We don’t have to follow a specific formula to talk with God, but practicing consistently with a model can help us deepen our purpose and connection to Him through our prayer time. The heart of this month is to help you find a new level of purpose, effectiveness and enjoyment in your prayer life. While prayer does take commitment and can require discipline to develop into a daily habit, we also want to remember that it’s a “get to” not a “got to.” It’s a privilege to be able to come to God in prayer.
Have a Certain Time
Prayer is most effective when it isn’t something we do every now and then, but when it’s a lifestyle we cultivate. To understand how to have a lifestyle of prayer, we can look at the example Jesus gave during His life on earth.
Jesus got up early in the morning to spend time with His Heavenly Father. Make a daily appointment with God — whether it’s first thing in the morning, at lunch, or in the evening — and faithfully keep it.
Have a Certain Place
Jesus had a specific place He went to pray. Having a designated place to pray helps us remove distractions and frees us to worship and pray out loud.
Have a Certain Plan
When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He gave them a prayer outline. We call it “The Lord’s Prayer.” This outline (Next Page) can help you develop a rhythm for your prayer time. As we pray every day, our plans for our prayer time can vary, maybe including worship music, Bible reading and quiet time to listen to God. It doesn’t always have to look the same, it doesn’t have to be a required amount of time; it just helps when we have a plan for connecting regularly with God.
The Lord's Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV)
|Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.
CONNECT WITH GOD RELATIONALLY
“Our Father in Heaven”- Take a moment and make sure your focus is on God alone. This could be as simple as saying, “Good Morning, God.”
WORSHIP HIS NAME
“Hallowed be Your Name” – You could play a worship song, or recite the words of your favorite chorus or hymn. He is great, so let Him know you believe in Him.
PRAY HIS AGENDA FIRST
“Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” – Before you get into your needs, ask God for help in seeing life through His perspective. Pray for the topic provided by the church on the weekly prayer guide in the bulletin or on Social Media.
DEPEND ON HIM FOR EVERYTHING
“Give us this day our daily bread” – Take some time and pray for the needs (relational, financial, emotional, etc.) in your life and for those close to you. Believe that God will give you what you need to thrive today.
FORGIVE AND BE FORGIVEN
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” - Clean up the relational baggage you carry. Ask God to forgive you for the ways you’ve tried to make life work without Him. Extend that same forgiveness to those who have cost you undue time in your emotional focus.
ENGAGE IN SPIRITUAL WARFARE
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” – Pray in the Spirit. Pray for your kids, spouse, family members, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Pray that God will protect others and that He will push back the darkness the enemy brings into our world.
EXPRESS FAITH IN GOD’S ABILITY
“For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” – Believe that God is who He says He is. Align your trust with His purposes and go for it!
The goal of fasting is to draw near to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose. Fasting reminds us that when we feel a craving, what we desire is a cheap substitute for the life Jesus provides for us. Fasting helps us hit the reset button of our soul and renews our focus and our purpose from the inside out. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your physical limitations and needs. We encourage you to seek God in helping you select the right option for you at this stage of your life’s journey.
In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option. Please make sure you are prepared for this type of fast both emotionally and physically.
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.
This is the most common type of fast. This usually involves abstaining from food during a certain time of the day. This can correlate to specific meal, certain times of the day, such as 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM, or from sunup to sundown. This can also be attached to just one or more days in the week. For example, you can fast lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This fast is a great option if you do not have much experience fasting food, have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast.
Matthew 6:6-18 | Matthew 9:14-15 | Luke 18:9-14 | Acts 27:33-37 | Nehemiah 9:1-3