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Practical Advice for Prayer January 16, 2007

Posted by larrylaz in Recommendations.
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The leaders in the ministry which I serve in at church are reading a book called Speaking the Truth in Love by David Powlison. I have enjoyed its practical wisdom in the area of counseling, and was especially blessed by the chapter I read for this week’s meeting. The title of the chapter is, ‘What will You Ask For?’, and talks about making sure we are praying the right things for those we counsel, and helping them to understand better what they ought to be praying for themselves.

I don’t know about other readers of the blog, but I am sometimes handicapped in my prayers because I just do not know where to start. The needs seem so many, and the time seems so short. I know we are to pray without ceasing, but I am talking about the times where we put everything aside and get on our knees before our Father. In those times, I am often overwhelmed into silence, not knowing where to start.

Powlison writes that the prayers of the Bible can be fit into one of three categories:

1. Circumstantial prayers. These are when we ask God to change our circumstances: healing the sick, business prospering, providing for daily needs, convert lost loved ones, etc. These are all good things that we can pray for, but if our prayers stop there, it tends to cast God as a divine errand-boy who exists to meet our list of desires.

2. Wisdom prayers, in which we pray for God to change us: deepen our faith, forgive our sins, give us greater knowledge of God, help in understanding and living the Scriptures. These also are great prayers, but if we pray only these we can become very self-absorbed in our spiritual lives.

3. Kingdom prayers, where we ask God to change everything by manifesting Himself more fully. Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, Come Lord Jesus…

Not one of these three areas is enough to sustain a fruitful prayer life by itself. For our prayer lives to be truly pleasing to God and beneficial for the Kingdom, all three forms of prayers must be woven tightly, as they are in the Lord’s prayer:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (kingdom prayers). 11Give us this day our daily bread, 12and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (circumstantial/wisdom). 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (wisdom).”

May we be people who pray as Jesus taught us to pray; incorporating circumstantial, wisdom, and Kingdom prayers in our times of communion with Him.

Larry

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