The past week I have been enjoying some down time with my family. No sermons to write, no lessons to prepare and no Church related work was my goal. With that said, a break like this gives me time to reflect on my life and my personal journey with God. The longer I have thought about the past year of my life I have focused my attention on one big lesson God taught me. That is simply the power of prayer.
In the past 12 months I have prayed for situations ranging from my father’s recovery to the growth of our Church. With each issue that comes up God handles the matter better than I ever dreamed. One of the most dramatic answers to prayer was when our elders prayed for a leader and his relationship with his daughter. God used a series of unpredictable events to bridge the gap in their lives and make their relationship healthy again. I could literally spend pages writing about prayer and all that God has done as its result this year.
To top it off one of the final movies my family watched in 2015 is called “The War Room” and it is all about prayer, especially praying for your spouse. It was like God took out a highlighter and drew across the word prayer and said, “Don’t forget this.”
While 2015 drew my attention to prayer and its power it also set me up to grow in my prayer life in 2016. So this year I am going to attempt to get better at prayer. Here are some of the things I am trying to do this year.
1. Pray Daily. I want it to be one of the first things I do every day.
2. Pray more often. One of my leaders says, “I don’t pray a long time, but I pray often.” That is not bad advice.
3. Expand my time of prayer. When I do pray, I do not want to be on a tight schedule.
4. Expand my circle of prayer. I also tend to pray for my family and my ministry and my needs. I need to expand my prayers to include other people in my life. The prayer of Jesus that we call “The Lord’s prayer” in Matthew 6 has plural pronouns. Prayer is not selfish.
5. Keep better track of prayers. I have downloaded an app. If that doesn’t work I am thinking of a notebook and pen. Just simple tools to keep me focused on topics of prayer. That way I can be remind of all the needs that require prayer and possibly how God is answering them.
I know those are simple ideas that are not very original, but they are my goal for 2016. If 2015 taught me the power of prayer, I hope 2016 will be the year of increased prayer.