And pray in the Spirit on all occasions…
Some would say the most important piece of armor is prayer; our communication with God. They would say "Prayer changes everything!" What about you? If you really believe that, wouldn’t you find it easy to pray about everything and on all occasions?
Read the following quotes on prayer. Do you agree with them? Is so, how does it play out in your life? If not, ask yourself why or what part you don’t agree with. If you agree but have to admit that you don’t live like you believe it, why? What is it about praying on all occasions that is so hard?
"Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference." - Max Lucado
"There are parts of our calling, works of the Holy Spirit, and defeats of the darkness that will come no other way than through furious, fervent, faith-filled, unceasing prayer." - Beth Moore
"Prayer is simply talking to God like a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day." - Joyce Meyer
"God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil." - Mother Teresa
"God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer." - Mother Teresa
Time spent in prayer is never wasted. - Francis Fenelon
Adrain Rodgers of LoveWorthFinding Ministries says, “Prayer is our greatest privilege, but we fail more in our prayer life than in any other place…we don’t pray because our flesh doesn’t like it.” And I would add that neither does the enemy so he will do whatever he can to keep us from praying.
Now I believe that some of you are great prayer warriors and you agreed with every one of the quotes above and you live like you believe it. Prayer is like breathing to you. I celebrate you...this is fantastic!
Others of you struggle to make the time or you feel like it's not working and there are better ways you can spend that time. You were not able to say you believed all of the quotes. Being honest about it is the best place to start. God does not condemn you so do not condemn yourself. Simply ask God to help you understand the importance of prayer. Maybe try to commit to praying 5 minutes each day while you drive or are in the shower. Just talk to God and then stop a moment to listen to what comes to your mind.
A third category, and one I find myself in, is you agree with the quotes but you're not sure you live like you believe them. You know you could pray more. That's how I feel. It's hard for me to know when I've prayed enough and I know I don't pray on every occasion. I sometimes feel guilty. I pray every day but do I pray enough?
This is what I heard when I asked God how we know when we've prayed enough?
It's not about praying enough, but about praying at all. You do pray and it is the sweetest sound on earth. And just because you haven’t seen the answer yet to some of your prayers doesn’t make them less valuable. I hear them all…the weak ones, the strong ones, the bold ones, the tearful ones, the joyful ones, the humble ones, the sincere ones, the short ones, and the long ones...even the ones prayed with little to no faith or the ones prayed on the run or in silence. Hearing you say the name of Jesus is precious to Me even if it’s the only thing you say. I am here for you, ready to do what you ask. Even when you ask amiss, I hear your prayer and give you something better. You may not understand it right away, but you will. Maybe not until heaven, but that’s okay. Your faith will sustain you. I LOVE THE SOUND OF YOUR VOICE!! I love it when you pray Scripture or when you pray from the heart. I even love it when your prayers don’t seem to make sense to you. I get you. You are My treasure! You are My beautiful one. Whether you pray written out prayers or only say “Help me, Lord”, I am listening…I am answering. You have been given a beautiful gift…the gift of hearing My voice. It comes to you softly and persistently. It comes to you gently and intuitively. It comes in many ways…and at times when you don’t perceive it. Today you heard me loud and clear when you got ready to say something I didn’t want you to say. An interruption came that kept you from speaking and you walked away saying, “Thank you Lord for the interruption.” False guilt or condemnation about not praying enough has an opposite effect. If you want to pray more, then talk to me about it. I will help you. I love you! And remember, I will let you know when there is something you need to be concerned about. So rest, my love and trust you will know. If the Holy Spirit isn't convicting you, then you are good. If you feel guilty and it makes you feel unworthy, then it's not from Me. I am gentle and humble in heart and that's the way I operate in your life.
I love that!! Jesus is gentle and humble in heart. Conviction feels completely different than condemnation! It may be a desire of your heart to pray more, but know God is pleased that you are praying at all. Learning to pray on all occasions comes with the journey. One occasion I am pretty sure we all pray and that's for our wayward one to return to Jesus. Below is a prayer that was given to me last Sunday at church.
Father, I thank you for _________. And, God, I cover him with your love. I love him. I forgive him. Search my heart, God. I know he is so much more than he's giving himself to. But this turn he's taken will not destroy him. I declare your grace over him, your favor. I refuse to live in fear because I see you have a calling on his life. Your word is effectually working in his heart. And, Lord God, I thank you even now that you're ministering your spirit to him to turn him to you where he sees your face. And, God, I thank you that you're bringing him home - the wooing of your spirit. I declare it, God. This turn will not destroy my son. And I thank you that you have great plans for _________. And I thank you that you're lifting him up in your love, in your mercy, in your forgiveness, and absolutely consume him with your spirit. He will do great things because of destiny. You've ordered his steps. I believe, God, inside he can now hear the voice of God crying out. And I thank you, God, that he can't live unaware of your wooing and your drawing, and I thank you for the victory in Jesus name. Today, God, you're up to something. You're touching ________. God, I thank you right now that you're wooing _________. I believe right now you're whispering to his heart. He hears you. And I thank you that you make your voice so loud inside that he can't help but to see truth. God, thanks for loving my son. Thank you that you have not let him slip away. God, even in his weakness you are making him strong. And, God, thank you - my heart believes.