The Prayer Room – part two
by Ron Hughes
On Monday Ron Hughes gave us an overview of prayer discussing the biblical background of prayer and exploring prayer in detail.
Today Ron discusses practical tips to help us enhance our prayer lives.
Over the years, I’ve collected some practical tips to enhance my prayer life. I hope you will find them useful.
✦ Be specific. God is glorified by our gratitude for the things He does for us. When we are specific in our prayers, we can see specific answers, and we’ll give specific praise.
✦ Listen as much as you talk. One-sided conversations are singularly dissatisfying for the listener. Take time to listen for God’s voice as you pray. He may have some things to say.
✦ Confess your sins. Sin always interferes with our intimacy with God. If you are serious about listening to God, He’ll bring to your mind the sins that are getting in the way.
✦ Be patient. We are usually in a bigger hurry than God is. Understand that He not only has the right to answer in His time, He will answer only in His time. Timing is part of His answer.
✦ Use a list. A list is useful for overcoming memory weaknesses and recording answers. Over time, as you align your will with God’s, it will change from a prayer list to a praise list.
✦ Pray aloud. Verbalizing our prayers has real benefits. When we discipline ourselves to form words and speak them aloud, we’ll find it easier to stay focussed on the things we are trying to present to the Lord.
✦ Pray for inner change. Frequent, sincere prayer regarding the “restricted areas” of your life is crucial if you are going to become more like the Lord Jesus. Ask God to make you the person He intends for you to be.
✦ Pray with faith. Faithless prayer is an oxymoron. The key here is to remember that our faith is in God, not in a specific outcome which we have decided will be best. Let God choose the best outcome. His will be better than ours!
Because of our tendency to sin, even a serious approach to prayer can be tainted. This emphasis may lead to our limiting prayer to a structured time and form. But prayer needs both spontaneity and structure. We lose out if we practise one at the expense of the other. Prayer can also degenerate into the subjective ramblings of a dissatisfied soul trying to get God to give it what it wants. In some cases, prayer can also be pressed into service as a vehicle of self-promotion in the Christian community, used as nothing more than a mechanism for showing off our supposed spiritual depth in public.
A word of encouragement
I hope I’ve communicated that prayer is not one of those things in which we observe one-to-one relationships (as in when I say this, God does that). Prayer is a conversation characterized by both communication (in both directions) and a deepening of the relationship between the participants.
Ron Hughes is president of FBH International , a multi-language media ministry and maintains an active itinerant speaking ministry in churches and conferences. Ron is a professional member of The Word Guild and has one published book, Refresh: 19 ways to boost your spiritual life, and is working on several other writing projects. Much of his writing is published on the ministry website and has been used in radio broadcasts.
Ron has been married to Debbie since 1976. They have four children, one of whom is married. They live on a 100 acre farm in the Niagara region which they share with a few horses, chickens, cats and a dog. He is also involved with an outreach site called Talk on the Way.