If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you (Matthew 17:20, ESV).
Why do we pray?
If we answer this question correctly, we can develop our prayers in both experiencing God and the effectiveness of answers to our prayers.
As I’ve considered my praying to God through the years, I’ve noticed three directions:
- First, I try to experience God in my praying. I believe that Christianity is a relationship with prayer as my means of experiencing God.
- Second, I ask! Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given.”
- Third, to give Him glory. Paul teaches that we are to begin our prayers with praise and thanksgiving.
To sum up why I pray: to experience God, be effective with asks and answers, and to praise His name.
The following four disciplines have helped with all three of the reasons that I pray:
- I write! This includes both journaling and prayer lists. Writing allows me to focus my thoughts and keep a “prayer” history of success and defeats – and I learn from both.
- I memorize! Faulty thinking destroys faith and clouds the presence of God. If I catch my anger, lust, and prideful thoughts with memorized verses before they settle in my attitude, I have a greater sense of God’s presence.
- I review my calling! All followers of Jesus receive spiritual gifts and ministries to use those gifts. Prayer is most effectively aligned with calling. I was a pastor for 49 years, and now I spend my time writing content for discipleship. Calling can change, and keeping in step with the Spirit’s leading empowers praying.
- I ask specifically! Nothing compares with answered prayer. When we ask and God answers, our sense of His presence and our faith increase.
One of the authors that I read is Timothy Keller.
He was an influential pastor in New York City for years. After a bout with thyroid cancer, Keller writes that he did four things to improve his praying …
First, I took several months to go through the Psalms, summarizing each one. That enabled me to begin praying through the Psalms regularly, getting through all of them several times a year.
Second, I put in a time of meditation as a transitional discipline between my Bible reading and my time of prayer.
Third, I did all I could to pray morning and evening rather than only in the morning.
Fourth, I began praying with greater expectation.
This Interruption gives a bonus – four things that I do to increase my effectiveness in praying and four things that Timothy Keller did to improve his praying.
What have you learned today? Mountains need to be moved!