When I walked in the door of the church building I was greeted by a bulletin board on which people had taped their prayer requests. Upon seeing some of the burdens that my sisters are struggling with, my mindset of the evening changed.
When I sat down to eat, I had the opportunity to talk with old friends and even made a few new friends! Just as I finished eating my dessert, Karla Taylor (the wife of our former preacher) stepped up to begin speaking. The topic of her speech was easy enough to comprehend. She spoke to us on prayer.
She reminded us that prayer with our Lord is not just a time for us to list our grievances or give God a list of "I want this". Instead, prayer should be a conversation with our precious savior. Karla related our conversations with God to the conversations we have with our husbands. Sometimes Mike and I have long, intense, drawn out conversations about something very deep. Other times we have a short conversations (like "How was your day today?" or "What do you want to do for fun this Saturday?"). Mike and I even have 1 sentence conversations at times (ex. "Barrett's stinky." or "They car lights were left on and the battery's dead.") All kinds of conversations are needed to give depth to the relationship that I have with Mike. If we only had intense conversations, we might start to avoid each other (since those types of conversations can really wear you out!). On the other hand, if we only spoke to each other in 1 sentence conversations, how could our relationship grow? Because we have a balance of both, even the 1 sentence "I love you." has immense meaning to both of us.
The same is true for our relationship with God. We need all types of conversations to build a deep, lasting relationship! Here are the practical prayer ideas that Karla talked to us about:
- One way to have an intense conversation with God is through journaling your prayers. This can come in the form of a list that you pray over or it can mean that you actually write out your prayers in diary form. Not only will it help you stay focused on your conversation, but it will also give you encouragement as you look back at your journal weeks, months, or years from now and see how God answered your prayers.
- ACTS - This is an acronym that gives you an outline for praying. Structure your prayer in this order:
Adoration -praise God
Confession - confess your faults and shortcomings
Thanksgiving - thank God for all things He has given you
Supplication - this is where you ask for things
- Scripture prayers - Have you ever been reading a verse in the Bible and thought, "Wow. This writer really knew how to express his feelings to God." Did you realize that you can pray those same scriptures to God? A few examples of scriptures to pray that Karla gave are Psalm 86:11-13; Lamentations 3:22-26; I Corinthians 15:58; Colossians 3:13-14; Galations 5:22-26; and Ephesians 4:29-30
- Do you ever feel overwhelmed in your pray life? I know I do! There are so many people that I want to pray for from my family to the leaders of our church to the leaders of our nation! Karla suggested doing daily assignment prayers. This is where you make a list of everything you're wanting to pray for and then assign it a day of the week.
- Sometimes life gets hectic and you need to stop and catch your breath. What a great time for refocus prayers. Take 1 to 2 minutes to refocus mentally on what's really important.
- One sentence prayers can be some of the most important words you ever speak. When you're about to give advice to someone and you stop to ask for God's wisdom before you speak, you'll be amazed at how God will work through you!
These are the ideas that Karla challenged us with to go home and renew our relationship with God through prayer. Instead of walking out the door thinking about going home and relaxing (because my boys would be in bed), I walked out the door excited to go talk with God! What a great night!