The FIRST of 3 Things Your Pastor Might Not Have Told You About PrayerJan 23, 2023
3 Things Your Pastor Might Not Have Told You About Prayer
My husband is a pastor—and I think he’s a good one. But I have never heard him preach what I’m about to share with you. Now I haven’t heard your pastor preach. So I don’t know if he’s told you these things or not. That's why I make my title "3 Things Your Pastor MIGHT Not Have Told You About Prayer" and not, "3 Things Your Pastor Hasn't Told You About Prayer."
Because these 3 things are so significant, I'm dedicating a blog post to each one. Here is the FIRST think your pastor MIGHT now have told you about prayer...
Has your pastor ever taught you how NOT to pray?
If he’s a good pastor (and I’m sure he is)—he’s most likely taught you how TO pray. He might have even shared an acrostic like ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication)--and that is a GOOD WAY TO PRAY! We can make an entire blog post out of the powerful exercise of the ACTS method of prayer.
Maybe your pastor is really cool, and he’s shared with you the fun tool I like to share that tells you how to spend an entire hour in prayer by breaking the hour up into 5 minute segments. If he hasn't shared this with you, check out (insert link to prayerclinic blog post).
But, has your pastor ever told you how NOT to pray?
Too often we put far too much emphasis on what we are supposed to do when we pray and we give far too little attention on what God does when we pray.
Of course, no one really talks about what happens in that prayer closet.
The War Room movie gave a great description of what took place when Miss Clara prayed. But other than that—most of us don’t have a clue what we’re supposed to do with a few minutes (seriously, 20?!) of prayer.
People come into a relationship with Jesus by asking Him to forgive them of their sins, then they get baptized, and we pat them on the back and tell them to pray and read the Bible. (I have a really hard time with this--here they are fresh on the trail of discipleship and we treat them as if they've just crossed the finish line when they're really just getting started! That's why I wrote this book--one that you really ought to share with your church: Now That You've Been Baptized.
But don't let me get distracted.
Did anyone tell you what to actually DO or NOT DO when you chisel out time to pray?!
And, if they did—did they tell you how to NOT pray?
You might’ve been taught that “Talking to God is just like talking to a good friend. You can say anything, and He understands.”
But did you know that just like you might do with a good friend you can actually say NOTHING and He understands that too?
Do you know how to HEAR God talk back to you when you talk to Him?
Too often we do all the talking and if God were saying something He’d be saying what I’m teaching my granddaughter River to say, “Excuse me…excuse me please," But then, just like her, He might want to yell, "HEY! I want to say something!”
But, we never pause long enough to even consider that God might have anything to say to us when we pray.
I want to challenge you to think about your prayer life as a 2-way conversation.
But not the 2-way conversation I had on my first date with my husband when I filed through 10 questions I prepared beforehand in case the conversation got awkward. We choked down chicken chow mien at the Chinese Kitchen as he gave 3 word answers to each question on my list, and then we just looked at each other like we weren't quite sure how we got there in the first place.
Prayer is a 2-way conversation like the one you have with your very best friend when you’re not thinking about what you’re talking about…you’re just sharing, because you “get” one another, and you know you can share just about anything with each other.
I know, you might be thinking…
“But God’s not sitting across the room from me!”
And, you’re right…he’s not. Not in bodily form.
But He is there. Right there…in the room with you.
Try this. Put a chair in your room and invite God to have a seat—make it a comfy chair—why would God want to sit in an uncomfortable chair to carry on a conversation with you?
Talk to him like you’d talk to your best friend.
And after you’ve said a bit, BE QUIET!
Don’t say a thing.
And when a thought comes to your mind, pay attention to it. Consider the fact that the God who made your noggin, knows how to communicate with it.
Trust your thoughts.
I write mine down. Then, make sure that what you think you heard can be validated in the Bible. We call the Bible God’s Word, and He will never say anything that contradicts what he’s told us in His written word.
I love this quote by Charles Spurgeon when asked,“‘What is more important: prayer or reading the Bible?’ and he responded with, "I ask, ‘What is more important: breathing in or breathing out?’”
When you read your Bible, you are listening to God—Bible reading, Bible study is prayer—it’s the listening and breathing in of God’s thoughts and affections.
Too often, though we read the Bible as if that’s one part of our quiet time routine, and then pray as if that’s another part of our quiet time routine. I’m suggesting that your entire quiet time is prayer! From the time you sit down to the time you stand up you are interacting with, communicating with, enjoying fellowship with Your heavenly Father.
And when you pray, stop trying to say the right things and do the right things and dare to be still and listen.
Psalm 46:10 says,
“Be still and know that I am God.”
There’s something going on when we get quiet and listen.
Practice being still, listening and recording what you hear when you pray.
This is the first of 3 Things Your Pastor Might Not Have Told You About Prayer
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