pray

The ABC's of Prayer Time

So it’s that time of night again, where I’m tucking my kids into bed and it’s time to pray.  As I prayed with them I began to hear a pattern of “rehearsed” prayer that I could hear was not really about communion with God, but was more about making mom happy.  

Their prayer started with the same words, and now was being said in a fast & lifeless way, “God, thank you for this day, please help me….”

The verse from Matthew 15:8 (NIV) jumped in my mind that says, “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.“   Where were their hearts?  Hmmm…then I had to ask myself, "Where is my heart when I’m praying?”  (Don’t you love how kids do that?… make you examine yourself also!)   

So much of their prayer time (and sometimes my own!) is on what they want God to DO for them… the “making their requests known to God!”  'God help me with this’; ‘God make me better at that’; 'God please give me (fill in the blank)’. 

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 As a mom I knew that while it is good and right to make our requests made known to God, I also know it is a detriment if we miss out on all the other aspects of prayer time with God.  If my children only talk to God to “get stuff,” they will be missing the greatest blessing of prayer–  spending time with God and truly knowing Him!  Plus, it begs the question, “How will they feel when God doesn’t answer their prayers the way they prayed for Him to?”   If the purpose of their prayer is to get stuff, then what will keep them coming back to God if He in His infinite wisdom determines to not answer their prayer the way they asked?  

It is my desire that my children fall deeply in love with God and that they learn to “pray without ceasing”. I want them to communicate with Him regularly and to focus on HIM…not just on what they want from Him.  How could I help them with this?

Well, Julie Van Gorp (my ministry partner) shared with me something she’d heard and applied in prayer to keep the focus on God. It’s called, ’ The ABC’s of Prayer.’

So here’s what I asked them to do:   When you begin your prayer I want you to focus on WHO God IS and go through the ABC’s in your mind and come up with a character trait of God for each letter of the alphabet.  For example:

A- God is All powerful/Almighty

B- God is beautiful

C- Creator of all things

D- Deliverer

E- Everlasting 

F- Father

G- Good Shepherd

H- Holy…..etc…

It wasn’t long before my children and I began to spend far more time focusing on WHO God is and praising Him for His Character and Nature than on our requests.  Then, when they were making their requests they had already been reminded of WHO He is, which makes WHAT He decides to DO with our request all the more acceptable and filtered through His loving, perfect nature.

I want them to love God for WHO He is and not just for WHAT He can do for them.  His character never changes; however you never know what he’s going to DO next!

Focus on the ABC’s the next time you pray and let us know how it helps you to focus on God!  

Written by: Jamie Shaver

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How To Experience Spiritual Revival

The foundations of our nation are crumbling: we are experiencing moral collapse everywhere we look.Many are crying out for revival—or healing—in our land. How can we create revival? 

There can be no revival without true repentance.

Repentance cannot come until we humble ourselves and see our sin in light of a Holy and Just God who created us and made us for His pleasure and for His purposes (Isaiah 43:7-9). If we wish to see revival in America it must begin with admitting:

  • - I am a sinner in need of Jesus as my Savior
  • -Confession of my own sin

When was the last time that you spent time considering God and asking Him to convict you of your sin?If you desire change in our land, have you considered that the change that brings revival must first begin in you?

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Years ago I used to wonder why God did not change the problems in my life, in our nation, and in the world. As I came to know Him better through spending time in His Word, I realized that God has given us the prescription for change.

It can be found in 2nd Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. “ Amplified version

This is an admonition to “My people”—to God’s people, not to the world in general.It assumes that God’s people—those who claim to know Him and choose to be aligned with Him—have gone astray.It is imperative that we as the Church:

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  • Quit looking to others to change in order for revival to come upon our land
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  • Open up our eyes, humble ourselves, and realize that we are the ones who have turned from God

After meditating on that verse, I have made it a daily practice to ask God to reveal my sins so I may repent. I have also asked Him to show me the sins of the Church that I might “stand in the gap” and pray for the Body of Christ to repent as well.

It is foolish to think that we will not reap the punishment that a Holy God and Our Creator has decreed for those who turn away from His just and good commands and embrace evil.

“The Harbinger” by Jonathan Cahn is a New York bestseller that hypothesizes that America, like Israel before her, is under judgment. He states that a series of judgments are forthcoming unless we repent.

Any honest appraisal of America’s history will see that we are a nation that was founded upon biblical precepts by God-fearing men.However, we have rebelled against God, the Source of all of this nation’s blessings. God’s Word is very clear that there will be blessings for obedience to His commands and curses for disobedience—for both individuals and nations.

So, is there hope for our nation? Can there be revival in the land? The key question to be asked first is, “Are you willing to repent of your own sin so that God can bring revival in you?”

Written by Julie Van Gorp

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How To Pray

Many people have asked about how they can pray effectively. There are many ways to pray. What the Lord desires when we pray is for us to approach Him with reverence, a humble spirit, and a heart that believes in His unfailing love, His supreme power, and in His desire to have an intimate relationship with us. Below is an order of coming before God in prayer that many people have used and have found to be very helpful called ACTS.It is an acronym for Adoration; Confession; Thanksgiving and Supplication.

ADORATION: This area of prayer focuses upon worshipping God for Who He is; it is offering prayers that focus upon His nature and the attributes that make Him God. Prayers of adorations can be as simple as telling Him that you worship(adore) Him for being Holy; or Redeemer; or Creator; or any one of His other countless attributes or names. When we begin our prayers with adoration we honor Him and show our reverence for Him. When we fix our eyes upon God, we see more clearly—for we see everything in light of Who He is.One of the benefits is that we will realize that, “our momentary and light afflictions are NOTHING compared to His surpassing glory!” (2nd Corinthians 4:17) When we focus our eyes upon God instead of upon our circumstances, we will realize anew that nothing is too difficult for Him and that we can fully trust Him Who is Sovereign and Whose very nature is love, mercy and compassion.And, when we focus on Him we also will see how totally insufficient and sinful we are apart from Him and how all sufficient and perfect He is.This step prepares us for the next part of our prayer.

CONFESSION: The Lord desires truth in our innermost parts, which includes an honest appraisal of our sin before Him (Psalm 51:6).King David, known as “a man after God’s own heart”, states in Psalm 51:17, that the sacrifice that the Lord desires is a “broken and contrite heart (or spirit)”. Before we can confess our sins before God, we first must humble ourselves and admit that there is indeed sin in our lives. When we do sincerely confess our sins before the Lord, we will find that He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1st John 1:9). It is only when we humble ourselves, that we put ourselves in the position where God can exalt us. (James 4:6, 10: “God gives grace to the humble’; and “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up”).Once we have confessed our sin(s) and have received assurance of His forgiveness of our sin, we may boldly enter into His Presence. Psalm 24: 3-4 states: “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”

THANKSGIVING: There are many references in the Bible regarding thanking and praising the Lord—the Psalms especially are replete with verses of thanksgiving. One of the best known perhaps is Psalm 100:4, which tells us to, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”

After focusing upon God and His glory, and then confessing our sins, it is virtually impossible not to be thankful to God for the forgiveness of sin that we have in Him and for the mercy and grace that He has extended and continually extends to us.

SUPPLICATION: Other words that you may have heard for supplication are petition, request, or intercession.Supplication is when we ask the Lord for something for ourselves or for others. This is the area of prayer where most people spend most—if not all—of their time. However, when we pray in the order of ACTS, it helps ensure that our faith in God and in His ability and willingness to hear and answer our prayers will have been strengthened by the time we get to our prayers of supplication.

We have a God who desires for us to make our requests known to Him. In fact, He commands us in Matthew 7:7 to, “Ask and it will be given you.” We are told in James 4:2-3, “You do not have, because you do not ask God.“ However, we are to make sure that when we ask we do so with right motives. James 4:3 states, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.This verse gives us another reason to have our prayer of supplications at the end of our prayer time because by then we likely will have our focus not just on getting what we want, but our petitions will have been filtered through the lens of God’s perspective after our prayers of Adoration, Confession and Thanksgiving..

In Philippians 4:6, we are reminded that we are not to have anxiety—or fear— when we pray, and that we are to present our prayers with thanksgiving. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” We know from scripture that “perfect love casts out all fear” (1st John 4:18) and since God is Love (1st John 4:8), when we start our prayer time with our focus on the One Who is Love, we should be full of faith rather than fear by the time we get to our prayers of supplication.

For whom should we pray? You may wish to pray for yourself; not for things that will perish, but for eternal things such as increased faith in God; for greater love for God and for greater love for others. You may want to pray those same kind of blessings for your family and loved ones. The apostle Paul gives us these wise instructions regarding prayer in 1st Timothy 2:1-3, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior.”

Learning to ask the Holy Spirit to put on your heart what it is that He would desire that you pray— and for whom— will revolutionize your prayer life and your relationship with the Lord. It requires spending time listening to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to His spirit within you, and letting Him guide your praying. The more frequently we come to God and pour our hearts out before Him in prayer and ask Him to share with us what is on His heart, the greater our intimacy will be with Him. The greatest blessing of an ongoing, deep prayer life is not getting things from God, but getting to know Him — the greatest Gift of all!

Click the book title below for an additional resource we recommend that will help you in your adoration of who God is.

Written by Jamie Shaver

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