The Structure of a Simple Prayer Time
In your quiet time provide time for praise and worship, for petition and for listening to the Lord. Spend some time asking forgiveness for our failures. ACTS is a good acronym to remember, but add listening. A is for Adoration. We should praise God regularly. Praise and thanksgiving are the keys to effective entrance and action in the throne room of heaven. C is for Confession, T is for Thanksgiving, and S is for Supplication. And then don't forget to add listening. The Hebrew word for listening actually means hearing and obeying.
To spend a longer, more meaningful time in prayer, here are some suggestions:
1. Pray aloud. The intimacy of our relation with God is enhanced when we hear ourselves speak to Him. Yes, God can 'hear' our thoughts, but we talk out loud for our sake. My husband, Luigi, likes to say, 'expressing love increases love'. When he says, "I love you", this not only pleases me, but he also confirms the truth for himself. So it is with prayer. When we pray aloud, we are drawn into intimacy with God in a way that purely mental prayer does not.
2. Use a journal to document what transpires in your prayer life.
3. Sing songs of praise and thanksgiving. Sing in tongues.
4. Ask questions of God and expect God to answer. He will. I once asked God if He could love me more than He already does. I fully expected that He would say no, that He already loved me so much, He couldn't love me anymore. But do you know what God said? He said that He could, that I was like a tree beside a flowing river. That if I extended, stretched out my branches in love to other people, then just like the tree could hold more water, then I would hold more of His love. So expect God to answer in the most surprising, unexpected ways. Our relationship with the Lord is an adventure.
So how do we pray? The only way to pray is to JUST DO IT. Not to perfect or complete it, but begin it. Once the car is moving, it is easier to steer it in the right direction, but when the car is stalled, it's much harder to start it up. And prayer is stalled in our world.
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