We’ll pause learning from the shortest prayers of the Bible to go thru some practical ideas to pray better. If you have a system that works for you, great! But if you’re struggling, here’s some ideas:
Get a notebook. I use a Moleskine 5″ by 8.25″ for note-taking, task-logging, journaling, etc. Yes you can use your phone (trust me, I use mine plenty), but there’s something about pen and paper.
Write it down. When you tell someone “I’ll pray for you” and….. you forget? Remember, “The faintest pen stroke is better than the sharpest memory.”
Use a Mnemonic to pray for different requests each day. We’ll use one from SharingNewHope for example. Today is Sunday, so let’s pray for the Salvation of people who need to know the LORD.
Does God want you to pray for others to be saved? What does God want for people?
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:4
Who can we pray for, that God would work in their hearts?
And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
This leper believed that Jesus could cure his disease. Not that Jesus was an intermediary who could ask God to cure his disease. But that Jesus Himself had the power to make him clean. Yes, Jesus did make the leper clean – because He has the power! The fancy term for all-powerful is “omnipotence.”
As we’re making an extra stop in our day this week to pray at noon, take a moment to thank God for his Omnipotence. He has the power to save you from all of your problems! Nothing is impossible for our God!
Got any rivers you think are uncrossable? Got any mountains, you can't tunnel through? God specialises in things thought impossible He does the things others cannot do! -Oscar Eliason
1And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Sometimes we take prayer for granted. We think highly of ourselves, and lowly of our God. As we’re pausing this week for prayer at noon – take a minute to ponder how big of a gap there is between man and God, and thank God for hearing our prayers!
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
The ten lepers made a short prayer to Jesus, and He answered. The lepers point out to us the power of short prayers, but there’s more!
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus was glad to hear their prayer, but He was also glad to hear their thanks! As we pray – don’t forget to thank God for answered prayer!
And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
Editor’s Note – Spurgeon gives a passionate plea to his church to continue in prayer, noting the blessings in prayer they have received! What a great encouragement to us to end this year and begin the next in prayer!
And, now, I said I would say a word as to why WE ought to pray especially, and that shall close the sermon. Beloved friends, this church ought to pray without ceasing. We have been in years past notable for prayer. If ever a church has prayed it has been this church. I might find many faults with some who hinder prayer, but yet I must say in God’s sight I know and feel that there has been living prayer in this church for many years, and hence it is we have had many years of peace and prosperity.
We have lacked nothing because we have not lacked prayer. I do not doubt we might have had much more if we had prayed more; still prayer has been very mighty here. Now, brethren, suppose you had no pastor, suppose the preacher was gone from you, and that the black cloth upon this pulpit was not for a deceased elder of the church but for the preacher himself, you would pray, would you not? Will you not pray for me then while I live? If you would pray for another to come, will you not pray for me while I am here? I desire to discharge my office before you in God’s sight with all earnestness, but I cannot without your prayers, and as being gone from you, you would lift up many sighs, and you would with prayers ask for a successor, pray for me while I am yet with you.
Beloved, you have prayed very earnestly for the pastor when he has been sick, your prayers have been his consolation and his restoration; will you not pray for him now that he is able to preach the gospel, that his health may be sanctified to God’s service, and the ministry of the truth may be mighty in the winning of souls. I ask it of you, I think I might claim it of you. I do beseech you, brethren, pray for us.
Suppose again, dear brethren, there were no conversions in our midst, would not you pray? And since there are a great many conversions, should that be a reason for leaving off? Shall we worship God the less because he gives us moor? Instead of one prayer which would go up were there no conversions, there should be ten now that he continues to work salvation among us.
Suppose we were divided, and had many schisms, and jealousies, and bickerings, would not the faithful ones pray in bitterness of spirit? Will you not pray since there are no divisions, and much Christian love? Surely, I say again, you will not treat God the worse because he treats you the better. That were foolish indeed.
Suppose we were surrounded to-day with hosts of persecutors, and that error everywhere crept into our midst and did us damage, would you not pray, you who love the Lord? And now that we live in days of peace, and error, though it prowls around, is kept out of our fold, will you not commune with the Lord all the more? I will say yet a third time, shall we pray the less because God gives the more? Oh no, but the better he is to us the more let us adore and magnify his name.
Just now we need to pray, for some are growing cold, and turning to their old sins. We need to pray, for we are doing much for Christ. Every agency is in full work. We want a great blessing upon great efforts. We have had such results from prayer as might make a man’s ears to tingle who should hear of them for the first time: our history as a church has not been second even to apostolic history itself: we have seen God’s arm made bare in the eyes of all the people, and to the ends of the earth the testimony of this pulpit has gone forth, and thousands have found the Savior,-all in answer to many prayers.
Pray, then, without ceasing. O church in the Tabernacle, hold fast that thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Oh, continue to be a praying church that we together; when we shall stand before the judgement-seat of Christ, pastor and people, may not be accused of being prayerless, nor of being slack in the work of the Lord. I earnestly hope all this will tend to make to-morrow’s day of prayer more earnest and intense; but yet more do I pray that at all times all of us may be fervent, frequent, instant, and constant in prayer; praying in the Holy Ghost, in the name of Jesus.
“Pray without ceasing,” for you want a blessing on all the work you are doing. Is it common work? “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.” Is it business? It is vain to rise up early and sit up late, and eat the bread of carefulness, for without God you cannot; prosper.
You are taught to say, “Give us this day our daily bread,”-an inspired prayer for secular things. Oh, consecrate your seculars by prayer. And, if you are engaged in God’s service, what work is there in which you can hope for success without his blessing? To teach the young, to preach the gospel, to distribute tracts, to instruct the ignorant, do not all these want his blessing? What are they if that favor be denied? Pray, therefore, as long as you work.
You are always in danger of being tempted; there is no position in life in which you may not be assaulted by the enemy. “Pray without ceasing,” therefore. A man who is going along a dark road where he knows that there are enemies, if he must be alone and has a sword with him, he carries it drawn in his hand, to let the robbers know that he is ready for them. So Christian, pray without ceasing; carry your sword in your hand, wave that mighty weapon of all-prayer of which Bunyan speaks. Never sheathe it; it will cut through coats of mail. You need fear no foe if you can but pray. As you are tempted without ceasing, so pray without ceasing.
WHY SHOULD WE OBEY THIS PRECEPT? Of course we should obey it because it is of divine authority; but, moreover, we should attend to it because the Lord always deserves to be worshipped. Prayer is a method of worship; continue, therefore, always to render to your Creator, your Preserver, your Redeemer, your Father, the homage of your prayers. With such a King let us not be slack in homage. Let us pay him the revenue of praise continually. Evermore may we magnify and bless his name. His enemies curse him; let us bless him without ceasing. Moreover, brethren, the spirit of love within us surely prompts us to draw near to God without ceasing. Christ is our husband. Is the bride true to her marriage vows if she cares not for her beloved’s company? God is our Father. What sort of a child is that which does not desire to climb its father’s knee and receive a smile from its father’s face? If you and I can live day after day and week after week without anything like communion with God, how dwelleth the love of God in us? “Pray without ceasing,” because the Lord never ceases to love you, never ceases to bless you, and never ceases to regard you as his child.