Great Prayers-A A +A
Friday, February 21, 2014
I BROUGHT two books with me on a recent trip out of town. Sad to admit, but one I did not even open, the other, I did not get to finish.
Nevertheless, I am eager to share excerpts and ideas from the one I am still reading. I am about halfway through and I intend to finish “Good to Great in God’s Eyes” by Chip Ingram.
In the book, he mentions 10 ways to be great.
Let me list the first five:
1. Think Great Thoughts
2. Read Great Books
3. Pursue Great People
4. Dream Great Dreams
5. Pray Great Prayers.
I would like to focus on my weakest point, the 5th, “Pray Great Prayers.”
Through the years, the acronym ACTS, has been a good guide for praying.
Adoration. Contrition. Thanksgiving, and Supplication. However, I admit missing out and having a lack of “A” and “C” when I pray. And I do have an “overdose” of “S” (Supplication), always asking! I have focused too much on “Ask and you shall receive...” Though He still fulfills His promise, I realized how self-centered my prayers have been.
Asking with faith and claiming His promise is like being given a spiritual extension credit card with “Jesus Christ” as the principal cardholder – thus, with an unlimited credit line. Of course, just like when we use credit cards, we should act and ask responsibly. God will not give us what is wrongful and does not help fulfill our life purposes. The wrongful acts we commit are not His will, but our will. (Pls. read the Feb. 8 article on “God’s Will”)
Some characteristics of Great Prayers are:
1. Deeply Personal – flows from a passion to know and please God.
Talk to the Lord as you would to your own earthly father. The “Lord’s Prayer”, which addresses our God as “Abba – Father” aptly describes the relationship we should have, a “Father-Son” relationship.
Many verses from the bible, when said from the heart, can form part of our communication with the Lord.
Have a desire to develop a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus that starts from KNOWING Him.
Leading family prayers, doing morning and nightly prayers, are good opportunities to build the relationship. Setting aside time for the Lord is essential. (Remember that, Michael!)
Very often, great prayers are born from Brokenness. They flow from a desperate situation. This comes from a feeling of helplessness, overwhelming remorse, grief or confusion that forces us to surrender to Him completely.
I believe that my most powerful prayers came when I was down on my knees in utter surrender, while claiming, “What is impossible for me, O Lord, is possible with you!”, and “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17).
I have experienced so many “miracles” and situation reversals after said moments of total surrender to His will, wherein I am “forced” to acknowledge my insufficiency and nothingness, and bow down to His agenda and His plans, to His holiness and power.
This humility is absent when we feel mighty, powerful, self-sufficient, proud of our gifts, talents, achievements, and worldly treasures.
2. Champion God’s agenda – seek what God wants done in the world more than what we want done in our lives. Ask big things from a big God, not for our glory, but for His glory.
3. Center on the Promise, not the Problem – constant repetition of our problems could get us absorbed and overwhelmed by them. We make the problems seem bigger and God, smaller. Rather, look at God thru His promises and our faith grows. We begin to see Him respond to them.
Instead of, or in addition to:
a. “Lord, we do not have enough money again for our food and for our rent”, pray: “My God, I know you will supply all my needs according to Your riches in glory” (based on Phil. 4:19)
b. “Lord, Hindi ko na kaya”, pray: “Lord, your grace is sufficient for me, and your power is made perfect in my weakness.” (claim His promise in 2 Cor. 12:9)
c. “I am raising my children alone”, pray: “ Lord, I know you are with me always.” (claim His commitment in Matthew 28:20)
It may be “scary”, but the “danger” in great prayers is that when you and I intercede with God on behalf of others, His response to us may be to ask US to intercede with others on His behalf. Thus, pray to be READY, to TRULY act on behalf of God for others.
Finally, quoting E.M. Bounds, an American pastor in the late 1800’s, “What the world needs most are people who pray, not people who talk about prayer or explain it, but who actually do it.” (Michael, pray!)
My Dearest Children,
I pray, now with a better insight on how to pray great prayers, that you will each Think Great Thoughts, Pursue Great Dreams, Read Great Books, Pursue Great People, and Pray Great Prayers.
In faith, Ask the Improbable, Expect the Impossible, and Receive the Unthinkable.
Ask responsibly, even if not realistically.
May your prayers be great, and may they be answered, in Jesus mighty name, I pray.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 22, 2014.