Thursday, September 11, 2014

Greater Peace and Direction through More Powerful Prayer

Greater Peace and Direction through


More Powerful Prayer

We all see powerful inspirational pictures about prayer, like this one above, that in the moment give us a feeling of peace and a boost to tackle the day, but then later when we actually get around to praying we struggle to find any real spiritual direction.  Intrinsically, we know there is power in this simple act, but on a day to day basis we rarely feel like we tap into any of that.

Does this sound familiar? 

Well, this was me before the death of my husband.  

Personal prayer was more of obligation that I knew I should be doing... and I did, most of the time, even if it was in my bed as I drifted off to sleep, or in the car on the way to go running in the morning.  Honestly, prayer wasn't a huge priority.  If everything was going well, it was something I didn't really feel a need for.  It wasn't until I had a big problem that I would spend the time to have consistent heart-felt prayers.  Those prayers were mostly for help, and after the problem was solved,  I quickly faded back into my old routine of abbreviated and rushed prayers.

Then a problem happened that couldn't just be solved....  
My husband died.
All of the sudden my whole life was a problem that I couldn't solve.  Because there were no quick answers, my heart-felt prayers continued and I learned something I had never discovered before...

Prayer isn't just for solving big problems.
Prayer can give you guidance and direction everyday. 
I had a lot of pride and lack of humility to break down before God could get me to discover that... to get me to realize that I really did need His help and direction, and not only did I need it, but that I was a better person when I had it... to discover that I could do more things with His help than I could alone.

Through this process, I have completely change the purpose and how I format my morning and evening prayers.

 This change has given me the ability to get the direction 
that leads to greater peace in my life.

This is what I want to share with you. 
My hope is that you can discover this principle in an easier way than I did.

Morning Prayers:

Purpose: This is my "report for duty" time. I let the Lord know that I want to be of service to Him today.  I ask to know how to best use my time so that I can accomplish the tasks that 'He' thinks are most urgent.  (This is a huge change for me.  I used to ask for help to do what 'I' wanted to do.  I never bothered to find out if my desires were inline with what 'He' wanted me to do. This simple change of verbiage gives the Lord my will and lets Him direct me.) 

Things I always include:
  1. I ask that Satan will have no power over me. (I put on my protective gear)
  2. I express gratitude (This helps me feel love for God and lets me feel the spirit better, it opens my spiritual ears)
  3. I express my desire to serve Him and ask for direction and help to do that. ("Here am I, send me" Isaiah 6:8)
  4. I ask for the ability to prioritize correctly. (Good, Better, Best- I know I need to do the Best things first and not just get stuck on the Good)
  5. I think over the people I will come in contact with and the people that I could reach out to.  (I actually have a list that I keep on a sticky note on my computer.)  
    1. As I think of those people, I jot down anything that comes to mind. (I keep paper or my phone next to me when I pray, and yes, I stop to write things down.  I know it's a bit unconventional, but it works! Just try it. God always will give you more specific directions if you are going to write them down.  He knows our memories are just not as good as His!)
    2. I always do people before tasks because in the end, relationships matter more than things. Helping people, not accomplishing tasks brings me greater peace and joy.
  6. I think of the tasks I need to do and ask for the help and time to do them in addition to the things He wants me to do.
  7. I ask for help making the improvements I noted the previous night (see below.)
Now that I have my 'to do list' I am ready to get to work.  

Throughout the day, I will say little prayers in my mind to ask for the spirit as I am helping someone, to have clarity and guidance, to find an answer in my scriptures, for help for someone else that comes to my mind, or to thank Him immediately for help given, etc.  This kind of prayer, a prayer in my heart (1 Kings 8:38), keeps me 'in-tune' all day long and lets me feel the spirit.  Sometimes I get little course changes when I do this, and I have learned it is very important to either write those down or to do them immediately.  Acting on those directions shows God that He can trust me and has caused Him to give me more and more directions.  

At first I thought of one or two things to do in the day.  If this happens to you, don't feel frustrated.  This is your apprenticeship.  God is seeing if you will actually do the job you just volunteered to do.  Once He sees that you are consistent in following those directions, He will give you a great number of directions and the magnitude of those directions will increase.  We work our way up in responsibility as we prove ourselves trustworthy.

NOTE: (Super Important)  I have to keep the spirit will me to hear those directions!  If I put myself in places or do things that distract from the spirit, then I loose the power and direction it brings me.

  The spirit will always speak by putting thoughts in 
your mind or feelings in your heart.
  
If it is a good thought or feeling, then it is from God. Have faith and act on it no matter what!  


Evening Prayers: 

Purpose: This is my "return and report" session. I let the Lord know how the day went and I accept His suggestions for improvement.  I ask for forgiveness and commit to improvement the next day.  (This actually helps to put my mind at ease and helps me to sleep more peacefully.  I put my spirit to rest before I put my body to rest.)

Things I always include:
  1. I express gratitude as I think over the events of the day and I recall the specific ways that I received help, guidance and direction. I thank Him for the opportunity of being His servant. (Again this helps me feel love for God and lets me feel the spirit better, it opens my spiritual ears)
  2. I ask Him to help me know the specific ways I need to change and how to be better. 
    1. I think back over my day again and I make mental note of the things I need to do differently.  (Warning: This is a very humbling experience.  It can be very brutal to see all of your flaws!)
    2. I ask forgiveness for those things that I did wrong and for the mistakes that I made.  I commit to the Lord to be better tomorrow. (Depending on the problem, I may discuss my plan for improvement)
  3. I pray specifically for people that I know need extra help.
  4. I take time to listen and to absorb the feeling of peace that comes from a day well spent and good things done.
Since I starting praying in this way,
 my prayers have taken on new depth. 
I feel to fall to my knees more often to thank God for the many blessings He has given me.  My relationship with Him has deepened and I find greater peace and powerful direction as I turn to Him in prayer.

P.S.  This is a lot to remember.  Printing this out to review before your prayers, may help you develop the habit.  In a few weeks, it will become easier to remember to pray this way.  Hope this helps you.  Please come back and share how praying this way helped you.


3 comments:

  1. I am actually at a House of Prayer right now renewal and refreshing from God. I let the world start controlling my thoughts and emotions and before I know what was happening my life was a mess. I will soon be writing a post about my experience here in a week if seclusion and silence. Glad I'm not the only one feeling they had lost their direction.

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    Replies
    1. Look forward to reading what you learned :)

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  2. My mind is so cluttered with day to day nonsense that it is extremely difficult to calm my thoughts. I often think of the movie with Tom Cruise and Nichole Kidman "Far and Away" Where his Father comes back from the dead to tell his that he has "all sorts of oddities clattering around in his brain" and that he's "odd". Bahahaha I struggle with this daily. Thank you so much for this post I desperately needed it today more than ever. :)

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