Can you tell that I am focused on energy lately? Just as I have sought out ways to jump start my productivity, I am interested in energizing my prayer time.
I use the Prayer Lists app from iTunes to organize my prayers. I divide our extended family and concerns (health, salvation, etc.) into days so my prayers are more manageable. But lately my list has still seemed long. Getting through it has been almost as challenging as tackling my task list.
I believe that the key to powering up prayer time can be found in Philippians 4:6:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
The phrase “with thanksgiving” is set apart, giving it special emphasis. I have tried to implement this many times in the past. I have started prayer time with praise and thanksgiving. Sometimes I felt like I was buttering God up so He would be more likely to give me what I want. Sometimes I have been in such distress that I have struggled to identify what I am thankful for. Know the feeling?
This week I had an aha moment that started my prayer time on a whole new and more powerful path. What if I thanked God for something related to each item on my prayer list, rather than having a separate time of giving thanks, I wondered. Rather than thanking God for being faithful, a healer, and for my home, family, health, and more, I would read the name of a friend who was undergoing cancer treatment, for example. Before asking for her healing, strength, and comfort, I thanked God for keeping her alive to this day, against all the odds. I thanked Him for her faith. I thanked Him for the medical care He has provided. THEN I made my request on her behalf. I took thanksgiving one step further. I thanked God in advance for answering my prayer in a way that would glorify Him and would be for my friend’s good. There is no question that this is exactly what God will do. Hallelujah!
Previously, I would get through my prayer list feeling overwhelmed and defeated. So many things are going wrong today. So many people are hurting. So many have rejected God. It was positively depressing. But giving thanks in each individual request gives me the opposite perspective. I see how much God has already done in even the most challenging of circumstances. And I come to believe that He will do even more.
So right now I am thanking God for the Internet, that I took typing in high school, and that He has led your to read these words. Now I am asking Him to move you to pray so you might be blessed. Finally, I am thanking Him that He will bring glory to His name through you, friend. Amen.
If I may have the privilege of adding you to my prayer list, email me at melphd at aol dot com.
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