it is imbued with power. We give God time to work and to change circumstances, us, and others. Usually, I’m praying for an immediate miracle. No muss. No fuss. Sooner, rather than later. No need to wait or grow.
There have been prayers that I gave up on God ever answering, until I realized He was still at work on them years later! (Forgive me, God.) I need to continue to grow in patience and in allowing God time and grace to work on others and myself. Jesus gave His twelve disciples time to grow, ponder, and wrestle with truth, and He does the same with people and with His disciples, today.
Oh Lord God, may I see and know your good patience towards me!
4) Grow in asking and in quieting my spirit to hear His answers.
Several years ago someone shared with me the article, How to Listen to God by James E Batterson. Mr. Batterson starts with the premise that we must first know that God is alive and desires for us to have a relationship with Him.
Then he gives us some simple instructions. We can seek to hear God by quieting our spirit and listening for His voice. He shares how to filter, consider, and test the thoughts that come to our mind against God’s Word. He reminds us to follow through on the instructions and impressions that pass the test as being from God.
Lord God, help to ask you questions and then, help me to wait, quiet my spirit, and my striving so that I might hear your Spirit speak to me. Help me to follow through on instructions from you. May I always grow in knowing and relying on you.
May you and I both grow in knowing God and in living out this good promise from Him-Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. —Phil. 4:6-7 New Living Translation