We met out at Lazy Acres Stables, a beautiful ranch off Cedar Springs Road between Weaver and Jacksonville.
The class has a lunch gathering there about twice a year, and Mrs. Jeanette Phillips graciously invited me to be their guest speaker on the topic of prayer.
The irony is that I’m not a real prayer warrior.
I’m not one of those people who can pour out of themselves a prayer that captures so precisely what needs to be said and stirs you at the depths of your soul.
Don’t get me wrong; I pray every day, but not the way I want – not the way I believe God wants.
Fortunately, I don’t have to pray like Billy Graham, and neither do you.
The Bible says the Holy Spirit clearly expresses to God the most intimate and deep yearnings of our heart that we don’t even know how to articulate (Romans 8:26). So don’t worry about being poetic when you pray. You have an interpreter who ushers your prayers to the throne of grace.
Prayer is simply a conversation with God. It should be formal, but not stiff; reverent, but not robotic. The Bible gives much instruction about prayer, beginning with the simple encouragement to pray.
“Ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:2)
In other words, pray. Have a conversation with God. It’s impossible to have a relationship with someone you never talk to. When we pray, it’s also important to know what to pray for. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” (James 4:3)
When God allowed Solomon to pray for anything he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom to be a godly leader. Because Solomon sincerely asked for something that would help him better serve God, he was also blessed with wealth.
We should all have a daily prayer routine, but when should you break that routine?
The night before Jesus chose the 12 disciples, he prayed all night (Luke 6:12-13). It’s an indication that we should pray before we make big decisions. The bigger the decision, the more we should pray. An expectant faith should accompany every petition to God.
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” If you don’t believe God is able to answer your prayer, there’s no point in praying.
And every now and then, we should just pray a prayer of thanksgiving, showing God that we appreciate him blessing us with things we pray for.
One of the ladies in the Sunday School class brought along her daughter last Saturday, and that daughter happened to be my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Nancy Gregory. So, in addition to enjoying beautiful weather at a picturesque ranch, I also got to enjoy a reunion with one of my favorite teachers.
Which reminds me: We should remember to thank God for the blessings we didn’t pray for.
Anthony Cook is managing editor at The Star and pastor at Christian Fellowship Bible Church. Reach him at email@example.com or 256-235-3558.