One Sunday morning in a church not too far from here, a young child was “acting up” during worship. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle. Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the entryway, the little Guy called loudly to the congregation, “Pray for me! Pray for me!”
There are many ‘prayer plans’ that are helpful as a guide in spending time with God in prayer. This one has been around for years. It’s an acronym for 4 movements of prayer.
Adoration. Adoration is to adore God and to worship Him. In adoration, we praise God for who He is –
our Creator, our Peace,
our Guide, our Provider,
our Compassionate One and our Redeemer.
When you focus your attention on God – the only one who can meet your needs, it takes your eyes off circumstances and allows you to experience trust and God’s peace.
Confession. Confession allows you to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal and remove things in our life that are a hindrance in your relationship with God that are displeasing to Him.
All of us have sinned, and the Holy Spirit will reveal areas in our life that are not pleasing to Him. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:8-9)
If the Holy Spirit reveals sin in your life, confess that sin specifically and repent. This involves a change in your attitude and an active move on your part to no longer engage in that sin.
Ask God to fill – to control and empower you by His Holy Spirit. Sometimes making things right with God includes restitution or making things right with a person you have wronged. If the Holy Spirit shows this to you, obey His direction.
Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving allows us to thank God for what He has done for us, and through us. Adoration is to praise God for who He is, thanksgiving is thanking Him for His actions.Recall and thank God for the wonderful things that He has done for you, and the gifts that you have been given.
You might make a list of things that come to your mind and then thank Him for them in your time with God.
Supplication. This kind of prayer is asking God to provide for our needs and the needs of others.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Pray For Others.
Pray for your family members, neighbors and friends.
Pray for those who don’t know Jesus, to come to faith.
Pray for His will be done in their life, that He would give them wisdom and protect them.
Pray For Issues and Concerns
Pray for leaders and those in influential positions.
Pray for global issues such as the poor, the hungry, clean water crisis, the widow and orphan. Pray for those being enslaved in the sex trade.
Pray for your church and their needs and goals.
Pray For Your Own Needs.
Jesus encourages us to do this in the Lord’s Prayer. For instance, ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ He wants to be your provider.
Practical help for your personal time with God – connecting SOAP and ACTS.
* Set a time. The same time every day is a good way to establish this important habit.
* Set a place. The same place each day is also instrumental in establishing a disciplined time with God.
* Avoid distractions. What are the things that could distract you from following through with your desire to focus only on God? TV? Music? Visitors? Phone calls? Whatever it is, how will you avoid this distraction?
* Set reasonable prayer goals. You may know someone who spends an hour a day in prayer, or another who reads through the Bible completely in a year. But these goals may not be reasonable for you to start out with. Be realistic! What can you guarantee you would do each day? On some days maybe you can do more but make your daily goal – attainable.
My desire for you is that you will be successful in spending time with God consistently. Maybe you could spend 10 minutes of Bible reading and prayer or maybe 20 minutes.
Tony Evans, a popular preacher from Texas, spoke of one particular ride on an elevator. He said he’d never been particularly comfortable on elevators. There was something about riding up and down in a little box several hundred feet off the ground that has never sat well with him. He worried that something would go wrong.
One day it did. The elevator he was riding in got stuck in between floors. Some of the people in the car became frantic. They began to beat on the door hoping to get someone’s attention. Others began to yell in the hopes that their voices would get someone on the surrounding floors to come to the aid. But nobody heard their noise or their cries.
Then Evans quietly made his way to the front of the elevator, opened a little door in the wall and pulled out a telephone. Immediately he was connected with someone on the outside. He didn’t need to beat on the wall to get their attention. He didn’t need to speak loudly in the phone to receive their help. He could have whispered and they would have heard him.
Evans said that – in this world, we’re going to get “stuck” in places we aren’t comfortable with. Some people begin to beat against the walls, others cry out in dismay. But the person who trusts in confident prayer knows there’s someone on the other end who is always there and hears their call.