Articles and resources to help Christians learn to pray
Perhaps you have already set your New Year’s resolutions in committed stone for this year; however, I encourage you to consider weaving one or more of these powerful prayer resolutions into the mix as you seek to be more like Jesus, the One who lives to intercede for us! Utilize them to help you successfully implement your other resolutions. Only our God can give us the wisdom and strength to successfully carry out the desires expressed through the pledges we make each January:
“Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10
It has been a “noisy” year for me…perhaps for you as well. What better way to begin my year than spending some time devoted to being still before my Creator and allowing His perfect Presence to become more full and rich within my heart, healing my weary soul and renewing me from the inside out. Take some time to shut out the noise and activity that clamors to take the hectic pace of this year and continue it right into the New Year. Instead, begin listening to His quiet invitation to stillness. Allow yourself opportunities to trade busyness and noise with a listening prayer that offers the opportunity to hear from the great I AM.
“…pray continually…” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Would you like this to be the year when prayer becomes like breathing to you? Take time to invite God into your every thought, word and activity so that the likeness of Jesus can become more fully formed in you. As you pray, consider what the prayer of Christ for you, for others, for circumstances, etc. might be in the moments of life you experience this year.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18
As we pray for other believers, it is important to seek what is on the heart of God for them. As our teacher, the Holy Spirit has such knowledge and will impress upon us how we should intercede – if we look to Him. Lifting up the needs of those who love Jesus is a privilege and an important way to “pray continually.” Ask God to show you believers who need a touch from Him through your prayers.
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Praying for and giving thanks for “everyone” is not an easy task – especially those we don’t agree with who may be in authority over us. I would suggest making a very personal request of the Father: “Lord, place on my heart a burden to pray for those who need to come to a knowledge of the truth! Show me their faces or place their names before me so that I might be aware of their need for you. Give me great love for all those in authority over me so that we may all live peaceful, quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. I want to please you God my Savior.” After you pray, listen carefully for the prayer assignments God gives to you and be faithful to complete them!
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” James 1:5-8
There are so many times when wisdom is needed in my life and I have forgotten this amazing promise. I try to “fix” things in my own strength rather than through the wisdom that God wants to generously give me…if I will ask. This promise does come with a condition – I am to believe and not doubt when I ask. My pastor put it this way, “When you ask for wisdom, you must believe that it is on its way.” Sometimes I want wisdom immediately, but there may be things God wants to do in me to get me to the place where I can receive and utilize the wisdom He gives me. In this new year, make a habit of asking the Father for His wisdom and then believe that it is “on its way.”
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
No one likes confessing sin, which is perhaps why it is so important that we do it. Keeping short accounts with God is vital to our spiritual health and to our work for the sake of the kingdom. If you don’t have an accountability partner, or a spiritual friendship that allows for each of you to confess sins and pray for one another, that would be a transformational life goal for this new year. Ask God to connect you with at least one other person with whom you can share the dark places in order to be healed, allowing your prayers to become powerful and effective for His glory.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem…” Psalm 122:6-9
Has there ever been a year in recent history when praying for the peace of Jerusalem has seemed more urgent? The nation close to the heart of God is surrounded by enemies and turmoil. Press in “for the sake of the house of the LORD our God” (v 9).
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” Matthew
26:41 I am often tempted by things that I could avoid completely if I was watchful! It is when I am not paying attention that the enemy creeps in to mess with me! It is so easy to say or do something that harms another person or damages my own soul when I am careless about watching what is going on in and around me as I pray.
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. ” Mark 11:25
“…bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28
I am convinced that a lack of forgiveness is the root of much sin in life! Saying we forgive someone is very different from actually forgiving from our hearts. The redemptive work of God can only take place when we let go of bitterness, anger and/or a desire for revenge. Prayerfully ask God to show you if you are holding anything against anyone as you begin this year. As you pray blessings over them, He may also show you some tangible ways to bless their lives as well.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2
Is prayer a delight for you…or a duty that you feel compelled to do as a believer? In this new year, ask the Father to give you an extraordinary love for prayer. Again, we are told to be watchful and thankful as we dedicate our hearts to His plans and purposes expressed through our prayer lives.
As you weave one or more of these prayer resolutions into your life this year, you can be encouraged by this wonderfully encouraging promise from God: For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer…” 1 Peter 3:12
Kim’s passion is to see God’s people recognize that prayer is a creative, continual moment by moment lifestyle with God as we align our hearts with His plans and purposes for His glory and for the sake of His kingdom. Her ministry involves writing, teaching and consulting. She also compiles and edits HPM’s free daily devotional, Connection! and blogs regularly on the HPM website). Kim is a member of America's National Prayer Committee, VP of Gospel Revivals, Inc. and on the Advisory Board for America Prays.
Kim has a BA in Psychology and a Masters degree in Spiritual Formation and Leadership.