|Take time each day to focus on your prayer life|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor|
|Friday, 04 May 2012 09:24|
(Editor's note: As the annual National Day of Prayer observance was held Thursday, this 11th part in the, "Life with God's energy" series continues a focus on the power of prayer.)
Many of us may need to develop our prayer life. Perhaps today, we need to focus our pleas in a different direction. While certainly there is nothing wrong with petitioning God to hear and grant our needs; it may be far more spiritual for our prayers to focus on being grateful for what God has granted us, giving him the glory.
Rev. Kristel Asmus, the local coordinator for the National Day of Prayer observance, shares thoughts regarding the Lord's Prayer, as Jesus taught his disciples to pray. This prayer provides some ideal elements such as worship, submission, forgiveness and overcoming.
"When Jesus taught his disciples they understood that prayer was more than asking God for things or help, but it was relationship, 'Our Father,' worship, 'hallowed be your name,' submission, 'Thy will be done,' provision, 'Give us this day our daily bread,' forgiveness, 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,' overcoming, 'lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,' and worship again, 'Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,' Asmus said adding the aspects addressed.
"It became a personal experience and let the disciples know that the power of prayer would impact their lives and bring them closer to God," she said. "Prayer itself is not powerful, but it's God. If we persist in prayer, God can change us instead of our circumstances, which is usually what we don't pray for. But in the end, it's added a new dimension of wisdom and understanding to our lives."
Adding, "He hears, he knows, he understands and he loves to prove himself strong on those who believe that he can. The Bible says, 'The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.'" (James 5:16)
As Asmus indicated the power is not in our asking, but our acknowledgement of God's power to grant our wishes. More importantly, God's ability for us to be open to the possibilities of what might lie ahead in the alternative.
Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step recovery programs regularly use what is called the "Serenity Prayer." That powerful devotion has aided countless folks on their way to recovery from addictions.
The short version reads, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change those things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
Prayer is a wonderful and vital communication, a dialogue with the one who created us. If we are not open to hearing God's voice and what God wants from us, that interaction becomes our monologue of little value.
Jesus says, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:7-8)
"Talking to God is one of the most important encounters Christians can do on a daily basis. Do we all take advantage of it? I don't think so. Do we all wish we did? Yes, we all know we should pray more," Asmus added.
She also reminds us what scripture says, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." (Matt. 26:41)
"Prayers can move the hand of God and reveal his power. Prayer is also a two-way street, not only do we talk to God, but he can talk to us as we still ourselves in his presence," Asmus says. "He can speak to us in a quiet peaceful way and give us the comfort we need, the direction we need and the understanding we need to face any situation that is in front of us at the moment. Learning to hear God in your prayer time, is vitally important to the answers regarding the situations you're praying for."
How often do we truly engage in a meaningful prayer where we not only address the creator, but also listen to God?
"We all have our busy schedules and agendas that crowd out our time with God, but he remains there waiting for us to talk to him because he has lots of important things to talk to us about. God is waiting to hear from you," Asmus says.
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