My Soul to Keep
When you pray…
May 24th, 2019
There isn’t enough space in a 1,000-1,500 word devotional to properly cover prayer, what it is, what it should be to us, but hopefully this will provide some things to consider regarding your prayer life and what you might want to do to improve your communication with your savior.
Simply stated, prayer is the ultimate tool in our disposal to improve and maintain our relationship with God. Those who have committed their lives to Jesus have been retrofitted with the Holy Spirit. This equipping of the Spirit alters our capability far beyond what an initial assessment of this gift might be.
By Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to live within us he forever changed the dynamic between God and man.
pray without ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (ESV)
This is one of the shortest verses in scripture. There are only two other verses, doing a better job of championing brevity, but this one is only three simple words. Nonetheless, these three words capture God’s desired activity for each of his faithful.
The first thought a lot of us might think when reading this passage, is that what is being asked of us is literally impossible. But God made a way we can and should be accomplishing this every day. He placed his Spirit inside everyone that surrenders their life to Jesus and accepts his gift of salvation.
The Holy Spirit isn’t an occasional visitor. From the moment of giving our lives to Jesus, his Spirit takes up residence and doesn’t leave. This is the first and most critical thing to realize. We can suppress the Spirit by our actions, but once in residence, he’s there for good.
Callousness toward the Spirit dampens his impact in our walk. On the flip side, if we interact with the Spirit, his occupancy within us becomes more and more prevalent.
Since it’s bad manners to not converse with someone who is in our company, we can and should be in a permanent state of conversation with the Holy Spirit. When we do this, we are in fact engaged in prayer. No, it’s not ‘Now I lay me down to sleep’, prayer. But it is prayer.
When we have a problem, question, praise or just want to run something by him the Holy Spirit is there to listen and take our disjointed pleadings and transform them in an honest representation of our heart to God’s!
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Romans 8:26 (ESV)
Therefore, we can and should be praying anytime, all the time. Constant prayer, that wasn’t so difficult, was it?
That’s one form of prayer.
Another form we absolutely should be engaged in on a daily basis is intentional prayer where we set aside a certain time in our day when we can pray and focus on a set of praise and requests that we intentionally dedicate time to offer up to God.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:6 (ESV)
Jesus suggests that when you seek him in intentional prayer, you isolate yourself from outside interference as much as possible and focus on the praise, the supplication, and the requests. It’s also a good time to pray scripture back to God as well. Thank him for all that he has done and will do for us. Thank him for who he is and his mercy on our behalf.
Having a prayer journal is a good idea for this form of prayer, just so you can remind yourself of prayer commitments you have made and to also track the results of prayer as they have reached a conclusion.
Having sin in our hearts will affect our prayers. If we are aware of sin in our lives and haven’t confessed those to God and sought forgiveness, then God will not listen to our prayers.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
Psalms 66:18 (ESV)
Another important aspect of prayer is having faith and trust in the Lord’s ability and willingness to respond to our prayers.
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:22 (ESV)
“In full assurance of faith” is how we are to come to God.
Sometime ago the Lord impressed on my own heart to examine what I was praying for and take a deep look at what my heart was feeling about the requests. Was I truly praying for things I felt an assurance that God was able and willing to do for me and in me? Was every supplication submitted with assurance that God would come through with the answers, and regardless of the outcome the result would be for my good and his glory? Did I really believe that he was able? Did I really believe that he was not only willing but eager to come to my aid as the Good Shepherd?
Honestly, I could see several instances where I didn’t. When I realized this, I asked for forgiveness and he let me know that if he was capable of putting the universe in place with a word, that he was more than capable of handling my issues and for me to doubt him was sin on my part which robbed him of his glory in my life.
Please examine your prayers in the same way. Test if what you are requesting you believe in God’s ability and willingness to provide is real. It will be a marked change in your prayer life when you lay your burdens down at his feet and then in faith walk away from your intentional prayer knowing He is in control and regardless of how this is going to turn out, he has it planned for our benefit and his Glory.
If you would like to explore prayer in greater depth, I’d suggest you get my book at this link, A Love Relationship – Let Us Pray! This book explores our relationship with God through prayer. It‘s full of good ideas and practices to deepen our prayer life and walk with the Lord. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free.
He is always there “My Soul to Keep”!
In the Grace of Jesus!