Pray, pray, pray….. as Christians, we are told over and over that we need to continually pray.
But….in your prayers don’t use vain repetitions to be sure that your prayer is heartfelt….Oh, and you need not worry about what you say, God knows your heart…And, you should be growing in your prayers…Also, be sure to pray for the Father’s will….Oh, and do this without ceasing every day for the rest your life.
While all of these suggestions can be based on scripture, did you just read all that and feel an overwhelming sense of defeat? How can I pray every day for the rest of my life without saying the same words over and over, trusting that God understands my heart, being sure that my prayers are heartfelt, an expression of the Father’s will, and producing spiritual growth? It may sound contradicting to instruct all these things at the same time in regards to prayer, however, they are all sound in advice and can be accomplished if you learn to pray by the word.
To pray by the word you specifically taylor your prayer towards what you know or have learned from scripture. To be consistent and intentional about this daily, I suggest you pray directly after you spend time in the word. In your prayer, focus your words in proclaiming to God a summary of what you just read, how it relates to what you know and your understanding of His will, and how you will apply this revelation in your Christian walk. In short, think of the words summary, relation, and application to pattern your prayers in this way.
Establishing this habit will train you to confidently proclaim God’s desires and His promises any time you need to pray. Keep in mind that praying by the word will not only help you grow in prayer, but implant the word within your heart so that you will not be a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the word since this focused reflection will be your guide to abstain from wickedness and put the spotlight on each day’s opportunities for good.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:21-25
Prayer by the word you just read:
My God, You have given us Your word that saves from evil. We must be doers of Your perfect law and not forgetful by implanting it in our hearts and acting upon it so that we will be blessed in what we do.
It is right to give You honor in this way as You have been faithful in doing everything You have promised in redeeming us through Jesus as foretold through Your word.
Each day I will devote time in study and prayer so that Your word will be implanted within me as I lay aside all wickedness. Forgive me where I have failed in forgetting Your word by _________. I ask You to open my eyes to the opportunities to share the gospel and serve others as I choose to be a doer of Your word and not a hearer only. Today I will serve [specific name/names] by [specific actions]. Thank You for these opportunities. In Christ, Amen.
Truth in love,