One of my resolutions in 2014, is to be a more prayerful woman. I thought I’d share some resources I do have, so that it may be for the general benefit of all brethren!
1) Scotty Smith’s prayers, as highly recommended by Tim Keller, Don Carson, Bryan Chapell, and etc etc (in case him sitting on the TGC board isn’t credible enough haha). I would understand if one thinks on first impression that his prayers appear crafted, but I believe they were only so after he decided to make it devotional and for public circulation (accuracy of Scripture is important, etc, hence references – I rarely quote God with 100% accuracy but I think God is forgiving in my personal prayer!). I personally think Smith is a man whose heart beats with the music of grace and praying his prayers with him makes me want to sing of the glory and overwhelming goodness of God – soothed (for it is very much human and practical in the way he talks about everyday matters, i think), challenged, and strengthened by the gospel. I think his prayers make me feel that God is equally interested in hearing our voice as much as we strain to hear His’ in prayer, and invites us to engage with Him as Friend as much as we do Father and King. It strips prayer of any fluffy formalities. The greatest thing? It makes me focus right and see Jesus in the midst of everything – contentment, joy, injustice… discontent in this world, and that the love and grace of Christ is sufficient for all things. Not some things. All things. Being intentional about looking for Jesus on every page means that having understood these, I must communicate with God better in Jesus’ name. Since all of God’s promises find their yes in Him, one must pray those promises with one’s eyes fixed on the Saviour and His purposes. I have learnt, and continue to learn, alot from Smith’s prayers.
Here is this wonderful resource! http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/category/prayer/
2) By God’s grace, earlier last year I had identified the lack of zeal (I felt, at least) in my own prayer life and felt that it needed some major revamp – the prayers of my mentors then made me think about my own prayers and how that impacted upon my fellowship and communion with the God whom we call Abba Father. Hence began the sincere scouting then for reasons we pray/how we should pray.
I believe John MacArthur expounds excellently on the Scriptural matter of prayer. I do have a running joke (with a measure of seriousness), that all friends s/he who do agree with me on prayer as expounded here, I consider lifelong friends. Here it is
1. Pray Boldly http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/42-157/pray-boldly
2. God’s generous response http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/42-158/gods-generous-response-to-boldness-in-prayer (Handsdown best sermon I listened to in 2013!!!)
Drawing from Luke 11, MacArthur talks what persistent, believing wrestling prayer could achieve, and the role of the Holy Spirit in prayer (which I believe is the main reason for public prayer/ prayer in twos or more). It serves the function I believe of mutual edification, and the moving of the Spirit as shared between believers, a seal of God’s children. I think that we should definitely quote God in our prayers to Him (a happy discovery for me when I felt my own words unable to convey/express my thoughts).
3) I had come across this helpful resource two years ago and forgot about it, but I remember the bit on giving thanks for daily bread being really convicting and so found it again via googling that particular bit! I must say however that I do not pray the Lord’s prayer as often as I should, this conversation is hence a good reminder too. Ray Stedman http://www.raystedman.org/thematic-studies/prayer/when-prayer-becomes-personal
My prayer life is constantly under construction. I have the habit of writing down my prayers because I think it helps me focus (I tend to ramble on and drift away if otherwise) and I can go back and tick the boxes! I love writing ‘Answered!’ next to requests! Who doesn’t 😉 and God has been very gracious (one of these answered prayers being how I even embarked on this journey and ontowards Durham).
For the missionary-to-be, World Prayer by OMF International is an excellent resource, wherever in the world God decides to post you. Prayer is indeed incredibly important, friend, very much to the missionary, and the devil I believe would try all means to discourage one from praying, or praying well in spiritual warfare.
One must keep the fire of the passion for lost souls burning!
May we never bask in the sin of prayerlessness 1 Samuel 12: 23… It is most excellent reason to master the art of prayer!
and by the grace of God, friend, thou will, I believe!
I have yet been updating this regularly, having been away, but I do promise that I would find time to share about an incredible missionary attachment experience I have had in Cambodia as 2013 dovetailed into 2014. I sit here however mulling over essays due once the school term reopens, and am working in steadfast faith.
I cannot wait for the Sabbath – perhaps that shall be a good day.
Shalom! The LORD is with you!