The countdown is on – making the list and checking it twice. Some days I find myself running around like a chicken with its head cut off (now that’s an ugly visual). What do I do first? How in the world am I going to get it all done?
The one thing, the BEST thing to do with less than 12 days left till Christmas is….. PRAY!!! PRAY!!! PRAY!!! (Read to the end – I don’t want you to miss the challenge)
Here’s 4 reasons why you need to take time to pray:
Prayer is love exchanged: John Piper says Prayer is “intentionally conveying a message to God.” Webster says intentional means “done with intention or purpose” and convey means, “to bring or take from one place to another or to transport” These verbs refer to movement from one place to another. Convey often implies continuous regular movement or flow. For example, pipelines convey or transport water. Think of the love exchange between us and our Heavenly Father being a continuous, regular movement. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I love the story of the time former newscaster Dan Rather interviewed Mother Theresa. He asked her what she said to God when she prayed. Mother Theresa responded that sometimes she didn’t say anything, but that she just listened. Dan Rather seized on this response with a follow up question, “And what does God say to you?” Mother Theresa’s response was, “Sometimes God doesn’t say anything; God just listens.” Sometimes our hearts are so heavy – the burden is so burdensome – that we don’t know what to say. In those times, Romans 8:26 reminds us, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we don’t know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words.
Prayer opens the door. Joyce Meyer says, “When we pray, we open the door for God to come into our problems and situations and work on them.” I also believe that prayer is easier than we think it is. It can become so much a part of our life that we don’t even realize how much we pray – like breathing. Jeremiah 33:3 says, ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I will tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.’
Smith Wigglesworth was a great preacher. But before he was a preacher, he was a plumber who wasn’t a Christian—nor a very nice man. Fortunately for him, he had a godly wife. He didn’t want her to go to church, but she went anyway. When she did, he would lock her out of the house; when she came home and found out she was locked out she slept on the back porch. In the morning he unlocked the door and she would enter the house and say, “Good morning, Smithy!” and then make him breakfast. She prayed for him and God gave her the grace to be good to him in spite of his rude behavior. And because she continued to be so good to him, he eventually came to know the Lord and was radically changed. As a result, he became a tremendous preacher. That’s the power of prayer.
Prayer can include complaints. We can complain to God. Psalms 142:1 says, “I cry to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord do I make supplications.” Philippians 2:14 tells us to do everything without complaining and arguing. We are human; humans like to complain and grumble and argue. Hence the reason God had Paul pen this verse. So, instead of being a grumbler or a complainer to others – take your complaints to Him. He’s big enough to handle it. I find that the times I go to Him and complain He shows me things about myself that I’m not seeing. It’s really freeing and yes, it’s convicting.
Prayer is essential. We must join together and pray. My husband Kent and I have always been passionate about the local church and have learned first-hand the importance of prayer. Jim Cymbala, the pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, NY said, “The main instrument of our church is PRAYER.” John Piper says that “Prayer should be the ENGINE OF YOUR CHURCH.” AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!!!
- Praying together brings unity. Acts 2:44 talks about the early Christians meeting together and being devoted to prayer.
- Praying together gives us courage/boldness. In Acts 4:29 the apostles prayed that God would give them boldness in preaching the word.
- Praying together strengthens our faith. When we are weak we can lean on the strength of others. That’s why Proverbs says over and over to surround yourself with righteous people.
- Praying together helps keep the proper perspective. Colossians 3:13-14 tells us to “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
So, with less than 12 days until Christmas, what are you going to do? Here’s some suggestions:
- Pray a specific prayer each day. Better yet, get together with some family members or some friends and commit to praying specific prayers for the next 12 days. Our Life Group is doing this. Every morning I send out a text of what we’re focusing on that day. It might be our Pastor, the Christmas Service, our family, college students, etc. Oh, what unity that can bring.
- Find 12 different times/places during the day where you can pause and pray. That’s not as difficult as it may seem. Jesus prayed in the morning, on the mountain, in the boat, in the temple, with His friends. He prayed kneeling, standing, walking, sitting. We can pray this way too.
- Pray 12 “thankful” prayers all day. It might be things like…. Thank you, Lord that I have a job. Thank you, Lord that traffic wasn’t so bad. Thank you, Lord for my friend who inspires me. Thank you, Lord that I have clothes to wash. Thank you, Lord for a new day.
- Set your alarm 12 times a day and pause for a moment and pray. It works for me with drinking water. I set my alarm at 9, 11, 1 and 3 as a reminder for me to drink more water. Just so you know, the alarm will go off even if your phone is on silent. It’s become the joke around the office – my alarm goes off and you can hear a number of my dear friends say; “Drink more water, Marie”. Imagine the impact an alarm can have on our prayer life if we set it as a reminder to pray.