Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon, our beloved fellow worker, to the beloved Apphia, to Archippus, our fellow soldier, and to the assembly in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, hearing of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; that the fellowship of your faith may become effective, in the knowledge of every good thing which is in us in Christ Jesus. For we have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.Â Â Philemon 1-7 (WEB)
I want to take today and really encourage us all to commit to prayer. Paul is a great example of what prayer is all about and what it can be in your life. Paul is so open and continuous about his prayers. Every letter has a prayer or two or three in it. There are prayers of blessings. There are prayers of encouragement. There are prayers of intense supplication. There are prayers of great joy and thanksgiving. Paul’s prayers often begin with an inner circle. He shares his own prayer for himself. Then people that he knows. The circle widens to the local church; then the whole Jewish community. The circle continues to widen.
Some may be able to do committed, focused prayer by just making up their mind to do so. I need visual aids. There are some wonderful options or ways to do personal prayer time. There are books written on the various ways that people do their prayer time. Recently I have been reading some of Philip Yancey’s works and he shared some ideas that he has come upon. Three days a week he prays for family and friends. On alternate three days he prays for ministries and countries or more global concerns. And on the seventh day, he focusing only on himself, specifically asking God to examine him and teach him. He is quick to say that God has interrupted his plan, saying, â€œOh, no, Philip, we are going to discuss you today!â€ Mr. Yancey also shared using note cards with prayer needs written on cards that he has used especially when his life has gone through very busy times. The cards helped him get quiet and focus. I have used a 3-ring binder to write requests and leave space for the answers to the prayers!
Some people use music as a vehicle to center and focus. Some use ‘prayer chairs’ or ‘prayer rooms/closets’. Almost every person I have ever personally talked with about prayer have said that they came to that ‘breakthrough’ when they committed to a time with God and allowed very little to usurp that time.
Most ‘good habits’ do not come easily but instead come with a repetition of choice. Establishing a prayer habit builds prayer muscles. A quick scan on any given day to an online news service is enough to prove the need for prayer!
This weekend I am going to ask God to speak to my heart about His plan for my prayer life. I thank Him that He wants to meet with me. God wants to teach me and speak to me. He is waiting for me to make the time and make the choice.