How to have a Vibrant Prayer Life
Dr. Cheryl Durham, Director
Being in missions, I have often heard that there is no retirement clause in the Bible. The Gospel just commands us to go. There is no stop. So what happens if you cannot go? What happens if you are incapacitated or just plain old?
I have thought about this a lot. In fact, this was the idea that created Living Truth, a transdenominational mission agency that I work with that helps small ministries do what God calls them to do. All of us can work well into our old age.
Well, what if I have no particular ministry, what do I do then? The answer is the most important ministry is always right before you; it is intercessory prayer. It can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime. You do not need special equipment or skills, and you are naturally gifted in it. We can all talk to God.
If the truth be known, at least where I live, intercessors are theoretically well-meaning, but practically rare. How do you start, or jumpstart, a lagging prayer ministry? Where do you go to get one started? Here are seven steps that will get you on your way.
Step One: Get a Journal
A friend of mine got me a really pretty wooden journal from Honduras. It is beautiful. I use it for special entries. I also have a spiral bound notebook because it is easier to write in, you can file it in a three ring binder on a shelf, and they are incredibly cheap. Ten for a dollar in August before the kids go back to school. If you do not have any of that, you can do it through an e-mail program like G-mail or Yahoo Mail. The address is free, you can check it anywhere, and it makes it easy to file any way you want. It also makes it easy to stay in touch with those for whom you are praying.
Step Two: Find things to pray about.
There is never a lack of prayer needs. All you have to do is to start reaching out. If you do not know any people, there is the church bulletin. If you do not have a church, there is the news, the internet, the television, and even radio. Just pray for the needs that you hear. Do not forget to ask God! He can bring to mind people that you forgot you knew and maybe people that you do not. If you are really stuck, or are fond of foreign people group prayer, there is a book that has been out for years called “Operation World” by Patrick Johnstone, this book lists almost every people group in existence, their environment, and their prayer needs.
Step Three: Keep Records.
Make sure that you write down whom you are praying for on one side and what you pray for on the other. Later, you will see that God answers all of them in some way or another. It is this step, combined with the next step, which really keeps the process alive and lets you know why God thinks prayer is so important. It demonstrates the interactive relationship between you, God, and the world that is, when you think about, quite astounding. The God of the universe is using YOU to help Him bring about His Kingdom on Earth. Wow!
Step Four: The Feedback Loop
You are going to want to know how God is working, and how your people are doing in their lives. If you do not have any people that you know, you might watch the news to see what is happening in the world. God can do anything and He does amazing things. This step will not only show you how great God is but it will build intimacy with the people you are praying for, even if you do not know them. You will know that they are special to God and that one day, perhaps you will know them. This is what is known as koinonia.
Step Five: Go to God for Wisdom and Read the Word of God
Step Five can come anywhere in the process except the end. You need wisdom from God to pray effectively. The best way to know that is through prayer and the Word. When you pray, you talk to Him and when you read the Word, He talks to you. His Holy Spirit will guide you in both prayer and study. After all, the Holy Spirit knows exactly what to pray for, right? Just remember that if you start a book, be careful to read it through before you start another. Do not jump around.
What you will start to see is a few patterns emerge as you pray for people. For example, I have led discipleship groups for many years, but each time I do, God has a way of joining the hearts of those in the group in such a way that no matter what book of the bible they are reading in (and they are all different), God talks to each about the same issue. When we come back together and hear what God is doing in each life, well, you have to be there to appreciate it. So ask for wisdom and watch for patterns. Let Him surprise you.
Step Six: Piggy Back Prayers.
As people give you requests, and as you see a pattern emerge, ask God what additional things you can pray for concerning this person. Wait for God, pray about what He gives you, and let what you learn from God shape how you pray for that person. Let it shape their requests.
Step Seven: GIVE THANKS
Always give thanks to God and let people know how good God has been to you as well and how He has answered your prayer for them. Show them that they can depend on God.
If you follow these seven steps, you will be truly amazed how much you have missed by avoiding prayer. Intercessory prayer can be one of the most rewarding ministries and it is the one you can do anywhere, with very little effort. I think that anyone can do it. That is why there is no retirement clause in the Bible. You can always talk to God.
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Chaplydia, Biblical Counselor and Discipleship Coach Helps individuals and groups develop and enhance their calling and their lives using a Biblical World View. Go Above and Beyond the NORM!
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