The Practice of Prayer

If you are a Christ follower, then you know that spending time with the Father through Bible reading and prayer is not a legalistic exercise, but you cherish this practice; it is life to you.

As carelessly as some followers approach reading His Word, there can often be little attention given to prayer unless in a crisis. A Christ-follower can engage with God through the power of His Holy Spirit in prayer. If you only go to God when something immediate is wrong in your life, then you are no better than the characters on a soap opera. I used to watch them, and characters prayed only in a crisis to a god they didn’t know. So, how do we keep from being or becoming people who only pray in crisis?

  1. Expect results. Prayer is a discipline. I know that sounds like “eat your vegetables,” but to get out of “crisis mode only” with prayer, you will need to practice. Now that is not to say you can’t pray at other times. You can pray all day long, anytime. But praying as a choice is necessary to learn how to pray effectively.
  2. Expect to hear from God. We all fear that God might speak to us in our prayer, and we aren’t sure we want to hear what He has to say. But once you pray intentionally, you become fearless. Your faith strengthens and you are willing to accept any instruction, comfort, or guidance He gives. Even if something is hard to hear, you can pray about it.
  3. Expect better relationships. Prayer keeps you honest before God. It stands to reason that if you are honest before God, your relationships will get more honest, and more peace will be produced in your life. Every relationship problem may not be solved, but you will have more peace.
  4. Expect to use the Bible in your prayer time. Use the scripture you read earlier in devotions. Or find a passage particular to your situation. Praying scripture is a submissive choice to agree with God that His Word is true and true for you.
  5. Expect answers to your prayers. God honors those who honor Him and He is waiting to hear from you. The more you pray, the more answers you will get. He will answer prayers that are for your good and His glory which is directly connected to His will for your life.

None of this means that you’ll be spared suffering. God is not a genie. But a fervent prayer life will sustain you in suffering. True followers of Christ will suffer in this life. That is theologically based right out of God’s Holy Word, but your prayer life will give you strength and wisdom for each trial.

Do you need to get on your knees?

I choose to get on my knees because something supernatural happens there. It’s a humble posture; once again, I have no trouble thanking God for who He is. Praise comes out of my mouth easily. I confess my sins. Isn’t this what you’d expect to do in prayer? It goes from being a stiff “have to” step in my quiet time to a desire to know Him and enjoy His presence.

I hope these tips will encourage you to enter into God’s presence with expectation and gladness.

“True prayer is a way of life, not just for use in cases of emergency. Make it a habit, and when the need arises you will be in practice.”

Billy Graham

©Valerie Rumfelt

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The Serenity Prayer

We’ve all heard of the Serenity Prayer. Familiar as the Lord’s prayer to some and part of our culture for decades, yet most don’t know the prayer in its entirety.

We are familiar with the shortened mass-marketed one, seen in every bookstore, on every card table at garage sales, as plaques in thrift stores, and inscribed on mugs across the world. This overproduced version is only a portion of this reflective and meditative prayer.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Have you ever seen the entire Serenity Prayer?

I learned about the full prayer when I began the curriculum of Celebrate Recovery years ago.

The prayers’ author is Rienhold Nieburh and his daughter, Elizabeth Sifton says her father was a deeply committed Christian and social activist. She asserts that he also was an evangelical who believed not so much in liturgical prayers but in prayers that were motivated by the Spirit.

The prayer was not intentionally written for addicts, as it is now mostly applied in our modern times. Alcoholics Anonymous adapted the prayer, but only the first portion of it. Celebrate Recovery has the prayer, in its entirety, in the front of its step books.

A significant discovery I made when exposed to the entire prayer was it gives honor to Jesus. Jesus is the only One who can understand our human suffering. Likewise, He’s the only One who can redeem suffering, though this does require our cooperation through surrender. This is the entire prayer.

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

Perhaps this prayer can serve as a tool for your walk with the Lord. It is not scripture, though scripture can apply to the principles mentioned. It is not magical and carries no power, but it can serve as a reminder of our humanity. Indeed, it clarifies who our Higher Power is, or may I say, who the Highest power is.

His name is Jesus.

For some additional information behind the story, you may enjoy this interview from Nieburh’s daughter from a few years back.

https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4284976

 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41

©Valerie Rumfelt

Please press subscribe and enter your email. It would be my joy to have you as one of my readers. You will receive an email alert each time I publish. Welcome.