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If Prayer is a Conversation, Why Do I Do All the Talking?

Our street evangelism ministry was failing. For the third week, no one showed up for the weekend outreach, and in the dim glow of the streetlights, I asked God to continue his work. A few months later, Jeff and I had dinner. The next summer we started praying for Lansing, MI. once a week in his basement. Eight months later, after training and consulting our pastors, we walked into the porn stores and dark, sweaty bars in downtown Lansing, MI on a blustery February Friday evening. We introduced ourselves to our new congregation.

 

We met the owners, employees and bar tenders on Michigan Ave. and promised we would be their pastors. After 4 years of weekly ministry and constant prayer, two bars closed, one of the porn stores burned down, and a few dancers and workers attended our church. Within two more years, the blocks we adopted as our ‘church’ were purchased by a local Christian business association. The entire area was razed, and replaced with a new civic arena, and a family friendly AAA ball park.God is Good. He did exceedingly above anything we could ask, or think.

 

Prayer that moves God’s heart isn’t about running through a laundry list of my needs, wants, and desires. Prayer isn’t about what I think is important, or the Top 10 on my Spiritual To-Do List. Prayer isn’t:

 

  • A cosmic gumball machine, into which I insert my prayers and get what I want back.
  • An exercise to earn God’s love, favor, love or attention.
  • Unloading my cares and burdens on God, on the run.

 

Real prayer is much deeper, and much more costly. Maybe that’s why, in our instant and digital generation, our prayers are so ineffective. Prayer is communing with God and spending time with a Father that loves and longs to meet with us. Intimacy like that takes time. Prayer is spending time listening to, and talking with the One who knows you thoroughly and loves you deeply. Prayer is:

 

  • Setting your heart on what is important to God before pursuing what is important to me.
  • Connecting your heart, mind, soul and spirit to God’s voice, love and will for you.
  • Letting God work in you, so that later, that he can work through you.

 

Here are a few scriptures to help move you toward life changing, heart rending, world shaking prayer.

 

  • Real prayer is Emotional – read Ps 137 and pay attention to the way the writer pours out his raw feelings to his God.
  • Real Prayer is Honest – Read aloud Ps 41 and 42, and consider times when you were burdened, happy, worn out, and trusting. Did you feel free to express these things to your Father?
  • Real prayer isn’t instant. In Dan 9.24ff, Daniel read a promise from God written by Jeremiah nearly a hundred years earlier. He approached God on the basis of this promise, and asks God to keep his promise to release Israel from captivity. According to Dan 10. 1-14, he fasted and prayed for three more weeks before receiving God’s response.

 

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Comment by Tim R. Temple on November 4, 2014 at 10:43am

If you want gifts of the Holy Spirit, you need to ask for them.  Jesus taught that in the Sermon on the Mount, chapter 5.  I have been accumulating gifts over 40 years by asking for them.  I taught that to a disciple, he & his wife asked for prophecy and they both got that gift within the hour!  I became a Christian straight out of the Bible with no church or Christians around.  I hit this same problem.  But I realized since I am now a Christian, all the Patriarchs and Apostles are merely my brothers.  They talked to God and God talked with them.  Therefore, I could ask for the same thing.  I did and waited.  Didn't hear anything conclusive.  Then I remembered the leap of faith.  I claimed that what little I heard was God.  Suddenly I heard loudly "welcome son".  Contact made!   I have used that Word of Knowledge ever since.

When I pray for someone, my first prayer is "Father, teach me to pray, that I may pray according to your will - and watch things happen."  It is amazing what my Heavenly Father will give me to pray.  It always works, because I am praying according to His Will.

Comment by Vicki Normoyle on November 1, 2014 at 7:20pm

Amen!

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