When we look at 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we see that Paul admonished the people to pray without ceasing. The idea that we do this daily can often seem challenging, and to some people it can appear to have a level of monotony. This can be true to some degree. Yet, for me, my intentional focus on daily prayer has been anything but monotonous. Here are some things I’ve learned or gain from my month-long focused praying:
- A Heart That Burns As God’s Heart: The first thing that I gained was a heart that truly burned as God’s own heart burns for the things that I was praying for. I know with all certainty that there are things that happen in the earth that are near and dear to His heart which He desires to see impacted by His own glory. The ways that this is accomplished, in part, is by our prayers. We have to speak into the earth those things that He has already declared in heaven. It is how we bring heaven to heart, His Kingdom to come and will be done, as it is in heaven. It’s what Christ did. It’s what we must do as ambassadors and servants of God.
- A Heart of Gratitude: I always find myself grateful after praying. Often it comes by way of realizing that things are never truly as bad as I may imagine it to be. Prayer puts things in perspective. With greater perspective comes greater clarity, and with that a greater sense of gratitude for who God is and what He has done, is doing, and will do in my life and those around me that I am praying for.
- A Desire To Seek Solutions: Many of the things that I have prayed for are things that I didn’t have an understanding of or how they might be addressed from a practical nature. Praying opens the minds to hear from God for ways to solve things or becoming a part of the solution to a situation.
- A Will To Do: Pray has a way of bringing the courage and boldness to do things. We already know that praying is only one aspect that we are to do in addressing the issues of the world. James the Apostle said that faith without works is dead. He went further to say that he could show his faith by the works he did. Faithful praying should provoke us to action. What good is praying if it never produces a change in you to be an instrument of the change that is needed?
- Greater Consistency: Intentional praying has created a sense of greater consistency in praying. In this crazy fast-paced world in which we live, it can become so easy to get distracted. Yet, intentionally scheduling or establishing a purposeful prayer builds consistency so that you have momentum.
- A Sense Of Communion: The communion I’m talking about here is two-fold. You have communion with God, and you have communion with fellow believers. Over this period that I’ve prayed, I’ve become more at one with God because of the exchange we have over the things being prayed about. I also have a greater communion with those who joined me, because we are in agreement about the focus of our praying. There is accountability and comradery through it.
In all that I have gained in this past month, what I love above it all is that God is proving to me that I can do all thing through Him who gives me strength. There are times when we feel as though we can’t because prior to doing, we haven’t done it. Actually doing it with consistency proves that you are well able.
If you are among those who joined me this past month of October, I’d like to know if you can share with me what things this month of intentional praying has done or meant to you. If you haven’t done so this month, maybe you can speak of another time in which you spent a consistent period of time in intentional praying.
QUESTION: Have you ever set yourself up for intentional praying?