Sovereign in the mountain air
Sovereign on the ocean floor
With me in the calm
With me in the stormSovereign in my greatest joy
Sovereign in my deepest cry
With me in the dark
With me at the dawnIn your everlasting arm
All the pieces of my life
From beginning to the end
I can trust youIn your never failing love
You work everything for good
God whatever comes my way
I will trust youAll my hopes, all I needHeld in your handsAll my life, all of meHeld in your handsAll my fears, all my dreamsHeld in your hands
My struggles with prayer run deep. The spiritual deserts in my life have always been accompanied by a parched prayer life. Eventually, I came to realize this was not only a symptom, but a cause. I was neglecting the very thing that would satisfy my weary, thirsty soul. I was ignoring the path that would not only lead me out of the desert, but keep me out of the wilderness in the first place.
I often fall short of my good intentions when I fail to view prayer as a discipline that needs to be learned and practiced and developed. We speak frequently of the importance of prayer, but often don’t know (or forget) the “hows” of prayer. Even Jesus’s own disciples had to ask Jesus how to pray (Luke 11:1). They saw something in the way he prayed so fervently and intimately to his Father that made them long to do the same. Lord, teach us to pray!
While it won’t be the same for everyone, seven specific actions have really helped me in my battle against a weak prayer life.
Preparing to Pray
1. Set prayer apart. The more we pray, the more we want to pray. To do this, you need to build it into the rhythm of your day any way you can: set alarms, leave notes, put it in your day planner. Prayer is a practice that requires discipline and perseverance, and we should own the cost. Prayer is the greatest act of our day, and we must fight for it. And not just in times of need. It matters how we train and prepare for the battle.
2. Learn to withdraw. Pull away from distractions — the phone, the computer, the TV, the constant noise of modern life — and find a way to separate yourself so you can be and feel “shut in with God.” It can be a challenge when you work away from home for long hours or are sharing your house from dawn-to-dusk with a bunch of loud and energetic children, but make it a priority. Your car on lunch break, a quiet corner in the office, a closet in between meals or feedings or naptimes, or simply the quiet of your heart if that’s all you can muster. But find solitude, and pray (Luke 4:42; 5:16; 22:41).
3. Have a posture of prayer. Do what you need to help you focus on what it is that you’re doing. Kneel, stand, close your eyes, look to the heavens — when your body is focused, it’s often easier for your soul to follow. If able, pray out loud. I’ve found that just softly whispering during my private prayer time is quiet enough that it doesn’t inhibit the flow of my praying, but loud enough that it keeps my mind from wandering. As C.S. Lewis observes, “The body ought to pray as well as the soul. Body and soul are both better for it.”
4. Pray Scripture. This is a great way to start. What joy it brings to a father to know his children hear his words, cherish them, believe them to be true, and then speak them back to him. So much of my prayers are “plagiarized” Scripture. Without even realizing it, they become the vocabulary of my prayers, sometimes because the beautiful promises make my heart sing, and sometimes because all I can do is desperately cling to his words.
- Show me your glory (Exodus 33:18).
- Turn my eyes from worthless things (Psalm 119:37).
- Show me a sign of your goodness (Psalm 86:17).
- Let no sin rule over me (Psalm 119:133).
- You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing (Psalm 16:2).
5. Pray fervently. Praying should be active. We cannot truly come into contact with God and not be a different person, at least in some small degree, by the time we say, “Amen.” Struggle in prayer, wrestle with it, and let the Spirit move. Answers to prayer are a blessing, but prayer in and of itself is meant to be a blessing. Sometimes it feels like the moaning of parched lips in the desert, and we should still persevere because prayer is not just the fruit of spiritual life, but the means of attaining it.
6. Pray specifically. Vagueness can be the death of prayer. Not that we can never be general, just not at the expense of praising God’s specific attributes, confessing specific sins, or thanking him and asking him for specific things. We must learn to pray specifically and boldly due to the status we have through Christ, while simultaneously being completely submissive to God’s will. Bold and expectant faith coupled with humble submission is a powerful thing.
7. Pray for and with others. Prayer is meant to knit together the children of God, oftentimes, people we have never even met. We share a Father, we are family, and we should bear each other’s burdens in prayer. We become invested in each other’s struggles and triumphs. We start to care more about the people we pray for and less about ourselves. What a beautiful thing to come before our Father of one accord with the same appeals out of love and care for each other. Prayer binds the church together.
Prayers Like Arrows
Prayer is not a formula or something that only “works” if we do it perfectly, in just the right way. But it should never be careless. Careless prayers are like arrows that fall haphazardly at our feet. Prayers that we offer with little care or effort typically will do little after leaving our mouths (but be careful about underestimating God). On the other hand, when shot with strength and desire and fervor, our prayers fly swiftly toward heaven to the throne of God himself (Revelation 8:4):
It is not the arithmetic of our prayers — how many they be;
nor the rhetoric of our prayers — how eloquent they be;
nor their geometry — how long they be;
nor their music — how sweet their voice may be;
nor their logic — how argumentative they be;
nor yet their method — how orderly they be;
nor even their divinity — how good their doctrine may be, which God cares for:
but it is the fervency of spirit which availeth much.
(Bishop Joseph Hall, 1808)
God loves to make his people into skilled archers in the discipline of prayer, with prayers like arrows — fervent and strong ones that change lives, bring healing, impact our nations, alter history, unite the church, and above all display God’s glory.
Oh wow time has really flown by this year…In the blink of an eye, I’ve already been working for 6 months! There’s really so much to give thanks to God for.
It is really amazing to see how He has sustained me and helped me all this time at work. Couple of examples:
- Times where it seemed like my cleaning session was going to be a mess, but things turned out well in the end.
- The time when I had high rate of volunteer and Champions (our regular volunteers) drop out, but everything kinda worked out in the end because there was also a homeowner who pulled out of the session last minute.
- The other time that there was a homeowner drop out last minute on cleaning day (just last week actually, lol), and we randomly met a Lions Befriender at the void deck, and he was able to help us approach 2 seniors on his list, and they were willing to let us go in and help clean their houses even though it was so last minute!
- Good work colleagues!!!!! Still think it’s really amazing how there is like no politics in our office! It’s most probably because everyone has the same goal in mind – to put God’s love into action, by bringing people together to build (or in our case, clean) homes, communities and hope.
Also, one thing that I really liked about starting work was, having time (and more importantly, money LOL!) to pursue interests and things that I never had the time to do before! I’ve managed to take up Guzheng lessons again (It’s been 8 long years since I’ve touched it in Secondary school), and I’ve also started gymming more regularly (trying to keep fit heh!) The downside, I guess, is that with all this extra money, I’ve also been online shopping a lot bad habit that I really need to curb..
The other downside, and the far more important one, is that after starting all these activities, I’ve not been spending too much time with God, and it’s something I really really want to work on! Going to start setting aside time everyday to do my QT, read the word, and talk to God. Hoping to start reading more christian lit too..have bought so many books from Logos Hope, but it’s all just sitting on my shelf lol.
Father, I thank You for sustaining me all this time, and for helping me so much even though I’m so unworthy. Give me the discipline to set aside (and follow) time every day to spend with You, and grant me the desire to want to know You more and more.
You know this road isn’t easy for me. You know my heart’s desire; to love and be loved. You’ve seen where I’ve come from in life, and you see where I’m going but in this moment, waiting on you is just so hard.
I’m surrounded by a culture pushing me into ideas and ways that I know don’t align up with your will for me. My heart tries to pursue, yet you tell me to wait.
I am your cherished daughter, and I know the plans you have for me are great. But I pray right now, in this moment you fill me with your peace.
Help me to become fully satisfied in you, before you bring my Boaz to me. Help me to trust the process of becoming the woman you desire for me to be.
You see my heart’s full potential. You know that when I love, I love deeply and when I fall, I fall hard.
Father save my heart for the man you have set aside for me. Prepare me to be the kind of wife he needs me to be.
I want to be a wife after your own heart.
I choose to fully chase after you, God. When you bring along the man I am meant to marry I will not stop chasing you. We will chase after you together. We will be each other’s helpmate.
We will love each other purely and deeply, but we will love you the most. We will constantly strive to keep you at the center of our lives and marriage, for I know you are the glue that will hold us together.
When my Boaz comes along I will not forget my first love. I will not forget the one who loved me first, and loved me enough to give me a godly man who will love, cherish, and treasure the woman that I am.
While I am here waiting on you, I will choose to serve. I will choose to chase after your heart. I will choose to embrace all that you have called me to be. Wherever you go, I’ll go. Wherever you stay, I will stay.
I will leave the world behind to chase after the God of my heart. I will trust in you, even when the road seems hard and I feel like I can’t take another step.
I will let you mold me into the wife you have called me to be. I will love, cherish, honor, and treasure my future spouse. I will rely on the covenant of marriage and your strength to bring me through when my emotions try to lead me astray.
I thank you for all that you are, and all that you are preparing me to be. I thank you that I can trust you with every single detail of my life, that everything that matters to me matters to you.
I know that in your perfect timing, when you see fit, you will bring us both together to love and serve you. Thank you for loving me.
~Your treasured daughter
Father God, please take away this anger in me. Help me to love those whom you love. Help me to love and be forgiving to the people around me. In Jesus’ most precious and holy name, I pray, Amen.
Saw this image that a friend shared on Facebook today..
and after reflecting a little on those words, I thought of how wrong it all was..so I decided to make some changes to the image, and came up with this:
haha, I was bored, but..hope this encourages someone today 🙂
Let us pray, not just for France, but also for Beirut (Lebanon) and Baghdad. These two countries had also experienced terror attacks just the day before the bombings and attacked happened in Paris…but they were not reported widely in the news. What makes these countries any less worthy of our prayers?
Let us pray, not just for France, but for the civil war that is still happening in Syria, where 12 million Syrians (half of which are children) have fled their homes due to conflict. Where winter is approaching, but they do not have proper shelters or clothing to protect themselves from the weather. What makes them any less worthy of our prayers?
Let us pray, not just for France, but for the world. We are living in a world where sin and corruption is abundant. Where people, with the poor excuse of religion, have no qualms about murdering and killing other people. We pray for the victims, why do we not pray for the attackers too? Are they any less of a human being than us? Are they less worthy of our prayers?
I’ve honestly been quite shaken from reading the news from the past couple of days. Mostly because i have a friend in Paris. A friend that I’ve made during my time onboard Logos Hope. Yesterday when I woke up, I opened my email and the first thing I saw was an email from a friend from our STEP programme, asking about the safety of this friend from Paris. I was stunned, and had no idea what was going on. After catching myself up with the news, I started praying for my friend, that she would be safe, and for the people in Paris, that God would bring comfort to them. When the email from our friend finally came, updating us that she was alright and had gotten home before the attacks happened, I was filled with relief. And as I scrolled through Facebook and Instagram, I saw people posting hashtags and adding a filter to their profile pictures in support of France. After awhile, other articles surfaced, articles about Beirut and Baghdad and how they had also experienced the same terror attacks, but were not reported widely in mainstream media. And I felt guilty, guilty that I had only cared about France because I had a friend there. And then I realised that in the past, I hadn’t really cared about reports such as this..simply because it did not affect me personally. And immediately I felt guilty and selfish.
Father, I pray for everything that is happening in the world right now. Father we do not know, and will probably never know why you have allowed such horrible things to happen, why so many innocent people are being killed. But Father, we trust that it is all under your control, and that you have allowed them to happen for a reason. Father, you have created us, and loved us, loved us enough to send your only Son to die on the cross for our sis. You love us enough to give us free will, only for us to turn against each other and commit crimes against each other. I’m sorry Lord. Father I pray for the people in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Syria and other cities and countries I may not know about, I pray that the people will find comfort in you Lord, that they will place their hope in you Lord. I pray for protection over them against any other attacks. And Lord, for the people who have committed these acts, I pray that you will somehow open their eyes, so that they may see that what they are doing is wrong, that they may see that what they believe in is wrong. I pray that we will stop playing the blame game, that we will stop looking at each other with prejudiced lenses, and stop blaming any particular group of people for what is happening, But that instead, we will use this opportunity to come together and unite as your people.
Lord my words are inadequate in expressing my thoughts and feelings, and my mind is muddled. I do not know how else to pray. But Lord, in all, Your will be done.