Thoughts on prayer

Lack of Powerful prayer

“What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use — men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men, men of prayer.”  – E.M. Bounds

I could not have said it better than Mr. Bounds. The Lord has been teaching me quite a bit on prayer lately, as it is something I tend to neglect in my walk with Him. Of course I do pray, but sometimes I feel that it is weak and unfocused. I think a plight of many Christians is that we do not realize the importance and necessity of prayer. Not only that, but we do not understand HOW God desires us to pray to him. Prayer is one of the things that gets pushed aside as something we do when we get around to it, or if we have a urgent or pressing need. God meant it to be so much more than that. Now, I in no way intend to pose myself as an expert on prayer, because the Lord is still working on my heart and showing me the importance and spiritual significance of prayer.

The Structure of prayer.

In reading the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13, one discovers that Jesus is very specific and purposeful in the way he prays to the Father. I am still meditating on this passage and comparing it with other verses of scripture where Jesus prays, but one thing someone pointed out the other night during prayer meeting, is that Jesus began and ended with God. Notice how he says the prayer:

9 Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

He is very intentional to focus the prayer on the Lord before he even mentions the needs he has, and then He ends the prayer exalting God! I feel so many of my prayers to God have gone straight to what I need without even acknowledging the greatness of God, my dependence on Him, and His majesty. Needless to say, this is something that God has convicted me about. So many of my prayers felt empty and selfish in nature. I know God hears them, but I want to do what brings Him the most glory. A command Jesus mentions before He gives us instruction in prayer is found in verse seven of Matthew six. It says:

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (ESV)

I thought to myself, “How many of my prayers to God, that I feel are selfish and empty, are perfectly described by this verse?” I do find myself repeating much of the same thing over and over in my prayers to the Lord, very similar to the “empty phrases” Jesus was talking about here. So the Lord laid it on my heart to be purposeful and specific when praying to him. As a result, I created a guideline to help me do just that. I want to share it with you, and feel free to use or modify it as the Lord leads you. (Click to download prayer outline)

Prayer Outline

P – Time of Praise

E – Expressing Thankfulness

D – Acknowledge Dependence and Depravity

S – Help to walk in the Spirit

T – Help in guarding against Temptation

R – Personal Requests

I – Intersession

G – Expression of God’s Greatness.

I want to leave you this thought from a Christian Teacher that I pray will challenge you to purposefully and intentionally seek the Lord continually in prayer.

“We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions; much machinery but few results.”  – Reuben Archer Torrey

I pray that we will never again be too busy to pray.

 

As author of this post, I would love to hear feedback from you about the topic of prayer and what God has revealed to you. If you have found this post encouraging, please click the like button, and share with your friends. God bless you!

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About Nathan Hamilton

I am a home schooled, high school graduate, and a graduate from Thomas Edison State College in General Business Management, working at CollegePlus! I love my wife, being a husband, being around people, reading, volleyball, golf, ultimate frisbee, traveling, working, eating healthy, exercising, my Mac, and learning new things. My relationship with Jesus Christ, is the most important relationship I have. He is the one who gives me strength to live every day, and grace to make it through various trials and tribulations. Remember that knowledge of Christ is Good, Belief in Christ is better, but only a relationship with Jesus Christ will save you. View all posts by Nathan Hamilton

4 responses to “Thoughts on prayer

  • Bethany

    Very encouraging post, Nathan. God has been working on my prayer life a lot over the past month and a half. Actually, He has done a huge work of revival and change in my heart, and prayer has just been one area. Maybe sometime I will have the time to tell you more about it. One thing I like to do at the beginning of my prayers is to pray through a Psalm. It helps me to get my mind focused.

    • Nathan Hamilton

      That is really cool! I like the idea of praying through a Psalm. One of my favorites is Psalm 73, and in particular verses 25 through 28. It is sobering to understand how much we neglect prayer and how powerful true prayer really is.

  • SourceofJoy

    Wow, thank you so much! Talk about timing! I’ve been enjoying reading your blog after discovering it recently.

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