The Art of Prayer

The Art of Prayer

Hey all!

I’m currently working on training materials for a ministry I’m developing. When looking for volunteers in ministry, it’s important to me that they have a vibrant walk with God. How can people reach and inspire others for the gospel if they feel empty themselves?

I’ve posted below what I’m calling an evaluation and self discovery exercise. If you’d like to fill it out and send me feedback that would be awesome and super helpful! I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions. 🙂

PRAYER EVALUATION AND SELF DISCOVERY

  1. Give three words to describe your prayer life currently.

 

 

  1. Write below why you chose those three words.

 

 

 

  1. Do you feel like God’s love and engagement with you is conditional based on your prayer life? Whether yes or no, why?

 

 

 

 

  1. What three words would you like to use to describe your prayer life?

 

 

  1. Write below why you chose those three words.

 

 

 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul encourages his readers to pray without ceasing. This could bring to mind a seemingly impossible task of speaking to God every second of the day. However, I believe this kind of praying without ceasing to be a state of being, rather than an ongoing essay of sorts. God has given each of us unique ways to communicate with Him. We are not all the same. Some people love to journal their prayers, others like to go on prayer walks and speak with God or sort through their thoughts with Him, some like to sing prayer and praises to God, and others use art to express their feelings and desires. There are ways I cannot even think of because I don’t know you and how God made you!

  1. Write down some of your strengths, gifts, or pleasures below. What do you enjoy doing?

 

 

  1. How could you incorporate these into your prayer life? Prayer is all about engaging with God. He is not limited to one form of communication!

 

 

 

Another element of prayer is surrender. We cannot fully experience the freedom of God’s grace until we give Him our weaknesses, obstacles, and troubles. After becoming a Christian, it’s all too natural to continue carrying the weight of our responsibilities, dreams, and issues. When we do that, we are missing out on one of the greatest gifts of salvation! Accepting Jesus as Savior begins an adventure of trusting God in every step and having Him work through us. It’s all very exciting.

Jesus urged His listeners and disciples to not worry or be anxious. The apostle Paul followed that same thought in his letter to the Philippians, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Prayer places you under the protection of the peace of God. This peace can only come through Jesus Christ. Any time you are struggling with an emotion, specific life situations, or fear over upcoming obstacles, surrender it to God! He will accomplish His work through you and take care of you. As you watch God do this for you on a daily basis, the prayer without ceasing will flow from you naturally. You will find yourself living in the joy of God’s peace more and more with those worries and troubles having less of a hold on you.

Once you start consistently experiencing the joy and peace of God, there will be times when you once again feel overpowered by life. Do not be discouraged! Do what you did at the beginning. Surrender! We are not perfect. That’s why we need Jesus. Our imperfections are a reminder of our need. Our times of fear and pain bring us back to God if we have wandered off a bit. We need these negative emotions to warn us when we’ve gone outside of God. Don’t run from them, but embrace them and take it all to God.

Keeping It In Context

Topical Bible studies are tricky, because instead of letting a book of the Bible speak, you’re needing scripture to back up your point. A lot of pastors preach mainly topical sermons – and that’s fine – the important thing is that you don’t make scripture absurdly relevant to your current message.

We’ll use Acts 16:25-34 since it was the scripture referenced in this week’s study.

An example of twisting scripture to make your point would look something like this: We are Paul and Silas. We are imprisoned for our Christian faith. However, we know that God is going to send His angel down to break open those prison doors.

Here’s the problem, you and your group are not literally Paul and Silas. And I’m guessing the chance is very slim that y’all are shackled in a first century prison in Philippi. Plus, the troubles you’re experiencing could hang with you to kingdom come.

The key is finding timeless truths. Paul and Silas were experiencing persecution due to the impact they were having on the town for Jesus. They were a light in the dark. God came through for them because He is faithful.

As Christians, the truth is that we will experience forms of darkness. It could be persecution, it could be difficulties in home or work life, or it could be the struggle we face with our own character defects. Whatever it is, the next truth is that we are a light in any darkness because of Jesus. And third truth is that we can have hope because God is faithful. He was faithful to Paul and Silas and He will be faithful to us. It may not look the same. We may not see an angel busting down some prison doors, but we know we can trust God with any circumstance. He knows what He’s doing.

We don’t have to force ourselves into the Bible. We can be amazed by scripture without turning the whole Bible into an allegorical tale. So, when looking for scripture to use for your Bible study, find timeless truths that connect with the truth you’re looking to communicate in your study. You’ll get to share an awesome story and make your point at the same time!