The Journey with Ron Moore

First, prayer is communication with God. So prayer is much more than requests. It is talking to God as we would an intimate friend. It is sharing our life with Him–fears, frustrations, joys, sorrows, and, yes, our requests.

Second, some turn prayer into a formulaic ritual. I thought of this in the story of two people who prayed for their children – two friends who each had a child in an accident and everyone was praying for their recovery. One was healed, and God took one home to be with Him. If God took one child because the mother forgot to pray (or didn’t pray hard enough or didn’t pray with the “right words”), then He is not a loving God but an ogre ready to punish us when we “forget” a step in the religious ritual. I don’t understand all of God’s actions. I don’t understand why my brother-in-law died at 43 or my dad at 59 or Dave at 30. Each one of these people were walking with the Lord and had a strong testimony. But God is sovereign and it was His perfect will to take them. None of them died because someone in the family forgot to pray, or prayed the wrong way. Again, this is a twisted understanding of God.

Third, in 1 John the passage says that our prayers are answered if we “ask according to God’s will.” My challenge is I don’t always know God’s will…I only know mine. So, for instance, when I don’t get something I want, it makes me doubt God’s love (or makes me question if I prayed long enough or hard enough). But all along God is protecting me from what I want in order to give me what He wants…which is always better. He wants me to learn to trust Him and wait on Him.

Fourth, certainly we can pray with confidence according to God’s will that is clearly spelled out in His Word. I can pray with confidence for a person’s salvation (again, it’s not always in my timing). I can pray that a couple does not divorce because God hates divorce. I pray that my children will walk close to Him because I know that’s what He wants (at the same time there may be a time when my children stray…again, that is not because I forgot to pray that day or not pray the right way). My children (just like me) have minds of their own and may have to learn some hard lessons the hard way. So, praying according to God’s will is praying according to God’s Word…and understanding that when I pray according to God’s Will/Word I still don’t know His timing.

Fifth, if prayer is only asking for what we want, or if it is ritualistic and formulaic, then it’s a human endeavor. But again, prayer is communication with God. And we are to be in constant communication with Him. Jesus prayed all night before a big decision in His life–picking the twelve disciples. That reminds me that I don’t pray enough. I need to constantly ask for the Holy Spirit’s control of my words, thoughts, desires, and actions. This is certainly in accordance with God’s Will/Word (Ephesians 5:18).

So, we communicate with God. We tell Him how much we love Him. We confess our sins to Him. We give Him thanks. We put our needs and desires before Him, and we give Him the “Floor” and listen because listening is a big part of communication.

 

Do you find it difficult to pray with your spouse? If the answer is “Yes” you are not alone. It is estimated that less than 10% of all Christian couples pray with each other. It’s not surprising. Praying with your spouse is as vulnerable as it gets. You are praying with the person and to the God who both know you intimately. While you can impress others with your lofty “Christianese” prayer clichés, your spouse just rolls his or her eyes (actually, can you roll your eyes with your eyes closed? Never mind).

Vulnerability is not the only reason spouse don’t pray with each other. There are different expectations. There are different styles of prayer and preferred times of the day. And, let’s face it: prayer is spiritual warfare. Satan doesn’t want husband and wives praying together.

But…regardless of the challenges, couples must develop the habit of praying together. Here are five ways to help you get started.

 

  1. Make praying together a priority.

Urgent things will always crowd out the most important things. Make prayer a priority.

 

  1. Set a time to pray.

God is not open for prayer only between 4:00—6:00 a.m. There is no sacred time to pray. Establish a time that works for you and your schedules. God is not impressed by length but by sincerity.

 

  1. Begin by praying silently.

If you are not used to praying together, begin by sitting or kneeling next to each other and praying silently. When comfort and trust is built, finish the prayer time by praying aloud.

 

  1. Write out your prayers.

If you are not comfortable praying out loud together, write out your prayers and read them to each other. In time, your reading will turn to paraphrasing and your paraphrasing to spontaneous prayer.

 

  1. Start a family prayer journal.

Make a list of the things that you want to pray about. Leave some space so you can record how God answered that specific request.

 

Prayer is simply communicating with God. Let him know what’s on your heart individually and collectively as a couple. Pray that God will keep your marriage strong. Pray that he will give you needed wisdom in raising your children. Start praying for your children’s spouse when they are young. There is a lot we need to be praying about! And a lot we need to be praying about together.

I confess that sometimes prayers for my children become wooden and repetitive. “And Lord, help our children to have a great day at school,” and “Lord, help them to do well on their math test,” while sincere are hardly specific.  Here are some requests from Ephesians 1:15-23 that asks for some serious spiritual stuff.

Here are nine things to pray every day for our children and grandchildren.

Thanksgiving: Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). Thank God for his gracious blessing. Thank him for the privilege of parenting.

Wisdom:  Ask God to give your children spiritual wisdom to make godly decisions.

Know him better: Ask God to grow your children deep in knowledge and love for Christ.

Future Hope:  Pray that sons and daughters live today with eternity in mind.

Glorious Inheritance: Thank God for the eternal inheritance he has in store for our kids. Pray for eternity together.

Great power: Ask God to give your children power from the Holy Spirit to live obediently.

Strength: Ask the Holy Spirit to provide strength for your kids to resist temptation.

Established in love: Pray that each child demonstrates a 1 Corinthians 13 love.

Grasp the love of Christ: Pray that your children know and live in the freedom of the unconditional love of Jesus.

These are meaningful requests and provide a powerful prayer for parents. You might even want to pray these things for yourself … just a thought.

Francois Fenelon (August 6, 1651 – January 7, 1715) was a French Roman Catholic archbishop, theologian, poet and writer. His instruction on prayer is the best I have ever seen. Here’s what Fenelon says:

Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, the He may purify them; tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you conquer them, talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, you instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself and others.

If you pour out all you weaknesses, needs, and troubles there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never want for subjects of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration they say what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved, conversation with God.

Prayer

Do you need prayer?

Email prayer@ronmoore.org.

RON’S SERMONS

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