One of the things I love about BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) is that it has taught me how to pray effectively. It adds structure to my prayer life, which adds structure to my life.
Every morning when I rise out of bed, I meet God in prayer. Most mornings, I am more alert than others, but the structure is still the same. The Lord has refined the process over time but in times, like grief, when I don’t know what to say or do, having structure keeps my hand to the plow. I meet with God whether for instruction or comfort.
The first thing I do when I pray is remind myself who I am praying to. He is Creator of all things. The Master of the Universe. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. I envision Him sitting on His throne hearing my words. It is humbling. We have to remember who we are approaching. He is not just a better version of us.
I ask forgiveness of my sins and attempt to name the ones I remember. I have a tendency to get caught up in the moment, and I have to press myself to keep going. I could spend a lot of time here. Truth is I won’t remember all my sins and neither will He. Amen! But confession should be part of your day so that God will not remember your sins.
Next I read His word and pray it back to Him. When you are in a relationship with someone, you learn new stuff about them. God’s word teaches me new things about Him. Each month He gives me powerful verses that echo throughout my days and nights. This month He has taught me that He is just. He will right all wrongs. He will give me the power to accomplish all my faith prompts me to do. Amen again.
Then after I have good sense of who I am praying to, I begin my thanksgiving and petitions.
Time has taught me to write this stuff down which allows me to see how God has worked over time. If you don’t have some type of prayer journal or place where you write down your request to God, start now. It will build your faith as He shows you His faithfulness. Record each prayer, so you will remember what you pray for. Sometimes God answers prayers you forgot you prayed.
Every morning I remind myself of His grace in His provision for me. I thank Him. He has brought me a mighty long way.
I pray for people. Family. Friends. Acquaintances. Every person on my list, God has placed there and usually for specific purposes. And they don’t move off the list until God moves them. [I review the list every quarter. If I feel God has answered the prayer, I move the person off the list. But if it is not time for them to go, sure enough, I will get a call or email from the person. It gives me a giggle.] My list is several pages, so I am sensitive to the amount of time it takes to pray for all these folks.
The first list is about God’s vision for my life, my calling and His instructions. I need to make sure I am doing what He wants, when and where He wants.
The second list consists of people I plan on praying for the rest of my life (or theirs). These people are dear to my heart and have affected my life in some profound way. I have watched the Lord work in their lives and am proud to be one of His prayer warriors on their behalf.
On the third list are people who are there for a season. For some reason God has called me to pray for them for a season. My BSF sisters are included in this group. This list is the most fluid and the reason why I review it every quarter.
The fourth list is for salvation. It is by far the most important list because it is asking that God reach into their lives and save them for all eternity. FYI if you are a member of my family by blood or marriage your name is on this list. My daily prayer is that not one of us will be left behind and my God is faithful.
The fifth list is over my work, projects and alliances. He has taught me powerfully about who you align yourself with.
The Lord has taught me that prayer is an effective tool to communicate with Him. He has taught me that prayer should cover your whole life. For me, writing down my prayer requests and His answers to them continues to build my faith. He allows me to be a part of His plan by seeing His work in other people’s lives and praying for them.
Meeting with Jesus daily, prepares me for the day and for this life. He taught me all I need to do is ASK.