This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Copyright © 2012 by Virginia Ripple. All rights reserved.
Cover design and other photos by Virginia Ripple
All scriptures are from the World English Bible, which has been placed in the public domain by its creators, Rainbow Missions, Inc., and may be found at the following web address: http://ebible.org/bible/web.
Seek.Table of Contents Introduction page 5 What is prayer? page 9 The Technical Explanation – A Deeper Relationship – The Heart of Prayer – The nagging Approach – The Perfect Maneuver – Leaping Ahead – The Flawless Parent – The “Persistent Prayer” Model – The Rambler – It’s All Good Why do we pray? page 30 It’s Relational – Ask. Knock – Speak Up! – Unquestioned Expectations – A Social Need – Come As Child – The Disconnect – A New Dimension – Maturity of Spirit – Reading the Signs – The Choice Is Ours How do we pray? page 51 Putting Your Heart in the Right Place – The Proper Position – Lord’s Prayer – Lectio Divina – Letters to God and Journaling – Make a Joyful Noise – Prayer Beads – Using the Labyrinth – Praying for Someone Else – Simply Prayer How do I know my prayer was answered? page 77 An Answer for All Occasions – Prayer Journal – .
Dreams – Unanswered Prayers – No Coincidences – The Answer Will Come Appendix page 96 .
then you’ll understand something of how I began to feel. God. I figured I’d finish the fiction book first. then I would begin work on the book I knew God wanted me to write. I just wanted to finish my own thing first. The longer I procrastinated.” Luke 11:1 Dear Friend. I thought you might be curious about how this book came to be. a gift for my mother who has been one of my biggest supporters. It all came to a tearful end at the drive-thru at our local Dairy Queen. As I was explaining my dilemma to my wonderful husband. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write a book about prayer. the more stressed I became. he laid his hand on my knee and asked one . had other plans. “Lord.Introduction “One of his disciples said to [Jesus]. If you’ve ever heard the story of Jonah. At the time I was working on a fiction book that I wanted to release sometime around Mother’s Day.. teach us to pray. however. sharing with him how I felt under so much pressure now that I was literally finding it difficult to breathe. It was in April 2010 when I felt a strong urge to begin writing a book about prayer.
who really wants to read a textbook on prayer?). I imagine there would have been a crescendo of music and a sudden burst of sunlight from the clouds. but I got stuck for a time on how I wanted to say it. With a big sigh. but I knew immediately what I had to do anyway. both of relief and regret. Now get to work.simple question.” don’t you?) I started writing soon after. it’s a book about prayer. But. so you are good enough. I had no idea how to make all that information simple and entertaining (and let’s face it. . then went to work trying to answer them. I asked around for questions people had about prayer. Once again I prayed. I put aside what I had been working on and began planning this book. newsletter article and blog post all in a single day counts as a “resounding answer. Even so. God’s answer was a resounding “I Called you to do this. right? What else can a person do when faced with a task you don’t feel up to but pray first? So. that’s what I did. “Which one is more important?” Had this been one of those over-the-top religious movies. How we live our spiritual life has always been a passion of mine. so I wasn’t exactly surprised that God wanted me to write a book about prayer.” (I think an e-mail. Of course there wasn’t any such Sign From God. I wondered what I could possibly add to all the great books available already. I made a lot of notes on what I wanted to say.
I hope. I wanted to make this book as easy to use as it could be. something you don’t usually find in a letter. with each repetition being worded differently. As much . each section is. One last thought. It took a bit of internet searching. You’ll also find that a lot of scripture references are in footnotes. I decided to include whatever scriptures I was talking about. a close friend. so. Write it like I was writing a letter to a friend. each of us is unique. written as if I were writing a letter to you. but I settled on the World English Bible. which is within the public domain and is relatively easy to understand. but no one else writes like I do. Along with deciding on a Bible translation I had to decide on the “religious language” I would use. my friend. might lead you to inspirational leaps of understanding about prayer and the part you play in your relationship with God. each “letter” can be read independently of the others. however. How utterly brilliant! The ideas may be the same as what someone else has already said. That’s part of being human. the rest of the book is much like the first. I thought it was more important to give you instant access to the scripture than to stick with the exact format of a letter. That also means there is some redundancy. as I said before. that reading the same idea more than once. Because of that. And so. because he gave me the answer I was looking for.God is good. although you may have your own Bible.
as a writer I believe it is more important to write clearly first and apologize for any unintended insensitivities later. He is waiting to hear from you. dear friend.. That is why I chose to use the pronoun “He” for God rather than writing an awkward sentence like “God does what God says God will do. teach you to pray. Virginia Ripple . in this age of political correctness it is difficult to write anything of substance for fear of offending someone. my goal was to keep things as simple as possible.” As I said before. and has asked me to do as Jesus did for his disciples. However.as I am loath to admit it. I hope you feel free to use your own name for the Divine Being we most often refer to as God..
prayers. One of the first things I do when I don’t know the meaning of a word. but. as in supplication. 4 .” That may not sound like a lot. when we consider 18 of those with “pray” and six of those with “prayer” we believe Jesus himself said. the act or practice of praying to God or an object of worship. then that makes prayer seem a lot more important. Unfortunately. 3. a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship. a formula or sequence of words used in or appointed for praying: the Lord’s Prayer.What is prayer? The Technical Explanation When we do a quick count of passages containing the word “pray” in the Gospels we find there are at least 26 individual verses and ten verses that contain the word “prayer. is to look it up in the dictionary. adoration. or I just want to be sure I understand the meaning of a word. either public or . thanksgiving. a religious observance. it doesn’t really tell us what prayer is.com said: prayer–noun 1. 5 . or confession. 2 . This is what Dictionary. a devout petition to god or an object of worship.
in moments of extreme intimacy. 7. though we don’t always want to hear the truth. or. That’s not a bad thing to do. It’s about connecting with someone who knows us. who knows not just what we want. 6. It isn’t only about giving God a grocery list of the things and situations we want. Prayer can be what definition #2 hints at: a spiritual communion with God. a compassionate lover. when they actually take the time to pray. consisting wholly or mainly of prayer. focus on #7. a petition. entreaty. but it’s not the only thing prayer is for. a petition or entreaty. I like to see prayer as a conversation with my best friend. It’s about sharing with someone who is always there to listen and who will never lie to us. We ask God for what it is we want. It’s probably safe to assume that most people. but what we need.private. . that which is prayed for.
that Daddy is going to do something important that would . It was as if her whole world had just disappeared. when she was first learning to talk. She stood at the gate and wailed. It wasn’t until my daughter was born that I recognized the significance of that one word.” She knew Daddy would be there to pick her up.A Deeper Relationship The term Jesus uses for God translates into Daddy. She didn’t yet understand that Daddy would be back. My husband is our little girl’s favorite person. Every morning. feed her breakfast and play with her as soon as she woke up. her first word was “Dada. she was crushed. However. when Daddy walked out the door to go to work.
Doing either one does not make us bad people just as crying because Daddy won’t stay home with her doesn’t make my daughter a “bad girl. The Heart of Prayer By researching the dictionary definition and making a few personal connections. But to find the heart of prayer. the authority on how to live a . we have to go to someone who not only taught about prayer.ensure she had everything she needed. worse. The difference between the two is a shift in focus. In bad times. we focus on giving thanks and adoration. and translations. Our prayer life is often like that. or we simply forget to pray. but lived a prayerful life. For Christians. That’s what makes God such a terrific friend. when we’re in pain. The next we’re crying in frustration and confusion because we don’t understand why God isn’t giving us exactly what we want. or.” It makes us human. One minute we know that God has us in His arms and will share His love with us. God understands how short our memories can be. He knows that. and the best “Dada” anyone could ever hope for. it’s difficult to focus on anything but the pain. In good times. we simply complain. we focus on petitioning God for what we want. we begin to understand what prayer is. Thankfully.
“What. and began to be sorrowful and severely troubled. and found them sleeping. “Sit here. even to death. if it is possible.” He went forward a little. “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful. but the flesh is weak. One of the best examples of what prayer can look like is Jesus’s prayer at Gethsemane: Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane. as well as giving them a solid template of words to build on called The Lord’s Prayer. saying.prayerful life is Jesus. Then he said to them.” Again. and said to Peter. and said to his disciples. . if this cup can’t pass away from me unless I drink it.” He came to the disciples. He taught his disciples to pray by example. but what you desire.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee. nevertheless. “My Father. Stay here. and watch with me. not what I desire. a second time he went away. let this cup pass away from me. while I go there and pray. fell on his face. saying. “My Father. couldn’t you watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray. The spirit indeed is willing. that you don’t enter into temptation. and prayed. and prayed.
. but also in its simplicity. as in being mildly amused or slightly irritated. To keep them to ourself is to keep God at arm’s length. was a sign of weakness. though. I thought any mention of pain. — Matthew 26:36-44 Jesus’s prayer is not only beautiful in its emotional depth. He left them again.” Jesus shows his pain to God and asks for what he most desires at that moment in very simple language. He expects us to show our emotions. and prayed a third time. it’s the sharing. saying the same words. his “Dada. For some of us. I grew up believing I had to be tough. Somewhere along the line. When we do that we make prayer into just a petition again instead of the communion God desires. Anger was taboo and anger at God was blasphemy. he understands how we feel. God reached into my heart and showed me what Jesus demonstrates in his prayer at Gethsemane.” He came again and found them sleeping. it’s not the language that’s a barrier. Here we see God’s Son in deep spiritual communion with God the Father. went away. for their eyes were heavy. something we often have a problem doing. Because God made us. especially when we pray. be it physical or emotional.your desire be done. Emotions were only acceptable if they were mild.
The Nagging Approach When we get stuck in “grocery list mode. saying the same thing over and over again because we’re afraid something will be forgotten. Here’s what Jesus had to say about repeating ourselves: “In praying. . don’t use vain repetitions. It’s okay if we’re doing it because we need the comfort of those words. but when we’re repeating ourselves because we think God might not have heard us the first time. then we’ve lost the concept of communion again.” we sometimes become repetitive.
so giving Him a grocery list isn’t necessary. not about trying to maneuver God into doing what we want when we want. Therefore don’t be like them.” — Matthew 6:7-8 Jesus says God knows our needs. the city where his favorite nephew Lot lived. what we think we want.as the Gentiles do. One great example of someone trying to bargain with God in the Bible is Abraham’s attempt to convince Yahweh (God) to spare Sodom. The men turned from there. The Perfect Maneuver Prayer is about having a deep relationship with God. rather. “Will you consume the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not . or. for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. but Abraham stood yet before Yahweh. for your Father knows what things you need. We’ve all been guilty at one time or another of trying to bargain to get what we really want. before you ask him. and said. Abraham drew near. and went toward Sodom. One might even call it nagging and God doesn’t need to be nagged anymore than we want to be.
“I will not do it. and I will speak. May that be far from you.” He said. if I find thirty there. What if there will lack five of the fifty righteous? Will you destroy all the city for lack of five?” He said. “Oh don’t let the Lord be angry. I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord. if I find forty-five there. Shouldn’t the Judge of all the earth do right?” Yahweh said. What if there are . so that the righteous should be like the wicked. “What if there are forty found there?” He said. What if there are thirty found there?” He said. and said.” He spoke to him yet again. “I will not destroy it. “See now. then I will spare all the place for their sake. I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord. who am but dust and ashes.” He said.spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it? Be it far from you to do things like that. “See now. “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city. “I will not do it for the forty’s sake. to kill the righteous with the wicked.” Abraham answered.
“I will not destroy it for the twenty’s sake. of course. Communing with God. trusting God will answer our prayers to our good. and I will speak just once more.twenty found there?” He said. “I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake. We only see this moment. In our lives we so often try to convince God we know what is best for us. “Oh don’t let the Lord be angry. means letting go of the control we try to have on our lives. present and future. What if ten are found there?” He said. yet we can’t see the whole picture. as soon as he had finished communing with Abraham. It makes sense to let God lead us and trust in His answers. — Genesis 18:22-33 The rest of the story.” He said.” Yahweh went his way. and Abraham returned to his place. but it’s a very scary situation. God can see all moments in time: past. Leaping Ahead . Abraham did his best to talk God around to saving the entire city. but God did what He knew was right. shows that only Lot and his family are spared.
God brings us closer to Himself. Let your clay be moist. I love what St. people who strongly encourage anyone in my situation to grab hold of every possible marketing tool available and use it right now. As we pray. I was also struggling to allow God to lead me toward my heart’s desire. Offer God your heart. making a living by writing. and keep the form in which the artist has fashioned you. They were even willing to help – for a price. It was a very stressful time because I saw “opportunities” at every turn. to wait on God to show the next step. yet that’s exactly what we’re asked to do. it is God that shapes you. lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of his fingers.As I wrote this book. you are the work of God. The communion we share with God grows deeper with each passing moment. God answers. soft. . Irenaeus says we are to do: It is not you that shapes God. If then. I wanted to become a work at home mom for my daughter. It was difficult not to leap ahead. As we trust. await the hand of the artist who does all things in due season. tractable.
It’s a beautiful reminder of Ecclesiastes 3:1. and a time for every purpose under heaven.” God’s schedule is not our own. As we see our prayers answered we realize that the close relationship we . “For everything there is a season.” and Ecclesiastes 3:11a. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.
If we consistently try to discover God’s plan for our lives. however. will he? If you then. will he? Or if he asks for an egg. God doesn’t always give us what we ask for. Many people have used John 14:13-14 as a way to justify not only their “grocery list” way of praying. being evil. how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” – Luke 11:11-13 Jesus asks us what good parents do for their . Take a look at this scripture: “Which of you fathers. Saying God will give us whatever we want just because we ask calls into question whether God is a good Father or not. he won’t give him a snake instead of a fish. know how to give good gifts to your children. but also as a way to put up walls between us and God.have with God isn’t a matter of “grocery lists” and keeping God as our personal genie. if your son asks for bread. he won’t give him a scorpion. The Flawless Parent It’s true that God answers our prayers. what we think we want. will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish. we find our relationship with God has grown into something beautiful.
When my daughter was a toddler and asked for a drink. we attempt to lower God to our level. When she asked me to give her a pair of scissors to play with. When we buy into the “persistent prayer” model. I give her ice. even when we’re praying for someone else. I had to tell her no. We miss out on the answers God gives us. how much better a parent is God? We may want God to give us whatever we ask for. If we believe God is a good Father. When she asked for ice. isn’t what is needed. as Jesus says. then he can’t give us what is bad for us even if we beg for it. That’s being a good parent. So. but what we ask for may not be good for us. hence the most often used “grocery list” prayer. I gave her a drink. if we know how to be good parents. the subtle ways He alters our perceptions to see the world as He sees it. It goes against his nature as a good parent. The “Persistent Prayer” Model As we enter into an ever deepening communion with God.” God wants us to ask because He wants communication between us and Him.children. we discover the truth behind all the hype to “be persistent and you’ll get what you pray for. Only . Sometimes what we want. be it a cure for a disease or a new car. not because He’s a genie ready to grant our every wish. The hyped up “persistent prayer” model is based on our flawed nature of thinking of ourselves first.
Of course. At times I was the picture of “persistent prayer. God can mold our hearts through our deepening prayer life into something spectacular. My heart wasn’t truly open and I wasn’t yet the person I needed to be. I spent a lot of time alternating between seething rage. and what those around us need.God knows what we really need. God knew I wasn’t ready. It didn’t matter how persistent I was in my prayers for a baby. God kept me from what I wanted most and I’m glad he did – now. something beyond our imagination. there are some who would say I either wasn’t persistent enough at the time or that my persistence paid off in the end. we can become part of God’s big picture. my daughter would have been born much earlier and I wouldn’t have been in the state of mind to truly enjoy every precious moment I have with her. misunderstandings and a lot of bad circumstances we couldn’t have one. When we let go. The first is victim blaming. If we let go of our need to be answered in our own way. but do to miscommunications. to use us to be an answer to someone else’s prayer. The second . If the “persistent prayer” model worked as it’s marketed. at my husband and God. My husband and I wanted a child for several years.” At other times I shut myself off from God entirely. The “persistent prayer” model can stifle God’s ability to speak through us. and begging God for what I wanted.
rather than God’s. we stifle the wealth of wisdom and understanding we could grow into. I often have that problem myself.is a cop-out. I begin my conversation with God asking for what I need for the day and saying thanks for my blessings. what we want. Suddenly I’m talking more to myself than to God. It also means listening. It’s only natural to have that happen. God doesn’t want that. we ramble. Prayer is engaging in communion with God. I like to remind people that we have two ears and only one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. He wants us to grow strong and wise. The important thing is to laugh about it. Don’t beat yourself up about it when it does. nor am I listening. effectively putting the control back into our hands. It’s a two-way conversation. where we want to go with our life. Sometimes when we pray. those around us. then get back in the conversation. The big difference between prayer and a . To deepen a relationship means speaking up about how we feel. The Rambler To commune with someone is to have an ever deepening relationship. It’s about learning from the Master all about ourselves. and how we should live. When we turn it into giving a “grocery list” or making God into a television-like genie. but somewhere along the way my thoughts begin to wander.
.conversation with another person is that the other person in this case doesn’t usually speak in words we can hear with our ears. That makes listening for what God has to say to us more challenging. It’s All Good Even when our thoughts meander God is listening to us. it is well worth the effort. The Psalmist put it this way: But most certainly. God has listened. as difficult as it may be to stay focussed during our prayer time. It also makes staying in the conversation more difficult. But.
He has heard the voice of my prayer. There are a lot of blessings and pitfalls we run into while growing in our prayer life. 6:11 Give us today our daily bread. Let your will be done. may your name be kept holy. God will continue to reach out to us. say.’ and Luke 11:2 He said to them. 6:10 Let your Kingdom come. with our Dada. the point is to pray. 6:13 Bring us not into temptation. Matthew 6:9 Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven. God wants to have a deeper relationship with us and. nor his loving kindness from me. Footnotes  Two versions exist. so on earth. as we also forgive our debtors. the power. as in heaven. “When you pray. –Psalm 66:19-20 There are a lot of models of prayer available. and the glory forever. . but deliver us from the evil one. so long as we make a genuine effort. Blessed be God. who has not turned away my prayer. For yours is the Kingdom. coaxing us into a richer life and a more fulfilling communion. 6:12 Forgive us our debts. Amen. Regardless of how we choose to pray.
 One of the best examples of repetitive prayer usage is using prayer beads. which is often what “new age” thinkers call this type of prayer. that will I do. but deliver us from the evil one. as it is in heaven. but only in that we will automatically look for what we want instead of its opposite.’”  See “How do we pray?” for more on the use of language in prayer.  If you’re finding yourself nagging your spouse or children I strongly recommend reading Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages. May your Kingdom come. 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread. that the Father may be glorified in the Son. . For instance rejoicing over finding a penny and ignoring the nickel we just spent. See “Further Reading” for reference information. May your will be done on earth. See “Prayer Beads” for more on how to use prayer beads. may your name be kept holy. 14:14 If you will ask anything in my name. I will do it.  John 14:13 Whatever you will ask in my name.  I believe there is something to be said in favor of the Law of Attraction.‘Our Father in heaven. Bring us not into temptation. for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. 11:4 Forgive us our sins.
. rather than a few hours. only for a few years. This was a lot like my husband and my first date. It just shows how important communication is between spouses – and God.
who do you see as role models of leading a prayerful life? The Lord’s Prayer is just one example of prayer.) In what ways have you held God at arm’s length in your prayer life? . grace. etc.Reflections The Technical Explanation Before reading this. what did “prayer” mean to you? How has your definition of prayer changed? A Deeper Relationship When have you felt uncertain about God’s love? In what ways can you see prayer helping you discover a deeper relationship with God? The Heart of Prayer Besides Jesus. What others have you heard or used? (examples: child’s bedtime prayer.
it is God that shapes you. when have you tried to “shape” God into who you wanted? When has God shaped you? .The Nagging Approach What prayers do you use to comfort you? How often do you repeat yourself when praying? Why do you think you do this? The Perfect Maneuver How often do you try to bargain with God? Why do you think you do this? Letting God have complete control of our lives is scary. What are some small steps you can take to begin trusting God with your life? Leaping Ahead “It is not you that shapes God. Irenaeus Looking over your life.” – St.
that will I do.When have you tried to make things happen in your life rather than waiting on God to lead you into it? What were the results? How can you see your relationship with God deepening if you decided to wait for his directions? The Flawless Parent When have you prayed for something you really wanted? What were the results? What is your idea of a “good Father?” The “Persistent Prayer” Model Pray without ceasing. I will do it. that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14:14 If you will ask anything in my name.? In what ways could you see yourself being an answer to someone else’s prayer? . – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 How does this scripture compare to John 14:13-14: whatever you will ask in my name.
How has God used others to answer your prayers? The Rambler When do you find yourself rambling when you try to pray? .
then.) Imagine that person means the world to you. as his or her own personal genie in a bottle. then prayer becomes a very important part of our life. Imagine for a moment that you love the person you’re living with. Perhaps you would even leave that person to search for someone who would appreciate your love. turn the tables and imagine the one you love does nothing but complain about what they don’t have and only speaks to you when they want to give you a list of “to-do’s.” This person doesn’t say thank you and treats you. why pray? That’s a very good question. If prayer is only about giving God a “grocery list” of wants. How would you feel? I imagine you would be very hurt. more or less. . But. so. have to imagine very hard. How would you talk to that person? Would you only tell that person what you wanted or complain about not having a perfect situation? I hope not. at times. but stay with me. if prayer is much more than that. (I know you may.Why do we pray? It’s Relational In scripture we are told that God already knows our needs. there is no reason to pray. If you really love someone you tell that person – often. Now.
He wants us to ask for what we want. He wants us to engage him in conversation about how we would like our life to go . Prayer is part of having a relationship with God. However. your love is expressed back to you. knock.In a good relationship. In fact. seek. God does want a better relationship than the “genie in a bottle” one we tend toward. Ask.” God wants to hear from us. In a bad one it often feels like all give and no take. no matter if you remember to say “thank you” or not. what we need. Knock That is not to say we can’t ask for what we want. Seek. Jesus tell his listeners to “ask. God will never leave you. No matter how much you complain or beg for things.
Of course. I had been trying to gain the attention of a young man in my church for several months. . nothing too sloppy nor too impressive. To say he was “gun shy” would be an understatement. Let me share a funny personal story that I think really illustrates my point. What I failed to realize at the time was that “being myself” makes others uncomfortable unless they know me pretty well. however. He asked me on a date a week or so later. Why? I’m a very quiet person. a little small talk there. and decided I would be myself. Speak up! Building a relationship is difficult to do when the one you’re trying to get close to doesn’t talk with you. I’ve noticed. I nearly fainted with excitement. we need to be aware of how we ask and so we don’t fall back into the “grocery list” way of praying. or so I thought.because in the asking we seek to know God better. When the day arrived I purposely dressed comfortably casual. prayer becomes more about building a good relationship than getting exactly what we want all the time. so I’d been subtle in my attempts — a postcard here. When we ask for our needs and wants in a way that doesn’t make God into our personal genie. Finally I wrote him a letter and the doors of communication were flung wide. that people don’t always like “companionable silences” like I do.
which made things rather awkward. .Unfortunately. and to do my best to say what I mean and ask for what I want. for dinner it was one of the worst dates either of us had ever been on. So. can’t be built or grow when we are completely silent. or subtle. A relationship. some bread sticks and a stuffed mushroom or two at the Olive Garden. I have to say thanks at this point to some wonderful angels who interceded for me and convinced the young man to pursue our potential relationship a little more. I found out later we both went home hungry since he didn’t order anything else either. or in this case not order. thanks to my “companionable silence” and a very big misunderstanding over what to order. He is now my husband and one of my biggest cheerleaders. I’ve since learned not to be so quiet. but we must talk to him. To say the date was a complete disaster wouldn’t be entirely true. I did get a salad. that observation came years later. We have to pray. whether it is with another person or with God. God will continue to reach out to us. I think anyone would assume that would be our last date. Nothing else. We also ate in silence.
Sometimes we take our loved ones for granted. It’s not that we don’t want to talk with them. It’s that we assume our significant other already knows what we are thinking. We often do that with God, too. About a year after my husband started split shift at the factory there was a change in its management, which meant there was a very real possibility that he would be required to go back to working only second shift again. Being on split shift had given him a taste of what it would be like to work the daytime shift and come home to spend time with our daughter. With the possibility of losing that precious time, when his supervisor asked my husband whether he would prefer to stay on split shift or go back to second, his response wasn’t hard to guess. Not only did he prefer split shift, but if a position opened on first, he wanted to have first crack at it.
I wasn’t at all surprised by his strong desire to spend more time with our daughter, but I wondered, had he prayed about it yet? I suppose his answer shouldn’t have surprised me either, considering his rather shallow prayer life (our family bedtime prayers are about as deep as it goes), but it did. His answer was, “God already knows what I want.” Hmmm. Yes, that’s true. God does know everything we want, everything we need, and promises to always take care of us. Yet, prayer isn’t about giving God a “grocery list.” Knowing God knows what we want and purposely not praying for it because of that is taking God for granted. A good relationship is built on communication. Communication can’t happen when we consistently assume that the other person, or in this case God, knows what we want or need. That’s why it’s so important to pray even when we know God already knows what we want.
A Social Need
It’s interesting that, even when we do nothing more than treat God like our personal genie, we still feel the need to pray. It would be easy to say prayer is our way of dealing with our human desires, our need to have what we want, but is that really what’s going on? Humans are social. We need to interact with others. God is the ultimate “other.” Our prayer life reflects our need to interact with our Creator. That need goes both
ways as Genesis 1:27 and 3:8 seems to suggest: 1:27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. 3:8 They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day... The first scripture indicates that we are all created to be like God. That would most surely mean God meant for us to need social interaction. That interaction, as Genesis 3:8 suggests, includes God. Why else would God be calling out to the two humans he had created if not to enjoy their company?
Come As A Child
There is nothing like praying with a child. As the Christian Education Director of my hometown church, I was asked to develop a miniature worship experience for the children, which included prayer time. The children told the worship leader what they wanted to pray for and those requests were used as the basis for prayer time. I always enjoyed writing those requests on the little white board we used because they reminded me of Jesus telling his disciples who is the greatest in heaven: In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the
What is important to us is important to Him. and perhaps purest. Children want to talk about what’s important in their lives. To a child God is just another friend. – Matthew 18:1-4 If you ask a child what he or she wants to pray for the answer will range from Mommy and Daddy to their favorite pet. the only difference being God is invisible. “Most certainly I tell you. and set him in their midst.Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to himself. unless you turn. the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child. It is prayer in its simplest. there were several worship leaders who refused to add certain prayer requests to the white board because it didn’t meet their idea of what was appropriate for prayer. and become as little children. form. dead or alive. Prayer is about building a relationship with our Heavenly Father. nor does it matter who they are talking to. Sadly. . you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. just as what is important to our children is important to us. our Dada. It doesn’t matter to them if it’s important to anyone else. and said. to any number of things an adult would overlook.
In God’s eyes. A child wanting to pray about a new bicycle is a child wanting to express his or her joy and thanks. “I just knew that God wanted me to watch it from my window. The prayers of adults and children may differ in subject matter. that is what is important because it is in the feelings that a relationship is formed.As an adult we often forget the heartbreak of losing a pet or the excitement of getting a new bicycle. like most children. easily seeing and hearing Him whereas adults find themselves overwhelmed by the world around them. The Disconnect Children seem to have a special connection to God. We can do that. Jesus tells us that we need to become like children in order to know God. A friend of mine once told me that her strongest childhood memory was from an experience she had at the age of about two. She remembers being afraid of the dark. “For some reason that was . A child wanting to pray for a dead animal is a child wanting comfort. but the feelings are the same. but of knowing God was calling her to slip out of bed to pray for an ambulance that was about to pass by her house. but it means letting go of our preconceived ideas of what is appropriate to pray about and even why we pray.” she said. I asked her why she couldn’t have prayed in bed.
God continues to reach out to us. God wants all of us to follow Him where He leads. especially in the car. whether I was interested or not. Those other things can be anything from our job to our families to our own inner critic.” Hearing God can be like that. but for one reason or another we allow other things to get in the way. At one of my jobs I had the dubious pleasure of helping customers that often treated me like an old-time bartender. A New Dimension My husband and I have always disagreed on the necessity of background music. Unfortunately. the bigger your view of life becomes.” Like an invisible friend beckoning us to happily play for hours by ourselves. like my friend. your life takes on new dimensions as if there’s a special “sound track” adding invisible layers to what you experience. We can even find that our religion gets in the way of hearing God call to us. When you begin to tune into God. Some would only stay for a moment or two and mention what was going on with them in passing. I got to hear all about their lives. as we grow older most of us lose that close connection we had with God as children.important. The deeper your relationship grows. For me it’s an irritation. We get so busy doing we forget to listen for God’s directions. . but for him it’s the “sound track to his life. longing for that deep communion we once had.
I still remember that day.but a few preferred to stand at the counter for much longer and retell their life story. He’d been through more than I could imagine from numerous surgeries to hitchhiking across the country doing odd jobs to survive. I tried to avoid them until I “heard” God remind me that this person was loved by Him as well. I decided to actually listen to what he had to say and I’m glad I did. mostly cousins. I thought about my own life and wondered at my lack of courage in doing things I dreamed about. however. . I’d heard the same story every time he’d been in and every time I pasted on a good customer-service-smile while wishing he would just go on about his day. though the actual conversation has since faded into memory. J. My world expanded a little bit more to include more than just me. His story was touching and courageous. God had called to me that day. At least. Those were the ones I tried to avoid. was a simple farmer who loved to talk about his livestock and his large family. I had listened. After he left.W. That day.
Maturity of Spirit There are many books and teachers with a variety of theological ideas as to why we pray. My husband has become used to hearing me get on my soapbox about trying to “convert the converted. All are expressions of the need each of us have to connect with our Dada and to one another. To say one person’s beliefs are relevant and another’s blasphemous is to deny the enormity of God. Some are dangerous and misleading. upside down and sometimes just plain wrong from time to time. I also believe everyone’s beliefs have validity. God loves us all. Some are helpful. Since I believe God created everything and everyone. . However.” as I call it. We all get things backwards. Some make us think a bit harder on our personal reasons for praying.
it was very good. If one said the sky was blue. That’s a fact of life and is unavoidable. how. making our relationship with Him the reason we pray. Our finite minds will never be able to fully understand God’s infinity. they have grown more mature and can now not only sit in the same room without arguing. Siblings fight. My brother and sister are perfect examples of sibling rivalry. and. but can also join in friendly conversation without one or the other blowing their top. the other would say it was green. yet when we reach toward our Father in prayer. the larger population of the world is not there yet. they could have been twins in their stubbornness. then. Born a little over a year apart. can I be right in my beliefs and you be wrong? Our differences come from our own belief that we know what is in the mind of our Father. “God saw everything that he had made. In fact. our hearts and minds can be opened up to see that God loves us all. Thankfully. Genesis 1:31a says. For years it made family gatherings nearly unbearable. We are all His children. While some individuals may be mature enough to accept the huge differences in opinions and beliefs of others without feeling the need to thrust their own beliefs upon another person. as time has passed.regardless whether we “get it right” or not. Humanity is much like this. behold. .” If everything God has created is good in His eyes.
When we choose to put God in a bottle and only uncork it to give Him a “grocery list” of wants. I’ve found myself in that spot many times over. I’ve heard stories of people who “depend” upon God so much that they pray about what outfit they should wear each day. It’s been my experience that God doesn’t always give us “the answer” to our problem. Yet sometimes a decision is just a decision and it is ours to make. Nor does it mean making the right choices every time.Where does prayer fit into it all? It all depends on why we pray. then maturity of spirit will come at a very slow rate. God is always ready to help us make our decisions. Having a continuously deepening relationship with God doesn’t mean knowing exactly what to do all the time. For those people. Reading the Signs There are times in our lives when we pray simply because we don’t know what else do to. I admit that I find . God is always there. that is what they need to do at that point in their faith journey. Part of life is exploring new directions and a lot of that means falling down and skinning our knees. When we choose to see prayer as a way to nurture a deeper relationship with our Father. God can work in our lives to reveal the beauty in the things and the people that surrounds us. God is always listening.
but he ignores them because they aren’t what he’s expecting. believing the old adage. God always sends us more signs. “God helps them who help themselves. When we have no idea what to do next except pray we ask for signs. We may miss our turnoff or find ourselves at a dead end.” While a good father wants his children to grow and work things out on their own. If you’ve missed the signs and find yourself going the wrong way on a one-way street.that a bit extreme. He’s waiting for God to appear and tell him what to do. prays for a sign. I’m reminded of a scene in the movie Bruce Almighty where Bruce. The closer we grow to our Father. As our relationship deepens our understanding of what our lives are meant to . but at least they are in continuous prayer. after royally screwing up everything. The wonderful thing about God is that He doesn’t leave you hanging. especially when we’re in over our heads. the easier it becomes to see the road signs He has left for us. Asking for a signpost to show you where to go next isn’t wrong. where would we be without maps and road signs? The problem arises when we aren’t paying attention. As he drives and prays. you can turn around. he passes multiple road signs that tell him to stop. that doesn’t mean our Father wants us to never ask for help. I know people who never ask God for anything. After all.
be expands. God is there. Our prayers reflect how much we trust God to lead us through each day. waiting to hear from us. It can be scary and overwhelming. The Choice Is Ours Life is unpredictable. It can be as exciting as a roller coaster or as dull as waiting in line at the checkout. Do we call on God as a loving Father who can show us new ways to look at how we live or do we bottle Him up and only pray when we want something? Do we seek Him out as a friend we want to have an ever deepening relationship with or do we expect God to know our wants and needs and deliver them like some . Prayer is one of many ways God has to show us how much He loves us. No matter what is happening in our life at any given moment.
. seek.psychic delivery man? God has left it up to us how we want to pursue our relationship. though we can know without doubt that God will always be ready to hear us when we do. It is up to us to choose why we pray. to come to Him as a child asking for directions or to never bend our hearts in prayer. knock. It is our choice to ask.
and you will find. and it will be given you. and I have nothing to set before him. who will give him a serpent? 7:11 If you then. for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Seek. “Which of you. will give him a stone? 7:10 Or if he asks for a fish. To him who knocks it will be opened. ‘With what will we be clothed?’ 6:32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things. ‘What will we drink?’ or. and it will be opened for you. 7:8 For everyone who asks receives.’ 11:7 and he from within will answer and . ‘What will we eat?’. saying. lend me three loaves of bread. I highly recommend The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman. being evil.Footnotes  Matthew 6:31 “Therefore don’t be anxious. know how to give good gifts to your children. 11:6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey. if you go to a friend at midnight.  There are two texts for this: Matthew 7:7 “Ask. 7:9 Or who is there among you. who.  If you’re unsure how to express your love in a way your significant other will understand. He who seeks finds. Knock. if his son asks him for bread. and tell him. ‘Friend. See “Further Reading” for reference information. how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! and Luke 11:5 He said to them.
He who seeks finds. if your son asks for bread.say. 11:10 For everyone who asks receives. and my children are with me in bed. distrust and other negative emotions toward anyone.  A lot of people think asking for a sign from God is putting Him to . he won’t give him a scorpion.”  This quote is not in the Bible and is most often attributed to Ben Franklin. will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish. although he will not rise and give it to him because he is his friend. I’m sure there will be people who consider this book “dangerous. he won’t give him a snake instead of a fish. will he? 11:12 Or if he asks for an egg. and you will find. “Pray without ceasing. and it will be opened to you. I can’t get up and give it to you’? 11:8 I tell you. how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”  What is helpful and what is dangerous is mostly subjective. he will get up and give him as many as he needs. know how to give good gifts to your children. keep asking. ‘Don’t bother me. being evil. Keep knocking.” In my opinion the dangerous books and teachers are those that promote fear. and it will be given you. will he? 11:13 If you then. hate. yet because of his persistence. The door is now shut. Keep seeking. 11:9 “I tell you.  This is something Paul says we should do in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. 11:11 “Which of you fathers. To him who knocks it will be opened.
“If you are the Son of God. Matthew 4:5-6 4:5 Then the devil took him into the holy city.’” Unfortunately. He set him on the pinnacle of the temple.the test. throw yourself down. it is written. which Jesus reminds us we are not to do. ‘You shall not test the Lord. your God. for it is written. what is left out is why Jesus says this. Look closely at the preceding verses. ‘He will put his angels in charge of you. “Again. . so that you don’t dash your foot against a stone.’” What the devil is asking of Jesus is to make God prove Jesus is His Son.’ and. ‘On their hands they will bear you up. The verse most often quoted is Matthew 4:7. “Jesus said to him. Asking for directions is not the same thing as asking someone to prove their existence. 4:6 and said to him.
Knock What do you ask God for most often? How does asking for what you want deepen your relationship with God? Speak Up! When have you thought about praying for something you wanted or about a situation you were in. but didn’t? Why? Unquestioned Expectations How do you feel when someone expects you to know what they want from you? In what ways is expecting another person to know what you’re thinking/wanting the same as expecting God to know . Seek.Reflections It’s Relational When have you felt taken for granted? When have you taken your relationship with God for granted? Ask.
what you want? How is it different? What reasons. how does this idea affect your way of understanding our need for social interaction? In what ways can you enjoy being in God’s company? How can you help others discover the joy of companionship? Come As A Child When have you made the choice not to pray about something important to you because someone else. can you think of for praying for what you want or need? A Social Need When considering that humans are made in the image of God. made you feel it wasn’t “appropriate” to pray about? How did that make you feel? Would you change your mind about that prayer now? Why or why not? . or your inner critic. other than those mentioned in this section.
How did you respond? .What other child-like attributes do you think Jesus is saying adults should adopt? The Disconnect When was the last time you remember knowing God was calling you to do something that made you nervous? What were the results? If it’s been a while since you last heard God’s call. what do you think might be getting in the way? What can you do to quiet those outside and inside noises keeping you from hearing God? A New Dimension What situations do you simply dread being in? How do you think God may be calling to you in those situations? Maturity of Spirit Think on a time you felt someone was trying to force you to accept his or her beliefs as your own.
What small things have you noticed happening in your life that seem to be a direct response from your prayers? In what ways can you do a better job paying attention to God’s “road signs?” .In what ways could God have been beckoning you to nurture a deeper relationship with Him at that moment? Reading the Signs God continuously sends signs to help us find a better way to live.
enter into your inner room. I tell you. and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. enter into your inner room.” then the Scribes and Pharisees did a very poor job. so much as the attitude of the one praying. But you.How do we pray? Putting Your Heart in the Right Place If you’re like most people. and having shut your door. pray to your Father who is in secret. “lead by example. Since Jesus’ time. that they may be seen by men. those “in authority” have attempted to dictate how “the people” should pray.” — Matthew 6:5-6 It wasn’t that Jesus was condemning public prayer. they have received their reward. and having shut . for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets. according to Jesus: “When you pray. Jesus also wasn’t prescribing a certain way to pray (But you. If you believe in the old saying. you probably turned to this page first to decide if you wanted to purchase this book and it’s no wonder. when you pray. Most certainly. and before I’m sure. when you pray. you shall not be as the hypocrites.
and the other was a tax collector. this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. or even like this tax collector. a sinner!’ I tell you.your door. saying. wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to heaven. for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. pray to your Father who is in secret.” — Luke 18:10-14 . extortioners.’ But the tax collector. unrighteous. What he was saying was we need to pray with our heart in the right place: talk with God for the sake of the conversation..). that I am not like the rest of men. I thank you. one was a Pharisee. I fast twice a week. adulterers.. be merciful to me. ‘God. standing far away. and not for the sake of what others might think of you. I give tithes of all that I get. the relationship. The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: ‘God. but he who humbles himself will be exalted. Jesus told a story that really shows this idea in action: “Two men went up into the temple to pray. but beat his breast.
But that doesn’t mean that kneeling is the “appropriate” and only way to pray.The Proper Position When you think of prayer one of the first images that often comes to mind is someone kneeling either in church or at the foot of a bed. then that is how you should pray. In truth it doesn’t matter what position you choose. to sit. If you feel more comfortable kneeling. or even . However. if you feel moved to stand.
it sets up a physical boundary between you and everything else. It all depends on the situation. When you use a scarf to cover your head. Scholars have suggested that the word closet actually means to use a scarf. Ignoring the sounds around you takes a bit more practice. Success is relative. If you’re standing in line at the store you may lean over your cart. Jesus mentions going into our inner room. or at least try. Imagine talking to your best friend. The point is to open yourself up to Spirit. However. Regardless of what position you choose. rest assured there is no right or wrong way to pray. It’s the same with God.dance. then that is what you should do. What do you do? You choose a comfortable position. Wearing a scarf like a nun in an old movie would naturally limit visual distractions. If you’re home or in a coffee shop you usually sit in a comfortable chair. when talking with your friends the position you’re sitting or standing in does not matter to the conversation. Lord’s Prayer One of the first complaints I hear from anyone uncomfortable with praying is that they don’t know what . Using a scarf can be a great for help if you have problems being distracted by what you see. though not necessarily auditory distractions.
As I mentioned in “What is Prayer?” there are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer: Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven. For yours is the Kingdom. Amen. Let your Kingdom come. Forgive us our debts. the power. may your name be kept holy. Bring us not into temptation.to say. as in heaven. Usually this means the person believes that God only hears us if we use the right words like some magical incantation. Using a formula is a great way to get started. I have great news. The words themselves don’t matter. Many people like to jump-start their prayers by using the Lord’s Prayer. but deliver us from the evil one. so on earth. It’s the intent that shapes the prayer. If you really wanted to use the words from Lewis Carroll’s Jaberwocky poem to pray about what a strange day you’ve had. and the glory forever. as we also forgive our debtors. The hang-up comes when we think we need to get formulaic or use pretty phrases we’ve heard out of the King James Bible. However. Let your will be done.’ — Matthew 6:9-13 . so long as your heart is pouring out what you really mean. most of us are more comfortable using normal. everyday speech in prayer rather than nonsensical words. but it’s not necessary every time. Give us today our daily bread. it would be okay with God.
may your name be kept holy. but deliver us from the evil one. and what it would sound like if you were to say it as a child speaking to your Dada in italics below the verse. ‘Our Father in heaven. Forgive us our sins. may your name be kept holy. it is a good idea to have at least some understanding of what you’re praying. Bring us not into temptation. May your Kingdom come. Give us day by day our daily bread./Our Father in heaven. as it is in heaven. Our Father in heaven. “When you pray. . both in bold. so let’s break it down a bit. May your will be done on earth. may your name be kept holy. I’ve put Matthew’s version first followed by Luke’s. for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.’” — Luke 11:2-4 Whether you choose to use either version as your full prayer or as a way to begin your prayer. say.and the second version: He said to them.
Bring us not into temptation. . Help me keep from doing things that could hurt me or others and keep me safe from things that could hurt me and people who want to lead me away from you. Let your will be done. as it is in heaven. Please give me what I need for today and help me to not want more than that. as we also forgive our debtors. Let your Kingdom come. but deliver us from the evil one.Hi./ Forgive us our sins. for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. as in heaven. Forgive us our debts. I look forward to when we can all see you and talk to you face-to-face./ May your will be done on earth. I think you’re awesome. Give us today our daily bread./ Bring us not into temptation./ Give us day by day our daily bread. Dada. I want to do what you ask me to do and I hope others will too./ May your Kingdom come. Forgive me when I do things that are wrong and help me forgive others who do things to me. so on earth. but deliver us from the evil one.
She only needs to say what she wants to say.For yours is the Kingdom. Again it doesn’t matter what scripture you choose. spiritual reading. Pray simply.” and represents a nontraditional Catholic practice of prayer and scriptural reading intended to promote communion with God and to increase in the knowledge of God’s Word. “Lectio Divina is Latin for divine reading. One of the best ways to use scripture in prayer is to use a technique called Lectio Divina. Amen. the power. When Jesus gave us this template that was exactly what he wanted us to do. According to Wikipedia. A child doesn’t need to concern herself with the “deeper” meaning behind every word of a prayer./(Luke doesn’t add this last line) I know everything that is and ever will be is in your care. or “holy reading. ponder. God will still be listening. and the glory forever. Lectio Divina Besides the Lord’s Prayer. Many people like to use the Psalms because of their range of emotion and beauty. there are many other scriptures you can use to jump-start your prayer. finally. pray and even sing and rejoice from . listen and. Thanks for listening. It is a way of praying with Scripture that calls one to study.
It’s at this point that we start talking to God. . You begin by reading the scripture you’ve chosen. think about the words that spoke to you. It’s also the time to strike up a conversation with your Father over what’s bothering you or what you’re happy about. Don’t worry about what it means. this isn’t necessarily God speaking to you. after you’ve reached the end of your conversation take a moment to bask in your Father’s love. Finally. Now comes the prayer part. If not this is the time to ask for help. within the soul. You may even want to write them down.God’s Word. It’s more important to let certain words jump out at you or speak to you. Like being with your best friend. Let’s break it down. Hopefully Spirit has helped you see the connection between the word that spoke to you and your Father. Why do they have significance to you right now? Remember. Next. It is Spirit working with you to help you understand your relationship to God.” Lectio Divina is quite easy to do once you understand the basics. anything that reading the scripture has brought to mind. No words are necessary. enjoy some companionable silence.
praying in our head isn’t enough. During those times I found it helps to write my thoughts and prayers down.Letters to God and Journaling Sometimes. especially if we’re worried about a situation or are trying to come up with a solution to a problem. .
turning God into a . The idea was to write a letter. Writing from God to ourselves can present a number of challenges. After we wrote our letter to God. We were to write like we were writing to a friend. find Spirit answering your burning questions. I know others who would cringe at the mere suggestion of putting pen to paper. There are no rules you have to worry about breaking.Like other types of prayer. nothing more. The answer we write could be just our desire to get what we want. Perhaps making a collage would be better suited to your needs. Maybe you’d prefer using a digital recorder or speech recognition software. It just means you may need to get a bit more creative. That doesn’t mean you can’t journal. for others the simple dislike of writing. I remember one year at camp we were asked to write a letter to God. It didn’t matter what we wrote about. A popular type of prayer journaling are letters to God. The sole intent is to communicate with your Dada and. maybe. The possibilities are limited only by your own willingness to go beyond your idea of what a journal “must” look like. While I prefer handwriting in a spiral notebook just a free flow of whatever pops into my head. For some it’s a matter of privacy. there really isn’t a specific way to journal. we were to turn the page over and write a letter to ourselves as if God had written it to us.
of course.personal genie. Whether you choose to write a letter to yourself or not is up to you. The Psalmist says it best: 1Shout for joy to Yahweh. Make a Joyful Noise There’s a myth that only people who sing like Barbra Streisand should ever voice a note and only the Fred Astaires and Ginger Rogers of the world should dance. Just like the parent of a toddler learning to express joy in many ways. Using a journal for prayer is all about communing and developing a deeper relationship with your Father. Well it’s time to bury that myth in the manure pile where it belongs. especially if we allow Spirit to show us a glimpse of our Father’s deep love for us. doesn’t expect perfection. Or. all you lands! . It could also be just the opposite because we don’t believe we deserve what we’re asking for. As any parent can tell you. the first squeaky attempts to sing and the first hurky-jerky movements a child makes trying to dance are among the sweetest moments. it can be a highly emotional event. who created each of us as unique people. God. our Dada revels in squeaks and hurky-jerky movements.
2Serve Yahweh with gladness. Come before his presence with singing. –Psalm 100 Notice it doesn’t say with beautiful singing. As for dancing, there are several passages that mention dancing, but not one says you must dance wonderfully. Next time you’re tempted to stay silent because you don’t think you have a beautiful voice, stop and consider how much God might enjoy sharing your song with you. Don’t let lack of coordination stop you from dancing a little jig in a moment of joy. Remember, God is dancing with you.
There are times when we can only repeat a phrase or a prayer we learned as a child. It can be at any time, but it happens especially during times of crisis. The biblical “ban” on vain repetition doesn’t include those times when we say a prayer repeatedly simply because it’s all our hearts and minds can say or if we’re using repetition to
help us find a deeper state of meditation. At times like this you may find a simple repetition of The Lord’s Prayer, a Psalm verse or another verse or prayer you’re familiar with will be sufficient. An aid many Christians use for repetitive prayers is a string of beads called prayer beads. Prayer beads are ancient in origin and span many religions. The most notable kind used by Christians is the Catholic rosary. It began as a knotted chord and eventually developed into the beautiful beaded chains we see today. Catholics, though, are not the only ones who use prayer beads. Anglican prayer beads, used as a tactile focus for prayer, were developed by Episcopalians in the mid-1980s and are used by many Protestants. The Anglican beads “consist of thirty-three beads divided into groups. There are four groups consisting of seven beads with additional separate and larger beads separating the groups. The number thirty-three signifies the number of years that Christ lived on the Earth, while the number seven signifies wholeness or completion in the faith, the days of creation, and the seasons of the Church year.” There are two prayers most often used in repetitive praying: The Lord’s Prayer and the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer comes from the scripture known as the Pharisee and the Publican. The short version of the prayer is simply, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.” The longer version is:
Son of God.” Although prayer beads can be purchased. have mercy on me. always remembering that God is beside you.” “Lord Jesus Christ. A breath prayer is a short phrase or sentence that has meaning to you such as “Lord heal Christy” or “Father guide me in all I do today.” “Lord Jesus Christ. through the prayers of Your most holy mother. Karen Deal Robinson has wonderful instructions on her site on how to make a generic style string while Adrienne Warber details how to make authentic Anglican prayer beads. start at the cross or tassel and pray around the beads going to the right. a poor sinner.“Lord Jesus Christ. have mercy on me. have mercy on me. There are many great web sites with instructions on how to string the beads.” “Lord Jesus Christ. Son of the Living God. Son of God. you may find more meaning in using them if you’ve made them yourself.” — paraphrase Luke 18:10-14 Another way to pray using prayer beads is using a technique called breath prayers. . listening. a poor sinner. have mercy on me. Regardless what prayer you choose to use or what style of prayer beads suits your needs.
with your hands folded and head bowed. If you’re a child of the ‘80s you may remember the . sometimes you need to move to feel a deepening connection with God. A great way to find movement in prayer is to walk a labyrinth. As I’ve mentioned in the previous sections.Using the Labyrinth Praying doesn’t mean you must sit or kneel.
A labyrinth in this sense has an unambiguous route to the center and back and is not designed to be difficult to navigate. to our death and eventual reunion with God. this one was tremendous. According to many modern scholars there is “a distinction between the two: maze refers to a complex branching (multicursal) puzzle with choices of path and direction. which leads to the center. or birth. For instance ancient humans designed them to trap evil spirits or for ritualistic dances. However. Another possible way to use the labyrinth in prayer . As far as mazes go. There are as many different ways to use a labyrinth in prayer as there are people to do it. it is a maze and not a labyrinth.popular Jim Henson film Labyrinth. non-branching path. They were also used by those who could not make the pilgrimage to a holy site to symbolize such a journey. while a singlepath (unicursal) labyrinth has only a single. despite the name of the movie. By medieval times these same designs had taken on the symbolic representation of our walk of life from the beginning.” Labyrinths have been around since prehistoric times and have meant different things to different cultures. One way is to pray as we walk in much the same way as we would use a set of prayer beads: say a breath prayer or say a repetition of a prayer with each step. which depicts a large maze a young girl must negotiate in order to reclaim her baby brother from the Goblin King.
go ahead and retrace your steps and begin again. but sometimes in those wayward thoughts God speaks. Once you decide what will work best for you personally. It’s a matter of letting the “God thoughts” space to make themselves known. or.is to meditate as you walk. but don’t allow yourself to dwell on any certain thought and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t maintain silence in your mind. Not only that. though it may not be as satisfying as using your own finger or feet to complete the . in the case of a walking labyrinth. listening to Spirit. That takes a lot of practice. it’s a way to ease into deeper prayer. there are only two types to be used: one for your feet and one for your fingers. This can be difficult if you’ve had a very stressful time or you’re in the midst of a crisis because it requires the discipline to allow your thoughts to dissipate as you take each step. go somewhere to use one someone else has created for public use. Although there are a variety of labyrinth designs. If you don’t by the time you reach the center. By the time you reach the center you should feel quieter and more centered. For many people who choose to use a labyrinth in their prayer time. purchase one. you can decide whether you want to create one yourself. Sometimes it takes a few trips through the labyrinth for your mind to finally quiet itself. Take note of what you’re thinking. able to listen for what Spirit has to say. Another option is to use a virtual (online) labyrinth.
If you’re renting or plan on selling your home in the near future. use some modeling clay you can bake instead of cardboard and yarn.jpg. Whatever style of labyrinth you choose. paste it to a piece of cardboard and glue yarn to the outer edges of the path. you’ll need to consider your space. shuffle through it. If you’re interested in attempting something a bit more difficult. Dance through it. If you choose to create your own. It’s all up to you. go to http://www.paxworks. you may want something simple and easy to remove. shout. you may enjoy using something more permanent like stone pavers or hedges. whisper or be silent. print out the graphic. Finger labyrinths can be created from various materials from modeling clay to cardboard and yarn to wood discs. If you’re designing one for a home or organization with no intentions of selling later on. Again. .com/resources/classic7graphic. If you want to create one that is very simple. remember there is no right or wrong way to use it.circuits. Be sure to follow the directions on the package when baking the clay. the amount of time you’re willing to put into it and the amount of permanency you can have. Let Spirit guide your feet or your finger and listen for your Dada’s loving voice. it depends on how much time you’re willing to put into making the labyrinth and your abilities.
Prayer can be powerful. It goes back to the question. Yes. with instantaneous results. the exact reason for the prayer and the desired outcome or as simple as a child’s “God bless Momma.Praying for Someone Else Something I often hear from people going through crisis is “Pray for me.” Yet it is one thing many people find difficult to do. Praying for someone else deepens our communion with our Dada because it shows we can care for others in our heavenly family and also provides a wonderful opportunity for God to reach into our lives to show us more ways to care for His Creation. our Heavenly Dada. It can be as complex as naming who your praying for. You can’t ask for the wrong thing if you’re intention is the well-being of the other person. especially when we’re praying for each other. My sister-in- . even one prayer from you for another is important. “How?” How do you intercede with a Divine Being on someone else’s behalf? Are there special words that need to be said? What if I ask for the wrong thing? Does the prayer of one person for another even matter? No. You matter. It does matter. God is the ultimate good Father. there are no special words.” God knows each of us and that means He knows exactly what we need when we need it. Praying for someone else is not much different from praying for yourself.
What was important was the intent and belief behind it. God is our Good Father. “Christian is in no way perfected. but I’ve seen the video and heard her testimony. As my sister-in-law said. Joshua is in no way perfected. The young men prayed this simple prayer: Our Father. But what they .you are Holy! (I know who you are and I worship you) Your kingdom come . He and another youth prayed for her leg to be healed and God answered. they’re prayer is only the Lord’s Prayer.Your will be done (Bring heaven into this body because YOU told me the secret that will heal this _____________ <insert issues which ARE NOT in heaven>) ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN As you can see. After youth group one night. who is in heaven . It seems unbelievable. He is our Dada and wants to care for us and to show us how to care for each other. She had experienced moderate to severe back pain for most of her life. a young man asked her to sit down and showed her that the reason her back was in pain was that one leg was longer than the other.law felt this power when two young men prayed for her healing. In that moment her leg grew to the length of its mate and she was healed of her pain. It really happened.
Another way to accomplish this is to use a prayer tree. We can do this by not just talking to our Father. but also listening. to practice laying on of hands even if we feel the need to pray for them. then tie the ribbon somewhere on a tree branch. God speaks to us. God wants us to listen and to follow the best we can. something we can all learn to do through prayer. I’ve used a dead branch placed in a pot in which I put decorative gravel to hold the branch upright.have perfected is hearing clearly from God. saying a prayer for someone or a situation you know of that needs prayer. Yet we often desire a physical reminder of our prayers.” The two young men who prayed for her healing had learned how to listen to our Father. like using prayer beads. sing with us. our Dada can reach through us to be a part of others’ lives. Cut a length of ribbon and. God will drop nuggets to us all the time. sits or kneels to tell her story. Our Dada wants to dance with us. Simply Prayer Just as a good parent doesn’t care if his child stands. He wants us to be in deeper communion with Him. When we listen and pray. The Prayer Tree Most of us don’t feel confident enough to approach our friends and family. let alone complete strangers. neither does our Father. .
From repetitions to labyrinths to dancing to journals. it is all simply prayer. Our great Creator wants to reach through us to touch the lives of His other children.read our letters to Him. . all the while enriching our own. Prayer can be as complex as we want or as simple as we need. but no matter what our Dada will be there to listen and speak with us.
Footnotes  Some translations of Matthew 6:5-6 use the term closet instead of inner room.  This definition was accessed at .
It was last accessed on December 3. 2010. which was last accessed on November 29.  This information was found at http://www. which was accessed November 29.com/my/zelime/beads_how_to_string.wikipedia.com/history.com/how_4524737_make-anglican-prayerbeads.  This information found at http://www.  This and more information on Anglican prayer beads can be found at http://en.htm. 2010.wikipedia. 2010. last accessed November 29.com/history.  This and more information on Chotkis.html.http://en. which was accessed November 29. Alexander Roman can be found at http://www.  This information can be found at http://en. 2010. 2010. last accessed November 29.  See “Lord’s Prayer” for more information on what the Lord’s Prayer means.ehow.org/wiki/Lectio_Divina on November 11. rosaries and other prayer bead strings by Dr.  This and more information on Chotkis.html. .chotkis.angelfire. rosaries and other prayer bead strings by Dr.org/wiki/Labyrinth#cite_note-26. Alexander Roman can be found at http://www. 2010. 2010.wikipedia.chotkis.htm.org/wiki/Anglican_prayer_beads.
If it is to manipulate God into doing what you want you may not get the answer you’re hoping for. If it is to guilt the person you’re “praying for” into doing something it is a form of abuse and not a prayer at all. 2010. which was last accessed December 3.  To find a labyrinth near you.php. 2010.tlslabyrinthmarket.  The Labyrinth Company offers a variety of walking labyrinth options.  The Labyrinth Society has a great how-to on creating a classical labyrinth at http://labyrinthsociety.org/make-a-labyrinth. It was last accessed on December 3. including permanent and portable options.labyrinthonline. as well as finger labyrinths in many styles. You can order from them at http://www.  Your intent needs to be to give support to a deepening relationship or a sincere request for help for the person you are praying for.com/labyinfo.uk/default.com/index. which was last accessed December 3.co.com/. . This information can be found at http://en.wikipedia. check out the Labyrinth Society’s locator at http://labyrinthlocator. 2010.  Her story is so compelling I’ve included a copy of her email to me called “A Healing Testimony” in the appendix.org/wiki/Labyrinth#cite_note-26.  The best one I’ve found is at http://www.labyrinthcompany.htm.html. You can also find labyrinth products from the Labyrinth Society at http://www.
. I’ve included the story of “The Prayer Tree” in the appendix.
thinking it was important what others would say about it? When have you prayed like the Publican. what other ways can you block out distractions? Lord’s Prayer When has thinking you needed to speak like someone out of the King James Bible hindered your prayer life? How does the idea of using simple everyday language for prayer make you feel? . asking only for God’s love and mercy? The Proper Position What have you always believed to be the “proper” position for prayer? Other than using a scarf.Reflections Putting Your Heart in the Right Place When have you said a prayer like the Pharisee’s.
trying to express your thoughts and feelings to someone? How do you think God feels about how you’ve spoken to yourself? Prayer Beads When do you most often use repetitive or breath prayers? . or even before.Lectio Divina When has a word or verse jumped out at you while reading scripture? When do you think using Lectio Divina would be most helpful in your prayers? Letters to God and Journaling How often do you journal? If God were to write a letter to you right now. what do you think He would say? Make a Joyful Noise How have you talked down to yourself after.
Why do you think those were the times you chose repetition over conversation? Using the Labyrinth In what situations have you used a labyrinth as a prayer aid? When do you think using a labyrinth would be helpful? Praying for Someone Else When have you prayed for someone? How did you feel when you prayed for someone else? The Prayer Tree When do you think you might use a prayer tree? .
my husband doesn’t add anything to our prayers. At that time it had become a family tradition to say prayers before bed. but this time he asked God to help us find a way to claim the payment. The rest of our prayer time went as usual and everyone settle into bed. except my husband . Now. at least not out loud. so I diplomatically suggested he take a break and join us in our prayer time. my husband was having problems receiving a rather substantial electronic payment from a customer and neither of us could figure out why the payment system wouldn’t let us claim the payment.How do I know my prayer was answered? An Answer For All Occasions There are times when God answers our prayers in a startling way. My husband’s frustration mounted to the point that I wondered if he were about to fling the computer out the window. It seemed as if it were locked in an endless loop of asking us to claim the payment. and finally denying our ability to set up the account because there was an account already set up for that user. then telling us we needed to set up an account. usually. Sometimes the miracle would only be such for the person it happened to. My sister-in-law’s healing would be considered miraculous by anyone’s standards. For example.
who dutifully went back to work on his business. Sometimes those answers come in ways that can be easily missed if we’re not paying attention. He had done nothing to try to fix the situation since we had gone to bed. when a woman told the class of a time when God revealed how he had answered her prayers several years after she had prayed. And sometimes we never discover if our prayer is . Being Catholic. The camp director. much to his surprise. teaching a lesson on how God can reveal himself in unexpected ways. Several years later she had the opportunity to be a part of a church camp. About ten minutes later my husband came charging into the bedroom and announced that the payment had suddenly appeared in our account. There’s good news. I was a guest teacher in a Sunday school class. It doesn’t always happen like that. Her prayers had been answered. One in particular had several boys in it whom she had continued to pray for regularly. because even if you’ve missed seeing your answer the first time God will keep pointing it out to you until you see it clearly. Sometimes we have to wait patiently for our answers. she had been part of several confirmation classes. “a Godly woman” as she told us.” God had answered my husband’s prayer. though. was the fiancee of one of the boys she had been praying for. It had “just happened.
It’s about having faith. which is a hard lesson to go through.answered because it’s not for us to know. I’ve spent many times in prayer for strangers I’ll never see again or people who put a high value on their privacy and are very unlikely to tell me if my prayers for them were answered. . Those are the times I must trust our Dada to hear my prayer and take care of the one I’m praying for.
Prayer Journal .
Not only can you look back at the ways God took care of your needs. Keeping a prayer journal is a good way to help us become mindful of the moments in our lives. creates a snapshot of time. be it an hour. Writing down what we’ve experienced in a given period of time. Journaling about your day. we pay attention to what’s going on around us. but it can help you keep hope burning during those dark times when you begin to doubt God is listening. If we expect to have our prayers answered.If you’ve read the previous chapter. God directs each of our lives. . a day. creating amazing tapestries from the dark and light moments we go through. a week or whatever. to take it apart and begin to see the pattern God has been weaving in our lives. In a way it allows us to slow down time. you already know a little about journaling. allows you a glimpse at the work of art your Dada is putting together — a work of art that is you. no matter how mundane it may seem. Keeping a prayer journal is one of the best ways to see how your prayers have been answered.
I’ve personally experienced each and know interpreting your dreams can .Dreams There are some who believe God hasn’t spoken to us in dreams or any other way since the time of the Apostles. God can and does use our dreams to lead us where we need to go. b) those that help us understand and solve a problem or face a fear (problem solving dreams) and c) those directly sent by God as a gift or warning (spiritual dreams). It’s been my experience that there are three types of dreams: a) those in which our mind is reviewing our day and shelving information (organizational dreams). to grow and change our lives for our own happiness and that of those around us. I don’t believe that is true. Even if you believe psychology has completely demystified the world of dreams there is something of God in them.
Organizational Dreams These dreams are perhaps the easiest to identify. For myself. b. It’s a lot like a computer doing a defrag of its memory. it is our minds way of working out those issues we haven’t been able to freely face in our waking moments for whatever reason. Problem Solving Dreams This is the most common type of dream. These are the dreams that don’t make a lot of sense upon waking. Often filled with feelings of fear and anxiety. in a single dream. or c. The amount of information being processed within the dreamscape varies. I find organizational dreams crop up most often after I’ve watched a particularly exciting. Occasionally actual events I’ve gone through will pop up in this type of dream. Each type of dream has specific elements that make it easily identifiable as a. I’ve had as much as a week’s worth of events “shelved. They mimic recent events in your life and generally don’t have a lot of personal emotion attached to them. or disturbing. movie or read a thrilling book.lead to a better understanding of yourself and a deeper relationship with God. problem solving dreams. There’s rarely any logical sequence of time within the dream. . but more often those appear in the second type.” as it were.
In truly spiritual dreams there is little ambiguity and rarely a need to consult a dream interpretation resource. which is not in control during the dream state. The good news is that it is possible to get to the bottom of any dream if you use a good dream interpretation resource. The information we’re trying to give ourselves comes out in symbols that have personal meaning to us.Because problem solving dreams are rich in symbols. We don’t go about saying. There is good news and not so good news when it comes to dream interpretation.” That is a process of the conscious mind. The best example I can give is a dream I had shortly after leaving seminary to re-discover my true passion as a . dreams in which God chooses to speak directly to you rather than letting Spirit guide you to the answer you seek. some common sense. “Here’s what you need to do. Spiritual Dreams These are the dreams that are most rare. it is important to capture as much of the dream as possible upon waking either by writing down everything that is remembered or dictating it into a recorder. The not so good news is that it can take time and isn’t always completely successful with each dream. Interpreting the symbols can be tricky because we are not usually straight forward with ourselves in them. and you’re willing to get to know yourself on a deeper level.
I’m positive that this was His way of guiding me toward writing this book. Be it an organizational dream. In it I heard a voice I knew was God’s telling me that I had made the right choice. Maybe not. At the time I thought the bit about prayer was odd. the man is grateful that God didn’t give him what he had prayed for as a young man. Is it a true story? Maybe. and finally marry . I can tell you from personal experience that it’s a true story for me. For a very long time I prayed my ex-boyfriend would finally come back to me. several years later. He went on to say that people didn’t pray very often and He missed hearing from us. problem solving dream or spiritual dream our Dada can guide us to the answers we seek to our prayers in many ways. In the song. Like a good father helping his child figure out a particularly difficult math equation God chooses to guide us rather than just give us the answer.writer. This look at unanswered prayers is a beautiful example of how our Dada knows what’s best for us. What he discovered later in life was that the woman he married was a better mate for him. He had prayed to be married to his then current girlfriend. Unanswered Prayers There is a song by Garth Brooks about unanswered prayers being a blessing in disguise. but now. as he so often promised he would.
There’s nothing God won’t give you. It wasn’t until I finally freed myself of my obsession over him that I was ready for the man God had been preparing as my life mate. I’ve heard some say that God always gives us exactly what we want so long as we are persistent. I don’t believe that is the kind of life God wants for any of us. In fact. cheating husband who would have left me for the next woman he found who would give him the easy life he craved. If you want a great big house. if my ex-boyfriend and I had actually gotten married I have a pretty good idea what my life would have been like. but I know my husband is the man God . though. then pray for a great big house until you get it. Period. Instead He gave me something much better. one that causes hot debates in my family. then pray for a Mercedes every day until you receive it. I won’t say our life is picture perfect. But what if the thing you’re asking for isn’t the best thing for you? For instance. That brings up a big question. God didn’t give me what I prayed for. We have our challenges and we have our disagreements. I would have ended up miserable with a dead-beat. I have to say that I am very glad God did not answer my prayers as I had hoped back then. If you want a Mercedes.me. Is there such a thing as an unanswered prayer? There is the argument that God always answers our prayers.
Of course.meant for me to be with. The same is true of “not yet. So where does that leave us? Is there such a thing as an unanswered prayer? I don’t believe so. it’s easy to be excited. But when God says no. It was that I wanted her to grow up strong and healthy. if your son asks . I knew she’d eventually be ready to eat something filling once the tantrum subsided. no or not yet. Sometimes she even refused to eat her lunch. she threw herself to the floor and screamed and carried on as if the world was about to end. When our Dada says yes. It wasn’t that I didn’t want her to have a cookie and it wasn’t that I was a big meanie as she might have thought at the time. Each answer is always for our good even though we may not believe it at the time. I also knew she’d be healthier because she was eating something besides a cookie. All she could see was that she was being denied what she wanted at that moment. we often throw a tantrum just as my daughter did as a toddler when I wouldn’t let her play with a pair of scissors. While I don’t agree that God will give us whatever we ask for I do believe God always gives us an answer: yes.” When I would tell my daughter she had to wait until after lunch to have a cookie. She didn’t understand that what she wanted was too dangerous for her. As Jesus said: “Which of you fathers.
In our deepening relationship with God we can begin to see there are no unanswered prayers only “yes. will he? Or if he asks for an egg. he won’t give him a scorpion.for bread. help us deepen our relationship with God. how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” – Luke 11:11-13 God knows what’s best for each of us.” “no. will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish. then can we expect God to answer our prayers with “yes” each time. When we pray for Spirit to come into our lives. know how to give good gifts to your children.” . guide us. being evil. what will satisfy us beyond today. It is only when we are ready for God’s “yes” that we will receive what we most desire because what we most desire is what God has planned for us. will he? If you then. He knows what will make us truly happy. he won’t give him a snake instead of a fish.” and “wait until you’re ready.
My experiences growing up. I know that each event in my life has led me to this point. being drawn into different forms of ministry. even if God is the only one who knows why. set me on a path toward seminary.No Coincidences I’m a firm believer that there are no coincidences. What I learned in seminary helped me define the ideas and learn the skills I needed to present daunting theological concepts in simpler forms that are easier to understand. All of that combined with my deep love of . Everything happens for a reason.
Even buying our house was a coincidence. The task would have been too big for me to accept. The end to our renter’s lease was fast approaching and we were running out of time to sign the contract to buy our first . I would have run the other direction. My part time job at the local credit union was an answered prayer when the president asked me to work for them out of the blue. Prayer makes moving from coincidence to coincidence simpler because we’ve already opened our hearts to the Creator. It amazes me how often I see my prayers answered through what others call coincidence. not knowing we needed just the amount of money being offered. My first book was an answered prayer in that I wasn’t sure I should write it until our Director of Youth Discipleship told me she still needed both a teacher and curriculum for the adult vacation Bible school class. if someone had suggested I’d be authoring a book on prayer. When I look back at the whole picture I can see the steps that brought me to this point. yet God used each new event in my life to mold me into who I am now so that I could do what he needed me to do. However at any point between then and now. my need to share our Dada’s love with the rest of humankind and my passion for writing to create the book you are reading now. Our relationship continues to deepen as God reveals each new step we need to take.God.
The entire first seventeen verses is a genealogy of Jesus dating back long before King David. Unlike asking for something from a human parent who is able to give us an immediate answer we can hear with our ears and see with our eyes. God can choose to intervene immediately . God moved everything into place so that we could sign the contract and move into the house just one week before we had to be out of our apartment. God. asking God means having faith that an answer will be given. We can know that every step we take in life is an answer to our prayers because each prayer leads to a deepening communion with the one who loves us best of all. Every one of those people needed to be where they were and do what they did in order for Jesus to be born at just the right place at the right time. The Answer Will Come There is no question that praying is easier than believing your prayers will be answered. Each answer to prayer could easily be mistaken as a coincidence. Yet there it is – a multitude of coincidences that aren’t. It’s planning to boggle the mind. For example. We can open our hearts and minds to our Dada and experience so much more than mere coincidence. When things just magically fall into place you can bet God has been at work for a long time to bring you to that point. take a look at the first chapter of Matthew.house.
Learning how to pray is only the beginning. How you choose to see your Dada’s work in your life makes the difference in how you see each prayer is answered. We must always remember that God always speaks to us. Yet it is exactly what our Dada has always promised: to be with us and hear our prayers at all times. even if you don’t understand why. however.and answer in an undeniable way. will always be for your good. When we take the time to track our prayer life by keeping a prayer journal or dream journal. God will answer your prayers. a slow guidance toward our heart’s desires. The answer. but most often doesn’t. It is the waiting and the frustration between the asking and the answer that makes the answer seem so much more surprising. we will see patterns emerge in our lives. It may not be the answer you were hoping for. Each of us can know that our prayers will be answered. almost unbelievable. though that answer may seem miraculous only to ourselves. . It may be a complete surprise or a major disappointment. God’s answers come in very subtle ways.
Footnotes  It was Session 6 from Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises For Our Lives (see “Further Reading”). .
com/dreamdictionary/) when I need a little help discovering the meaning behind any given symbol.org/wiki/Deirdre_Barrett and was last accessed December 31. I describe it in “Why do we pray?”.  This information and more can be found at http://en.org/wiki/Reverse_learning and was last accessed December 31. .  I personally use The Curious Dreamer (http://www.wikipedia. Not all symbols are universal and not all symbols will mean the same thing to everyone. There’s a great scene in “Bruce Almighty” that shows this blindness in action.wikipedia. 2010.  This information and more can be found at http://en.  Keep this in mind when you’re selecting a resource to help you interpret your dream symbols. 2010.thecuriousdreamer.
take some time to try to discover what problem(s) God may be helping you work through.Reflections An Answer for All Occasions When have you experienced a miracle that would be considered miraculous only to you? When have you had to wait for an answer to your prayer? What do you do to help you accept not knowing how your prayer has been answered? Prayer Journal In what ways has keeping a prayer journal helped you? When are the best times for you to write in a prayer journal? Dreams How often have you paid attention to your dreams? What symbols appear most often in your dreams? Using several different resources. When have you known God was communicating with you .
How have those events shaped what you do now? When have you experienced a coincidence? How often have you looked back at past events to see how God worked things out for a coincidence to happen in your life? .directly in a dream? Unanswered Prayers What are your thoughts on unanswered prayers? When have you experienced a “yes”? When have you experienced a “no”? When have you experienced a “not yet”? How can you change your reactions to God’s answers of “no” and “not yet”? No Coincidences Think back to different events in your life.
200909-06. Gary. Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy Through Written Prayer. Robinson. Fear Not! Discovering God.Further Reading Chapman. 2004. Lynn D. Ripple.. Dk Pub. Print. Divine Intuition. Northfield Publishing. . and Katia Andreeva. Print Morrissey. Lynn. Print. 2009. The 5 Love Languages. 2001. 2010. Virginia. Multnomah Books. Print.
(unloading boxes from the carts. he asked me to go stand under a sign so he could see how tall I was. 5-6 on a scale of 10. God had also shown him how to hold my legs so I would know. one of my legs was shorter than the other. That night the pain was not too bad so I said. <morning>) So Christian tells me where the pain is I’m experiencing and I agree. Of course. This was back in May and I had left the Container Store within a month of this happening. bending over to slash. but God had shown him this was the source of pain. which gave these boys the opportunity to pray with and heal my friend of eczema and allergies/sinus congestion. almost daily and bad pain. My back would already be in pain when I got there. “No. I would have level 8-9 pain.” Then he asked if I normally did. I was getting ready to walk out the door when Christian asks me if I have back pain. I had stopped several times to pray with some other kids. not really. I was right under the word bus . He asks if he can pray for me. if I worked truck shift in the night or morning. At TCS.bending over or kneeling to unwrap contents and stretching to put them on the shelf and people yelling to go faster. Before he prayed. pushing heavy carts.A Healing Testimony I was walking through the lobby of my church after youth service on a Wednesday night. I went and sat in a chair and he held my legs (like the video) to show that in fact. flip and slash boxes <night> . I didn’t know at the time. I said sure.
I don’t think I cried. I had NO pain. jumping up and down acting crazy. like I normally would have been. It wasn’t the kind of pins and needles tingling you feel when your foot is asleep. He then placed his hand on my back where I told him I had had scoliosis since I was 12. I stood back next to the sign and this time I was in the middle of the word bus. Instead I was very quiet after that. The next evening after my leg and back were healed. My leg began tingling in the weirdest way. Then they prayed too much and my leg kept growing too long. I literally felt my leg growing and I watched it grow. How did it affect me? I wasn’t awe-struck. they thanked God for the abundance and told my leg to be set equal with the other.when I stood. The muscular hump is still there but I was healed that night. So again. I literally felt my foot push back into position until it was perfectly aligned with the other leg. I couldn’t get through ONE mile before without crawling out of the gym in pain. I believe God healed my spine that night. I wasn’t in praise and worship. So. I was taller. but I was very moved like never before. When I stood up. Then he started telling my leg to grow out. I felt NO pain after those . I felt heat on my back when he was praying for my back. I went to the gym and walked 4. I sat back down and he began thanking God and asking Him to release heaven into my body.2 miles on the treadmill. ZERO! After years of living with dull pain. no pain is almost unbelievable.
My back didn’t hurt at all!! Christians need to have confidence that prayer is not as hard as it seems. Seriously. I pray. Do you understand my leg healing was the simple result of praying the Lord’s Prayer? Having my leg healed made me wanna find out how they did that? SIMPLE – Our Father. etc. evangelists. This means we should be in constant communication. We are to pray without ceasing. fanatics) that we would do greater works. but Jesus told his disciples to go out.cuz we are in his crowd.you are Holy! (I know who you are and I worship you) Your kingdom come . what more can I do that would be greater? Seriously? But the reason we don’t see these signs and wonders is because we “mature” Christians have a lot of maturing to do.4 miles except tired from having been out of shape to do it. who is in heaven . I talk all the time.Your will be done (Bring heaven into this body because YOU told me the secret that will heal this . He told us (I’m his disciple and so are you . if Jesus brought a man back to life. healing ministers. groupies. But this effect of prayer that healed my leg was not something I had even considered possible until these two “ordinary” boys prayed for my healing and my leg grew. We think this is reserved for preachers. They need to understand that it is simply conversation.
We have the ability to do the awesome kinds of things that Moses. wonders and miracles are DAILY common place occurrences for EVERYONE in his congregation. arms. God will drop nuggets to us all the time. I started listening for ailments. When I found out they were using the simple power of the Lord’s Prayer. broken ankles. has a church in Redding. Paul. AIDS. My friend was leaving church as second service was starting because she had a sinus headache like migraine. Jesus. HIV. NO broken marriages. Elisha. I prayed for her ._____________ <insert issues which ARE NOT in heaven> there is NO cancer. wrists. Elijah. But instead we intermix the world into our way of life so that we pollute the spirit within us. etc. NO sin) ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN A really important name for you to be aware of concerning what happen to my leg – Bill Johnson. and others did. Joshua is in no way perfected. NO financial issues. WE as mature Christians get tangled up and twisted so that we have become just like the people that God kept frowning on in Judges. But what they have perfected is hearing clearly from God. backs. author of When Heaven Invades Earth. California where signs. Peter. hands. Christian is in no way perfected.
He was sitting at the corner store when our outreach team went out and as soon as I saw him. I laid hands on this guy’s leg until God told me to lay hands on his head instead.. I held a migraine in my right hand one night and heard God tell me to go wash my hand in the bathroom to get rid of it.on the broken casted leg. Within five minutes he was wiggling his toes and standing . We prayed again and the cool breeze was on the front of his ankle this time. I laid hands on his ankle and he said he felt a cool breeze inside. no cast. He told the doctor he didn’t want surgery and that he wanted God to heal it. He stood up and it didn’t hurt but he still couldn’t bend forward on it. He stood up and could bend like he hadn’t been able to bend in a while. .. I start getting excited to go pray and watch God enter into a person’s body to heal it. I prayed for a man with a cast whose doctor had told him he would have to have surgery to fix it. I can’t describe it except how your ears perk up when you hear something good. Then I went to pray for a teenager who had limped off his skateboard.fully . I started getting excited. Said he had sprained his ankle several months back and been hurting ever since. I had prayed for another friend who had to go study after evening communion service on her master’s. my whole being perks up when I see or hear someone who needs healing. No doctor.headache and it went away by the time we finished our conversation.
I keep getting people with sprained ankles and broken arms. whole and walking out our calling and purpose. He wants us healthy. I think God is raising my faith level so that I’ll be ready to stand out for the big stuff. . He doesn’t want us suffering. God is SOOOOO amazing! And He loves us sooooo much! He doesn’t want us in pain.
.The Prayer Tree Long ago there lived a man in a small house at the end of the road. a neighbor to anyone in need. he recalled the many worries he had collected from the customers. A few more steps brought him to his favorite spot in the yard. Each step the old man took seemed to grow harder and slower as he made his way to the little gate in his fenced in yard. mulling over Charlie’s sick little boy and Auntie Helda’s arthritic joints. He considered Marvin’s slowly deteriorating marriage and Kevin’s hard-won nomination to the university’s Dean’s list. He was a quiet man. Yet. knowing he would probably be shipped out to some war-torn third world country. It was just as well. hard hours at the local grocery store. for had they known why he silently listened to them. they may not have said anything at all. With a heavy heart. it was all to the good. His mind turned to Lily’s unwed pregnancy and the heart-break her parents had endured in finding out. who worked long. he labored slowly down the road. During the long walk to his house. They never knew he was storing what they said in his memory as he coaxed them into unburdening their hearts. When the day was done. Thoughts of little Timmy’s lost dog followed hard on the heels of Kerry’s decision to sign up with the armed forces. With a heavy sigh he pushed the creaking gate open just wide enough to amble past. the man shuffled home.
The old man stared at the ribbons. As he watched those float away.” he said as he looked back at the tree. the old man . With a little nod of satisfaction to the tree. “I have more work for you and I today. he smiled. The lowest branches held bits of colored ribbon.” As the old man strung each ribbon from his hand onto the branches of the tree. some looking so new that they could have been put there only moments ago. some looking ragged and aged as if they’d been hanging in the branch for ages beyond counting. he carefully prayed for each person who had unburdened themselves that day. taking it as a sign that God was still listening. He stood back and watched as the light breeze tugged at the colorful ribbons. but I know it’s no more than we can handle.Growing tall and strong in his yard was young maple tree. It took a long while for there were many prayers to say. some soon. The man knew each ribbon prayer was special and would be answered in due time. its branches low enough that even the smallest child could have swung up into them. Old Friend. considering each one in turn. pulling some free almost immediately and whisking them away only God knew where. but all answered. then reached into the breast pocket of his faded overalls to pull out several more. Its arms stretched wide as if to hug the very sky. but after the last ribbon was placed on the tree the man’s heart felt lightened. some late. “Well.
.straightened his back and walked up the steps to his front door. smiling all the way.