One Our guest blogger for today is Brook Teoli Phelps. Brook was a student in one of my youth groups back in Kissimmee in 1994-95, and we reconnected through social networking over the past couple of years. She has an amazing heart for God, and I am so thankful she was willing to share with us today. If you'd like to know more about Brook, you can see her blog at http://matt5verse6.blogspot.com/ or find her on Twitter (@Matt5verse6). Enjoy her post on prayer.
The Discipline of Prayer
It was during a seemingly hopeless, confusing, anxiety filled season of my life (James 4:14) when I truly learned about the discipline of prayer. For so long I just thought prayer was something you did at church, at meal times, and at bedtime. As a child I would recite the same, tired series of words before supper and as I dosed off to sleep. But, at least I was making the effort and going through the motions, right? However, I was without a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26) at that point. If only I knew then what I know now...but all in God's perfect timing (Acts 1:7, Daniel 2:21, 1 Thessalonians 5:1).
One evening I went before the throne of grace and asked for help. I wanted to know where God wanted me to begin this particular "season". R.A. Torrey states, "But, when we really come into God's presence, really meet Him face to face in the place of prayer, really seek the things that we desire FROM HIM, then there is power." (HOW TO PRAY. Whitaker House. 1984. P.24.)
As God would have it my aunt and uncle had been "snowed out" of their home while on vacation and came straight to my door. Here was a mature Christian woman (who can pray like nobody's business) from whom I could learn! (And I got an entire week with her.) Praise God!
It was evident to me the first thing God desired for me was to be disciplined in prayer...to seek Him, converse with Him, run to Him foremost (as a child presses into a parent) when I was in NEED of ANYTHING (Matthew 7:11, Matthew7:7).
Author Randy Alcorn wrote, "If God could not use something to contribute to the ultimate good of his child, then he will not permit it to happen." (In reference to Romans 8:28.)
Because of Jesus and His obedience to the Father in drinking from the cup, receiving what was due to me (and every other human being) until it was finished, I can commune with my Father, my King (and with Jesus as my mediator) any time I wish...every moment of each day if I like! Christ died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again!!!
So what is important when it comes to prayer? Wayne Grudem offers this answer:
“Scripture indicates a number of considerations that need to be taken into account if we would offer the kind of prayer that God desires from us. 1. Praying according to God’s Will. 2. Praying with faith. 3. Obedience. 4. Confession of sins. 5. Forgiving others. 6. Humility. 7. Continuing in prayer over time. 8. Praying earnestly. 9. Waiting on the Lord. 10. Praying in private. 11. Praying with others. 12. Fasting. 13. What about unanswered prayer? (SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY. Zondervan. 1994. Pgs. 382-391.)
"But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;" (James 1:6-7. ESV.)
Pray hard. He Is Risen!