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. 🙂


  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.

Revelation Resources

Revelation Resources

If you’re ready to jump in and study Revelation, but would like some resources to provide context, check out the books below for supplemental reading. These books have helped me get a clearer idea of different views on Revelation, points of thought when thinking of eschatology (study of future things), and shaping my view of the God who provided us this prophecy.


God With Us by Glenn R. Kreider

Eschatology: Biblical, Historical, and Practical Approaches by D. Jeffrey Bingham and Glenn R. Kreider

Four Views on the Book of Revelation by Stanley N. Gundry and C. Marvin Pate

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond by Darrell L. Bock

Three Views on the Rapture by Stanley N. Gundry and Gleason L. Archer Jr.

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Dispensationalism by Charles C. Ryrie

Progressive Dispensationalism by Craig A. Blaising and Darrell L. Bock



When preparing for a Bible study or simply reading the Bible for your own quiet time, you will stumble on questions you don’t have the capacity to answer. Don’t let it stop you from reading! We live in a fantastic age of on demand resources that can help you in your scripture pursuits.

Below are the resources I use most often when I’m feeling stumped by scripture:

1. Lumina: This site is awesome! Not only can you look up scripture in your preferred translation, but on the right side of the screen is pretty much any information you could possibly want for whatever scripture you’re reading. There are five tabs on the right side of the screen to help with your study. The tabs are labeled, “Notes”, “Bibles”, “Greek/Hebrew”, “Library”, and “Search”.

Under the “Notes” tab, there are the footnotes for your chosen Bible translation, there’s the option for Constable’s notes, and then a place for your own personal notes. Dr. Thomas L. Constable has written a commentary for every book of the Bible, among other achievements. For more information on him, click this link and it will take you to a short career biography. His commentaries are excellent and have answered many questions for me.

The “Bible” tab allows you to read different translations parallel to each other. The “Greek/Hebrew” tab lets you see the scripture you’re reading in Greek or Hebrew. If you have a question about how a word was translated, you can hover over the English word and the site will highlight where that word is in the Greek or Hebrew text. A definition of the word will pop up at the bottom of the screen.

I love this site and it’s what I use the majority of the time when writing a Bible study.

2. Pick Your Favorite Pastor: This resource caters a little bit more to your own preference. When I’m writing a Bible study, I like to hear other pastor’s takes on the book or topic I’m writing on. It helps my mind process and keeps me thinking on the subject throughout the day. My favorite pastor to listen to is Tommy Nelson from Denton Bible Church. I like him because he teaches straight through a book of the Bible. If I have a question on a particular chapter in a specific book, it’s almost certain that he has a sermon on it. I also trust his interpretation of scripture.

I don’t listen to sermons to steal material. I listen to it for inspiration and clarification on work I’m already doing. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel or make up a meaning to scripture you have a hard time understanding. There are some well-seasoned pastors who have done a lot of the work for you. Look to them for direction when you feel like you’ve hit a wall in your study.

3. Read More: Sometimes a scripture can be difficult to understand because there were points made in previous chapters of the book that led to the particular topic. When you read around the text of choice, it will oftentimes lead you to the meaning of what you’re reading.

4. Pray: Ask God to show you what He wants you to see in the scripture. Don’t feel like you have to force an answer from Him right when you ask. God may lead you to the answer through one of the resources listed above.

Obviously this list is not exhaustive, but this is the basic approach I take when stumped. What are some of your go-to methods when you need answers? Comment below if you have suggestions or questions!

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!

Planning Your Study Schedule

When you are prepping for your next Bible study, it’s important to get the details worked out ahead of time. In the midst of the Bible study you will get busy and will thank your past self for doing the hard work before the study begins. So what’s involved in creating a solid structure for your Bible study? Welcome to the three T’s of planning.

Table! Theme! Time!

Table: The Trees Before the Forest

Deciding what route you’re going for the study is essential when putting together the schedule. The details are what make creating a schedule easy.

If you decide to go the exegetical direction and teach through a book of the Bible, you’ll need to chart the book first, and then use the subsections to schedule out the study. I’ll put a post out soon on charting books of the Bible. It’s tedious, rewarding work and totally worth it!

If your study is topical, think on the main points you want to get across and write them down. Topical studies are great because you can pray through what your group would need to hear and be interested in. Then, you can go as detailed or broad as you like. For more information, take a look at my post on choosing a topic.

Theme: What’s your main message?

The work you do by charting your book or praying through your topical study will get you to your main theme. This is the forest view.

If you are doing a Bible chart, it will lead you directly to the theme of the book. All you need to do at that point is word it in a way that will draw people into your study. For example, once charting the book of James, you may find that the theme of the book is, “Stand Firm”. However, when forming it into a theme for your study, you may title it, “Know Yourself”. You will be communicating the message of standing firm but in a context that may draw more of a picture for your audience.

For a topical study, you’ve basically chosen the theme, but like with the Bible chart, you’ll need to depict the theme in a way that reaches your audience. Look at the points you have created and organize them into a cohesive flow. Find that one main message that ties them all together.

Time: How long is your study going to be?

Once you have your main theme and the subsections of that theme, you can adjust them to any length of Bible study. If you’re doing a six week Bible study, take the top tier subsections of your theme and there are your topics for each week! If it’s a twenty week study… no problem! You have the material for it! Doing the detail work upfront will help you out in the long run. Keep the work you’ve done for later use.