The Big Idea
Paul’s prayer is an expression of his confidence in God’s work, his love for the Philippian church and his desire for their growth in Christ to the glory and praise of God. How do our prayers compare against these criteria?
In: teach me how to pray
1. Pray as servants and sons
2. Pray because God works
3. Pray because you care
4. Pray for what’s best
Out: to the glory and praise of God
Hi Pete (and others),
Thanks for giving us a lesson in how to pray based on Phil 1-11! At DNA last night we discussed our prayer lives (amongst other things) and discussed how could we pray better. Could you (and others) give ideas to help us all pray more and pray better?
I just found an article at GoThereFor.com on an app called PrayerMate (available for Apple and Android devices). I’ve just installed it and tried setting it up. If anyone else has it or has started using it, could they please discuss whether they have found it good and discuss how they are using it? Thanks!
Glad your DNA is keen to pray more & better!
Other than the things I was drawing out of Philippians 1:1-11 in my talk, there are many other things to be said about prayer – many books have been written!
One of the books I recommended on Sunday was Don Carson’s “A Call to Spiritual Reformation”. In it he proposes the following 8 lessons in prayer…
1. PLAN to pray
2. FOCUS: pray out loud, pray in response to the Bible, write your prayers
3. form prayer PARTNERSHIPS in which you commit to praying for each other
4. Choose good MODELS
5. Use prayer LISTS to help you remember who & what to pray for
6. Remember God is sovereign AND answers prayer
7. MODEL good public prayer
8. Pray until you REALLY pray
Hope that helps!
I like the list above and no.8 is close to my heart.
My own advise is to let any worry, concern, anxiety or desire for another’s welfare that you feel drive you to prayer. That is to say, any time you feel concerned for anyone’s (including your own) situation, let the concern be a reminder and prompt to pray. Then do so or if you aren’t able to at that particular moment, make concrete plans to do so.
My experience is that the more you genuinely pray, in honesty and in light of God’s word, the more you become Christ like. And as a result, Christ grows in you genuine concern for others and the kingdom. This concern then becomes the above mentioned prompt to pray. It’s a possitive cycle and also breeds a sense of our own dependance and God’s willingness to provide.
I don’t feel like I’ve explained myself very well here as, once we hit Phillipians 4, we’ll see this somewhat turned on it’s head. My thoughts there are that worry is ungodly and to be defeated by prayer, where as concern for others is godly and to prompt prayer.
Something we were talking about in my DNA was how we can ‘forget’ to pray for people. I know that when I forget to pray its often actually because I’m careless. I mean if I ‘forget’ to pray for someone it probably means I don’t actually care enough about them to pray for them. I might even tell someone that I’ll pray for them but not follow through. In ‘a call to spiritual reformation’ Carson makes a good point:”What we actually do reflects our highest priorities. That means we can proclaim our commitment to prayer until the cows come home, but unless we actually pray, our actions disown our words.” Care would be the action of remembering the person and following through with the prayer.
On Sunday I thought the point ‘pray because you care’ was particularly helpful, and to hear from Pil 1:3 where Paul says “I thank my God every time I REMEMBER you.” Paul obviously cared for the Philippians “I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” so he remembered them and then as David H mentioned he was ‘prompted’ to pray for them.
So this week I resolved to spend some time praying for people. I began praying but as it often turns out I got distracted “what about that assignment due today?”. Again I supposed that I was distracted because of my carelessness. I had remembered to pray which was one step but learning to have focus and discipline will require time. Carson suggests planning to pray. He says “We don’t drift into spiritual life or disciplined prayer. We won’t grow in prayer unless we plan to pray.” Even Paul and Jesus planned to pray. And so:
‘We care by planning our prayer’
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