For the past two weeks, I’ve written a couple of new year’s resolutions for Christians. First, I wrote about putting what the Bible says into practice. Then, I talked about making church a priority. Today’s subject is prayer. How can we pray differently in 2018? Let’s pray more and pray better.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “never stop praying.” This phrase doesn’t mean to be continuously mumbling prayers under your breath. It simply means to continuously pray. The original word used leads us to believe that it is a phrase that would encourage us to pray often and never break the line of communication. Why do radio users use the phrase “over” when they finish what they are saying? Why don’t they just turn the radio off? The answer should be easy…they don’t want to permanently break off communication. They need to be reachable, and they need the other person to be easily reached. That same idea can be applied to “never stop praying.” We need to continually be in contact with God. We need to never break our line of communication. God should be a close friend, one that you converse with often. This year, work on that concept of “never stop praying.” Are you talking with God as much as you are talking with others? Are you using little gaps in your day to catch up and see what He wants to tell you? Pray more.
Praying “better” is a weird term. This week, our kids’ ministry is working on practicing prayer. The word “practicing” leads us to believe that it is something that we can improve at…and we can! Having a first conversation with someone can be a little difficult. It can be awkward. You don’t know how to talk to that person. After much conversation, though, it gets a lot easier. We need to be “practicing” prayer more in order to have more meaningful conversations with God.
Praying better also includes listening better. We tend to rush through our time with God with no request for Him to speak to us. Even when we do want guidance, we don’t listen. We don’t go looking for guidance. God speaks to us in many ways, and one way is through the Holy Spirit. We pray, then we get busy with the next task. When we do that, we lose the mindset of listening for what God has to say through the Holy Spirit. Pray better this year by making time for God to speak to you. Focus on God, and focus on what He has to say.
Finally, praying better means to pray for better things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with praying for safety when you are going on a long trip, health when you are sick, or provision when you are trying to make ends meet. The problem is that, for many, our prayer list ends there. What if, in 2018, we began praying for things that make us uncomfortable? What if we prayed to know God more deeply and practice more of His will for our lives? What if we asked God to make us more generous or kind? What if we asked God for boldness because we know that He may ask us to do something scary? Our prayer lives and spiritual walk would be turned upside-down. Let’s pray better in 2018. Here are some prayer items to get you started:
- That I would know God more deeply
- That God would call me to do something big for Him today
- That I would be God’s hands and feet more often and more effectively
- That I would be bold when I shared the Gospel
- That God would use me to disciple someone else
- That God would reveal my hidden sins to me so I can ask for forgiveness and be more like Him