Summary: Prayer is a powerful tool when we use it.
Just Say It and Pray It
Prayer is a poweful tool in our spiritual arsenal, when we choose to use it. Sometimes we are apt to save our prayers for times of crisis, but as we’ll see today prayer is meant for everday and every situation of your life.
Pray in the face of trouble. No matter what size the trouble. Believe me, God is interested in all that is on your mind. Pray about finances, pray about schedules, pray about vehicle trouble, pray about sickness. No matter what the problem is, take it to the Lord.
Pray when things are great. Tell the Lord what a great day you’ve had. Tell Him how good you feel. Thank Him for letting you get up this morning. Thank Him for your family and your friends. Don’t just load the Lord up with the problems...but tell Him the good things as well. Nothing is too big or too small, He wants to hear it all.
Pray with others and for others. One of the greatest sources of comfort I have, is knowing that others are praying for me regularly. God will work through your prayer life, to touch the lives of others. I want to encourage you, if you are not already doing so, to begin praying for your neighbors on all sides. You will be amazed at the way God works through your prayers. I think it is key that we talk to God about others, before we talk to others about God. I find my interactions with others are much more fruitful when directed by Him.
James also encourages us to address sin issues. As we all know, unconfessed sin is a hinderance to our prayer life and our walk with the Lord. The key to dealing with sin is that we address it and confess it. Let me explain what I mean. How many of you are guilty of praying something like this: "Dear God, please forgive me of all the bad things I did today." I call that a blanket prayer. We try to cover up individual sins with a blanket prayer. When I was a kid, and I knew my room was a mess and that my mom was coming to inspect, I would throw my toys on the bed and and throw the blanket over them. The actual mess was not dealt with, it was just covered over. Psalms 32 gives us a great example of the confession of each and every sin. If you are unsure of hidden sin, ask God to reveal hidden sin in your life...take a sin inventory. Not only should we confess our sin to God, but we need to confess it to those we’ve wronged. Until we control our sin, it controls us.
We should also pray for one another. Ask God to strengthen your brothers and sisters in Christ. Ask Him to show you needs that you can meet in the lives of others. Not only should we lift one another up in prayer, but we should hold each other accountable. Proverbs tells us that "just as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen the countenance of another." Accountability helps us to stand strong even when we don’t want to, because we know that others will be checking up on us.
Encourage others in their walk with Christ. Be willing to share not only your successes, but also your failures. By sharing of yourself, you can help others avoid mistakes. Remind one another of cause of Christ on which we all base our lives. Encourage each other to stay fervent and diligent in prayer.
Remember that time before the Lord is never time wasted. No matter what is on your heart, verbalize it to God, He is waiting to hear from you.