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YOUR BROTHER'S KEEPER
WELCOME BACK MY FRIEND
Remember the word integrity from the step about your character? I
trust that you have the integrity to take just one step a day, it IS
the best way!
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.
You may be wondering
why PRAYER isn't one of the first Steps in My Brother's Keeper. It's
simply because the sincerity of your prayer is more important than the
procedure of it, and you've been increasing your sincerity with every
step you take. I'm not saying that I didn't want you to pray up to
this point, I'm just saying that we will now discuss ...
THE WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND HOW OF
EFFECTIVE CHRISTIAN PRAYER
You're going to love this step. It
doesn't matter if you're a shepherd or a sheep, we all want our
PRAYER to be more effective and to feel closer to God. In this
study, you'll discover that EFFECTIVE PRAYER is simple and with
just the tips that are in the Bible, you can improve your PRAYER life
Before we start, there are a few
misunderstandings about prayer, and habits that you may have formed
that need to be looked at before you can expect positive improvement
in your prayers, so let's talk for a moment about what prayer is NOT.
Don't be offended if one or more of these things describe a pattern
that you follow in prayer. But instead, rejoice that after learning
more from the Bible about prayer in the next few minutes, you'll be on
your way to a closer relationship with the Lord.
Prayer is NOT . . .
A daily rattling off of your list of complaints to God.
Most of the things we complain to God about can be changed by our own
choices. Always remember, we are God's servants, He is not ours.
Prayer is NOT . . .
Something we do because we feel obligated. Our Father
wants us to spend time with Him because of a sincere desire to, not
because we need to have our prayer time card punched.
Prayer is NOT . . .
A one sided conversation. You're not the only one
present and participating. We'll talk about this more a little later
in this step.
Prayer is NOT . . .
Better because of how long of a time you spend in prayer.
Prayer is NOT . . . the manner
in which we should
pray, not the only prayer we should offer. A heartfelt prayer is not
repetition without thought.
Reciting the same words over and over and over again,
most of the time with no emotion, or many times with your mind concentrating
on something completely different while the words drone in your mind.
When Jesus spoke the Lord's prayer, He said that this was
If any of these things have become
your habits, get ready for a totally new attitude about prayer. The
first thing you need to do is relax. There are no procedures to follow
or prerequisites to fulfill. Your prayer is as unique as you are. No
two people pray alike. Only you can decide how you pray.
Let's get started.
An important thing to know about prayer is understanding who
you're praying to.
Get to know who the Lord is.
The Lord is your
Spiritual Father. So when you pray, do not imagine some far off deity.
Instead KNOW that He is your loving Father who seeks to share time and
thoughts with His child as often as He can. He wants you to talk WITH
Him ... Not at Him.
is prayer? Prayer is the way that
Christians communicate with God. But do you feel like you're at a loss
for words when you pray?
on earth are you supposed to
talk about when you pray, anyway?
If you're new to prayer and you're
having trouble getting started, maybe this will help. Pretend that
someone just introduced you to Jesus for the first time, and left you
alone together to talk. Get to know Him. How do you do that? TALK!
What would you tell Him? What would you ask? You may feel a bit silly,
being that He already knows you better than you do, but tell Him all
about you. You may learn things about yourself that you didn't know,
because many times we don't discover things about ourselves until we
talk about them. Are there questions that you've always wondered about
Him? ASK! Are there things about yourself that you've never told
anyone? TELL HIM your secrets. It will bring you closer to Him and
your friendship will begin to flourish. TRUST HIM! Share your
successes, your failures, your dreams, your disappointments, your
happiness, your sadness . . . EVERYTHING! He IS your best friend.
Now that you're getting the idea,
remember that God and the Holy Spirit are there for you too. When you
feel you need a more Fatherly ear, give your prayer to God. If you
feel you need guidance, or if you're lonely, the Holy Spirit is
waiting for your invitation.
Sometimes you may just feel like spending time with
the Lord, without speaking. Just knowing His presence is with you, is
very fulfilling. Sometimes you just can't put your thoughts into words
when you want to pray, but don't worry, because God knows your heart.
The Apostle Paul explains:
Our Spirit groans during prayer, the Holy Spirit searches the
heart and mind of your Spirit and tells God.
There is no designated time
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are
available whenever you want or need to talk to them. You don't have to
make an appointment, call ahead of time or save up your prayers for
Sunday morning. Just invite them into your heart.
When you first wake up, say "Good
Morning" to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Hide and watch whether the
times you remember to do this, your day goes better. Make this a habit
in your life. Put something on your nightstand, or your bathroom
mirror that will remind you that He is waiting for you to talk to Him.
Attach a "post it" note to your kitchen cabinet, on the refrigerator,
or anywhere and everywhere to remind you to greet Him throughout the
day. If your child woke up and didn't say good morning to you, you
would be hurt or think he was mad at you. Don't ignore God . . . You
are His child. Starting out the day, giving your undivided attention
to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit WILL result in a better day.
When things go wrong stop and pray.
If you don't, they may just get worse, but if you ask God for help,
will He not help His child?
Oh, and one more thing ... Don't wait
for things to go wrong to pray. God is happy to hear from you when
things are going right too, otherwise it may seem like you are taking
Him for granted or taking advantage of Him.
should you pray? Jesus taught us that we should pray in private.
But thou, when thou
prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy
door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father
which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
This doesn't mean that you're confined to your room
when you pray. You can pray anywhere, anytime, just as long as it's
only between you and God.
This brings up some questions. What about blessing
meals or praying in church?
Certainly our Father wants the church to pray
together, but community prayer is quite different from personal
prayer. If everyone present is praying in unity, remember what Jesus
For where two or three are
gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
If you're giving thanks for a meal, and everyone
present is in agreement to give thanks, likewise, you are glorifying
God together, if you're not seeking edification (attention or glory)
because of your prayer.
Saying a little "God bless Grandma and Grandpa" with
Junior before bed? Splendid! We do have to teach the children. But now
let's look at some other situations.
In a restaurant, among strangers, you may just want
to give your thanksgiving to God silently without revealing it to
others. If you bow your head, you're really just saying "Look at me,
I'm praying." If you're moving your lips while you whisper your
prayer, or give any hint at all that you're praying, you're not really
doing it for God, you're doing it for attention.
And when thou
prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love
to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the
streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you,
They have their reward.
Did you catch that? What is their
reward? The attention they got from people. Let your reward be in
In a chat room, let's say someone opens up the floor
for prayer for something or someone. Everyone begins to put their
petitions up on the board. They're not really speaking to God, they're
speaking to the other people in the room. They carefully choose their
most eloquent words to post, clearly for self edification (praise).
Some continue, trying to outdo the others present. There's no need to
display sincere prayers to God. If someone wants to be prayed for,
your silent prayer speaks volumes to God, compared to revealing your
intimate conversation with Him in an open forum. It's an insult to the
Lord when you want others to share in your communion with Him. If
there is Godly conversation in the room and you're spiritually moved
by it, an enthusiastic "Amen" or something similar is quite different.
Nobody wants to quench your passion, but there is a time and a place
for everything. In prayer, the time is anytime, and the place is in
the privacy of your mind, with God.
This can be a very controversial topic. The best
thing to do is follow your conscience, not your pride and you will
be able to FEEL when it is appropriate, and what is appropriate to
say in prayer in public.
There are millions of reasons
to pray, but most of them fall into
about five categories.
Let every thing that hath breath
the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
Abide in Jesus, His words in you, and
what you will.
Philippians 4:6, let your
request be known to God.
In everything by prayer and supplication with
Trust in Him at all times; ye people,
pour out your heart before Him:
God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Do you ever pray with
thanksgiving? That means do you thank God in advance for the things
you ask Him for? When you do this, you're showing the strength of your
faith and your lack of doubt.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to
all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given
him. But let him ask in
nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea
driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that
he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is
unstable in all his ways.
Being double minded means you're not
sure of something, you have doubt or you have different opinions about
something ... You're hopeful, but you're not absolutely positively,
without a doubt. To be single minded means to be certain and confident
about what you think.
(Make sure) when you ask with
thanksgiving, you're not being presumptuous by doing this. In other
words, don't assume that God owes you what you're asking for just
because you gave Him thanks in advance. Your thanks should be given
with the intention of showing praise, not expectation for your own
gain. Here's an example:
In the name of Christ Jesus, at one with the Holy Spirit, if it be
according to your will,
Make your request here
I believe that with you, all things are possible. Thank you for
answering my prayer.
Glory and praise to you, my Almighty Father. I love you.
Don't forget you are here to glorify
God, not only in REPRESENTING Jesus Christ, but also in the praise and
thanksgiving you offer to Him. What better way is there to glorify Him
than to praise Him?
Praying for others is such a wonderful gift.
In praying for someone else, you could actually be releasing miracles
for them. You just never know the POWER of prayer!
As you learned at the very beginning of this study,
everybody prays differently. Sometimes you may pray for hours at a
time, and sometimes you may just whisper one word (like Alleluia or
Thanks or Amen). How
you pray is entirely up to you. Just
remember, there are no limitations on prayer, small or large. Your
Father judges your heart, and the only thing He wants from you, is
sincerity. With that in mind, there are some things in the
Bible that you may find helpful to know about prayer.
IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST
Pray in Jesus' name. Jesus said:
And whatsoever ye shall
ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified
in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
Does that mean that if you forget to say "In the
name of Jesus, I ask . . . " that
your prayer won't be answered? Absolutely not. Again, your Father
judges your heart.
GOD'S WILL BE DONE
Here's a very important thing that the Apostle John wrote about
prayer: Ask according to God's will.
1 John 5:14-15
If we ask according to His will, God hears us, and if we know He
hears us, we know it will come to pass.
This is especially important when
you're praying for others. Think about this. What if someone asks you
to pray for a special reason for them, or what if you, in the goodness
of your heart, take it upon yourself to pray for something that
someone didn't ask for, but you believe it would be a blessing for
them. So, you pray for them, but you didn't know, the wish is not
God's will for them. The prayer is not answered in the way hoped for,
and questions arise about believing to receive, and asking in Jesus'
name, and many other doubts. This, my friend, can be harmful to their
faith, and yours. Not only this, but if the prayer does come to pass,
if it wasn't God's will, this can be become a disaster. When you pray
for someone else, ALWAYS be certain, that you're praying for God's
will (God's wish or intention) to be done.
There's a humorous little saying that
someone came up with that goes like this: God answers all prayers. His
answers are, Yes, No, and Not now. All joking aside, praying for God's
will to be done in our lives may be a little hard to understand at
first, because the human creature is naturally a selfish being. We
want what we want. But what about what God wants? He is our Creator,
after all. He owns the remote control of our lives. He created a plan
for us, but sometimes we think we're the ones in control. What does
that mean, anyway . . . According to His will? It means that you're
putting your life in God's hands . . . Giving Him back the controls.
Many things the world offers may
exciting, but we don't see what lies behind it's deceiving promises.
God does. He wants our prayers and plans to be His plans. We often
make our own plans and think we're headed in the right direction, but
if we don't involve God in the planning, we'll probably end up on the
wrong path. Don't get this wrong now, God loves you so much that He
wants to give you the desire of your heart, and He wants your plans to
succeed and your dreams to come true, so when we pray for something
that is not His will, He patiently leads us in the right direction.
He finds ways to fulfill our hopes
while still being in harmony with His will. At first it may seem like
your prayer is not answered, but if we follow the direction that He
points us in, we'll find what we were looking for, without
disappointment. Many times you'll realize that what you were praying
for, was something you really didn't want. Praise God for His infinite
So, how do you avoid going in the
wrong direction in the first place? Commit (trust) your prayers and
plans to Him, and He'll show you the right thing to do.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.
The more you grow in Him by following
His plans, the more you become like Him. You will take on His
character and His thoughts will become your thoughts, because He lives
through you, guiding you and conforming you to His image. The more you
become like Him, the closer you'll be to the center of HIS will and
your selfishness will vanish.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me,
and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me,
when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Don't forget to listen when you pray. Listen with
your heart. Ask Him what He wants to say from His heart, and then
listen. You're having a conversation with the Lord, so give Him a
chance to talk. Give Him time to answer. Don't forget that God is a
God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in
spirit and in truth.
may not be in the form you expect. You never know how He may answer
you . . . Wind, thunder, or perhaps a still small voice as Elijah
1 Kings 19:12
And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the
fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
SING PRAISE TO THE
Did you know that singing is a way of praying?
All of the Psalms in the Bible are songs that king
David wrote to the Lord. There is a saying that goes like this: "He
who sings, prays twice!"
I will praise the LORD
according to His righteousness: and will sing praise to the name
of the LORD most high.
Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto Him with the psaltery and
an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto Him a new song; play
skillfully with a loud noise.
In these next passages, the words highlighted in
show the different ways that some people in the Bible prayed.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the
ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the
seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in His law doth he
meditate day and night.
In the morning I direct my prayer to God and
O come, let us worship and
before the LORD our maker.
Let my prayer be set forth before thee as
and the lifting up of my
hands as the
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into
his house; and his windows being open in his chamber
he kneeled upon his knees
three times a day,
and prayed, and gave
thanks before his God, as
he did aforetime.
1 Kings 8:54
And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all
this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before
the altar of the LORD, from
kneeling on his knees with his
hands spread up to heaven.
1 Timothy 2:8
I will therefore that men pray every where,
lifting up holy hands, without
wrath and doubting.
And He (Jesus) was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and
But Peter put them all forth, and
Below are some of the words of Jesus concerning
You must desire, believe,
forgive all when you pray.
LOVE is also a VERY important part of prayer.
1 Peter 3:7
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge,
giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as
being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be
KEEP A JOURNAL
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN OFFER PRAYER
NOTE: THIS IS A PRIVATE JOURNAL TO GOD
AND SHOULD NOT BE REVEALED TO ANYONE.
You may have heard before that the
Bible is the Lord's love letter to you. How about writing down your
prayers to Him? It's also a great way to see the progress of your
prayer life and your walk of faith.
Think about when we discussed praying
for God's will a few moments ago, and remember that God's perspective
(what God takes into consideration when He answers our prayers) is
eternity. When He answers a prayer, our temporal outlook on our lives,
sometimes cause us to limit our perspective and we can't see the
potential of the blessings that He bestows on us. You may pray for the
opportunity to serve God better, and His answer to your prayer may not
be the same plan as yours. Keep your heart open to the doors He opens
in your life. There may be sacrifices that are necessary in order to
fulfill His will. The means by which His will is accomplished may seem
extreme to us, but don't forget, He's in control, and He knows what's
best. Things that seem tragic to us, are sometimes a blessing from our
Father. For example: Sometimes the only way to make time in some
peoples lives to serve Him is to remove us from things that we hold
most important to us, because we put those things above Him. That may
even mean things that we love. A child may move away, you may lose
your job, a loved one may even die. These things seem extreme at
first, but if you pray for the wisdom to understand God's plan, you'll
find the blessing that He intends.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and
every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may
bring forth more fruit.
Jesus' words mean that God purges, or
prunes our lives, so that we can produce more fruit for Him. Often
times we have false expectations that blessings mean more (family,
friends, possessions, power, money, etc.) in our lives. My friends, in
serving the Lord, less IS more!
FATHER, IT'S ME AGAIN
Remember that little saying about
God's answers to prayer being, Yes, No, and Not now? Let's talk about
when the answer is, Not now. Sometimes we must be patient in waiting
for our prayers to be answered. God's timing isn't always our timing.
We tend to want things to happen NOW, we don't want to wait. But,
again, we don't see the full picture. From eternity, the things we
think are important don't amount to much, but God created us with a
specific purpose in mind, and His timing is perfect! So, when we think
things are moving too slow in our life, we need to wait, because God
is moving everything into its proper place.
Whether you hit your knees when you
first wake up in the morning, or whether you squeeze your eyes shut,
or whether you lace your fingers so tightly that your knuckles turn
white, or open your arms and lift your hands toward heaven, or whether
you look up or bow down, or face the east, or light incense or burn a
candle in the dark, these things are all up to you.
I cannot say it better than a little boy named Timmy
who said this on TV after being rescued from the bottom of a well that
he fell into:
I ever done was when I was upside down in that well."
The important thing
to remember when you pray is your sincere and earnest desire to
communicate with God, your maker, and share your heart with Him.
Well, that was quite a lesson, and
you probably can't wait for the next time you pray, because you've
probably thought of a bunch of different things you want to talk about
with God now that you know a lot more of
what the Bible says about prayer.
To complete this
Step, you must CHOOSE to go to the Partners in Prayer board at
Christianity Oasis and post a prayer there.You can remain
anonymous if you like. Be sure to read some of the other prayers
that are on the board, and say a little prayer for someone ...
Remember, your prayer could cause a miracle to happen!
Continuing in EACH step daily
is so very important.
Go back over each step often to
be sure you have not missed anything.
To continue our program, you can return tomorrow and
I'll meet you there!
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