Articles and resources to help Christians learn to pray
By Dave Butts
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2).
Devotion to prayer was one of the marks of the early Church. In Acts 2:42, Luke lists four areas of devotion that marked the Jerusalem church: Apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. The rest of Acts demonstrates their devotion, as a praying Church breaks out of Judea and embarks upon its mission to the world.
God’s call to His people today is for nothing less than that demonstrated by the first believers. Through dependence upon His power through prayer, we establish His kingdom in the lives of men and women everywhere, seeing Christ’s kingdom advance among the nations.
In Colossians 4:2, Paul’s command for us to be devoted to prayer is sharpened by the phrase, “being watchful.” Watchful praying is a more intense, more kingdom-focused type of prayer. All too often our prayers can be a reflection of an unfocused, bland faith. We ask little, expecting little, and what we do ask for is more about our own desires than the purposes and plans of God.
Watchful praying takes effort. It is an aggressive sort of prayer life, recognizing that life is lived out in the midst of a battleground. Watching and praying is a lifestyle focusing on seeing the kingdom of Christ advance and knowing that our prayers are a vital part of what God is doing on planet earth.
To watch and pray first of all means that we watch God. As we draw near in intimacy and see how God is moving, we pick up divine cues from Him as to how we should pray. Scripture speaks much of keeping our eyes on the Lord:
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Watch what Is Happening Around You
God’s Word also tells us to watch what is happening around us, and sometimes even within us. There is to be an awareness of our surroundings and what God might be doing in them, so that we can pray with greater effectiveness. Here are just a few of the Scriptures that point to this way of watching and praying:
God Is a Watcher
One of the most fascinating aspects of watchful praying is how closely it ties us to the very nature and activity of God Himself. God is a watcher! Again and again in the Bible we read of how He watches over the affairs of both nations and individuals. He calls us to join Him on His watch…to devote ourselves to watch and pray that we might participate with our Lord in His purposes. What an amazing privilege! Carefully consider these Scriptures that point to God on His watch:
Would you today join with a watching God? He is calling His people to such an intimate place with Him that we begin to see some aspects of what He is seeing as He allows us that privilege. Our watching is for the purpose of praying into our world the purposes and plans of God. How amazing is the grace and calling of God that He would grant us the joy and favor of laboring alongside Him through watchful praying!
(c) Harvest Prayer Ministries
PRAYER, PEACE, and the PRESENCE of GOD by David Butts
As believers, we are supposed to walk in the peace of Christ, yet we all have stressful issues and circumstances that rob us of this peace. Subtitled “A 30-Day Journey to Experience the Shalom of Jesus,” Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God powerfully encourages the reader on how to hold onto that peace in any circumstance.
The author, David Butts, started writing this book and 10 days into it he got word that he was in stage 4 with a rare form of lymphoma. God allowed him to live, in a greater way, what he is challenging readers to do in Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God.
His 30-day devotional will encourage, inspire and challenge you that you, too, can experience and walk in the peace of Jesus no matter what circumstances you are walking through.
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