Battle Plan – Strategy 1 – Prayer Life

Strategy 1  My prayer life is active and effective.

 

In each of these strategies I put the statement as an affirmative statement of fact. That helps us focus on what the goal is. It is a true or false statement. Within our own hearts we know whether the statement is true for us or not.  Is this true:  My prayer life is active and effective.

 

Every Christian man should have an active and effective prayer life. James 5:16 says:  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

 

At the conclusion on the passage in Ephesians where Paul discusses the Christian armor, he writes, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:18

 

The Bible speaks over and over about the importance of prayer and yet praying is a very difficult thing for us. Our lives are busy and taking the time to pray does not seem to us to be as important as God makes it out to be. And yet it is probably the core of our relationship with Christ along with the reading of His Word.

 

So if we are struggling with temptation, let’s not look to a lot of phony remedies and psychological tricks. Let’s invest the time it takes to really get to know God by spending some quality time with Him in prayer.

 

Priority Goal 1: I am going to invest time in prayer each day to strengthen my spiritual life.

 

If that is your goal, get out your calendar right now and decide when you are going to pray today and add it to your list of things to accomplish.

Basic Devotion Plan

Sometimes it’s hard for people to figure out how to have a regular devotional life when life is busy and time is limited. I’ve put together a 20 minute plan that might be helpful as a start. I’m not suggesting that only 20 minutes is ideal, but I’m trying to help get you started on a regular practice.

Basic Devotion Plan

20 minute quiet time; 10 minutes in the Word; 5-8 minutes in prayer; 2-3 minutes reviewing memory verse for the week. Do this at a time when you are alert, not just when you are ready to crash. If you have to, get up a little earlier, shower, eat a little something and then take time for this.

 

4 times a week. (You could make it 5 if you think you can). There’s no commitment as to which days, but by Wednesday night 2 should be done and by Sunday morning 2 more.

I’ve broken up Ephesians into small sections below. Do not read more than one section. Read and think about the same section for the full ten minutes.

Buy a small notebook to keep prayer list and notes in. Put your prayer list(s) starting in the back and use the front for writing down one comment or question or challenge or encouragement you got from the day’s reading. Every day write at least one sentence, comment, question or thought.

Don’t allow any interruptions.

Develop a prayer list – keep it simple: someone’s name and a word or two to remind you what the key point is. After you’ve added and crossed things out, create a fresh page.

 

Ephesians 1:1-6; 7-14; 15-23

Ephesians 2:1-7; 8-13; 14-22

Ephesians 3:1-7; 8-13; 14-21

Ephesians 4:1-6; 7-16; 17-24; 25-32

Ephesians 5:1-7; 8-14; 15-21; 22-33

Ephesians 6:1-9; 10-20; 21-24

 

Before you go to bed, read one chapter of Proverbs based on whatever date it is. On Nov 15th, read chapter 15. Then short prayer thanking God for the day’s blessings.

 

Let me know what you think.

 

Dad’s Bible

 

I was reading my dad’s Bible the other day and came upon some notes that he wrote related to II Cor 13:4 which says, “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.”

His notes are as follows:

Because of II Cor 13:4 I need to pray daily:

1. By faith I apprehend and trust in a perfect Christ and His perfect work – but I do so with an imperfect faith. I pray that God will help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

2. Pray in trust that God will work in you (me) both to will and to do of His good pleasure – Phil 2:13

3. As I wait in prayer before God, I need to confess the love of whatever sin I may have succumbed to as well as the fact that I have fallen.

4. Daily I need to reaffirm my comprehensive choice, solemnly made before God to live in the NEW nature and refuse to live in the OLD.

5. Daily in prayer, I need to ask God to make real in experience the fact of Rom 6:14 “Sin shall not have dominion over you.”

6. Daily in prayer, I need to ask God to “Gospelize” and spiritualize my obedience.

7. Daily I need to plead: “Lord strengthen me mightily by thy spirit in the inner man against temptations that daily come my way.

8. Daily I should review important matters for prayer – especially those for whom I have promised to pray.

He closes with the words from the hymn Not What These Hands Have Done

Not what these hands have done can save a guilty soul
Not what this toiling flesh has borne can make the spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God.
Not all my prayers and sighs or tears can bear my awful load.

Thy work alone, oh Christ can ease the weight of sin.
Thy blood alone, O lamb of God can give me peace within.
I bless the Christ of God I rest on love divine.
And with unfaltering lip and heart I call this Savior mine.

Notes by Rev. Gerald J. Tuinstra

(Originally published January, 2005)

 

Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians – Part 2

The second thing Paul prays in Ephesians 1:18, is that the eyes of the understanding would be enlightened. In this passage it is hard to know if this is a thought to connect to what he was just asking about or whether it is explained in the next clauses. It could be either or both. So right now, let’s connect it to the previous section. He had just prayed that they would have a spirit of wisdom in the knowledge of God. We mentioned last time that this requires time in prayer and in the word, but it obviously requires that eyes will be opened to understand and gain the wisdom God has provided through His Word. So when we pray this for someone or for ourselves, we are praying that not only will they be spending the time needed to gain that wisdom, but that their eyes will be open to the truth that is there. By nature our eyes are blinded, but even after being born again, there is a haziness that settles over our spiritual lives if we are not actively engaged in healthy spiritual disciplines. So let me encourage you to pray not only for others, but for yourself as well that the eyes of our understanding would be enlightened that we might gain the wisdom that comes from knowing God.

Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesians Part 1

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Ephesians 1:17

I’m impressed by Paul’s prayers in his letters to the churches. Right now I’m thinking about his prayer in Ephesians 1. Let’s take a few minutes to look at how he prays for others and perhaps that can help us in our own prayer life. We’re beginning in verse 15. The first thing he asks God the father of grant is “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” How many times have you ever asked this for someone you love or are praying for? I will be the first to admit that I don’t know what “revelation” means in this context and so rather than speculate, I’m going to skip over it for now. But certainly a spirit of wisdom is something we can understand. And Paul relates this spirit of wisdom to the knowledge of God. So what I’m going to conclude from this is that it is a good thing to pray for ourselves and others that our knowledge of God would increase resulting in increased wisdom. One of the things Paul explicitly asks for in Colossians 1:10 is that the Colossians would be increasing in their knowledge of God.

               Whether ourselves or others, the only way to increase in the knowledge of God is to spend time with Him in prayer and meditating on His Word. This is what we are asking for when we pray that someone would have a spirit of wisdom in the knowledge of God.