Saturday, January 6, 2018

Prayer- Even When You Don't Know How

The Bible is truly the greatest book I've ever read, and is just as exciting as any thriller, There are twists and turns in stories that I can't comprehend, and I keep a running list of questions that I'm going to need answered when I get to Heaven... or maybe I'll see they were so inconsequential that I'll just forget about them.

I read this morning in Genesis about Sodom and Gomorrah. There are so many things about that story that I find disturbing. The fact that only Lot and his family (wife and two daughters) were considered righteous in the whole city...

when the world had already been destroyed once for lack of righteousness.

The fact that Lot offered up his daughters when the angels came to protect the angels. I mean, I know they were angels, and visitors, but to say, "Here you go, here are my two daughters. Do what you will." And then, I think, that's righteousness???

The whole incest thing with Lot's daughters sleeping with their dad so his lineage could continue- that really blows my mind. And I couldn't help but see how, like Eve, they exaggerated their situation. "There are no men on earth." (Except their was. Abraham was standing across the way watching Sodom and Gomorrah burn up.)

But what really struck me this morning is the power of intercession. All my life, I knew prayer was powerful. My Mamaw Na was a true prayer warrior. I wish I had a dollar for every time I left a patient's room to go home with them saying, "Tell your Mamaw to be praying for me. I know if she's praying God'll hear." (I won't get into HIPAA here. Grandma was ALWAY asking me who was in the hospital. She wasn't being nosy. She just wanted to pray. I'd always have to say, "Nobody I really knew" or "I can't really tell you that information."

Anyway, I have always desired to be that kind of pray-er... but I never have been. I always have good intentions, but if I pray at night I go to sleep and to be honest I usually forget to pray in the mornings. I talk to God throughout the day, but to say that I'm a true intercessor, well, that just wouldn't be the truth.

This year, though, I decided to start a prayer journal. So many people have talked about how they've kept one and they can look back and see how God has moved. So here's what I've done the past few days. I've got a page dedicated to prayer requests. When I see something posted on facebook or someone asks me to pray, I jot down their name and situation. I've added the date at the top (one page is for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th because I didn't have many prayer requests those days). Then, if something is answered (like somebody went home from the hospital), I jot that down next to the request.

The other component is a written prayer every day. I've been trying to do it in the morning, but I'm not going to get legalistic about it. I have a prayer prompt that I found online: Click here. I use that to get me started, and then I just talk to God. A lot of times I feel like I'm just throwing a grocery list of needs at Him, so I really try to add a Scripture or some praise report in, too.

Prayer does change things. If you don't know where to start, it's just like talking to a friend. Just pour out your heart, because He knows it all, anyway. I don't think God minds if we get mad at Him or if we ask Him questions, just as long as we keep the dialogue open.

There's a really good template you can use. It's found in the Bible, where Jesus's disciples ask Him to teach them to pray. If you get stuck praying, use this as a guide. I've done this before in my head, going through and saying the line from the Bible and then making it personal.

"Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by Your name (Hey, God! It's me, Lauren! I'm down here and You're up there but You are with me. You are Holy and Sovereign and indescribable.)

Your Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven (So, this world is pretty messed up down here. We're tired, and looking for Your Kingdom through the return of Jesus. It has to be soon because things are so crazy. And until He comes, may Your Kingdom come through me, as I walk out my life. May others see You in me. Your will be done in my life and in the life of others. Help me stay out of the way.)

Give us this day our daily bread (This is where my part gets long... because I have a lot of needs. But you know my needs before I ask, Lord, and You know what are really my needs and just my foolish desires. Thank You for all You have given me. Help me be content with what I have today."

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. (This one is tough, Lord. Forgive me for my pettiness, my gossip, my bad attitude, my lack of love and joy. Forgive me for my idle talk. Forgive me for getting angry at the person driving slow in front of me. And LOrd, I need supernatural help because I don't like to forgive. I don't like to stop holding grudges... but You've forgiven me and shown me grace. Help me do the same.)

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Temptations are on every corner, and it is so easy to rationalize. Keep me close to You. Protect me and my family and those I love.)

For thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen (It's all Yours, God. You are all powerful. May You get glory from me, Lord. In Jesus's name, Amen).

I've also been writing a prayer for a specific person and at the end of the month I'm going to give them the notebook with those prayers in it.

Because prayer isn't the only thing we can do... it's the best thing we can do. And Abraham proved how God listens because He interceded for Lot and Lot was saved.

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