“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1).
Fitness experts will tell you that one of the critical elements needed to be completely in shape is flexibility. Good flexibility can only be obtained by stretching our muscles. It doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time. Just as we have physical muscles which need to be stretched for the sake of physical well-being, we have spiritual muscles which must be stretched for the sake of spiritual well-being.
If we maintain the “status quo” in our prayer lives – never venturing out from beneath what is comfortable and familiar, we are missing a huge blessing, and God cannot use us to the fullest extent of our abilities. For example – if you have been praying for years, insisting that praying out loud is too big of a step for you…..you have not been stretched. If you maintain that you don’t need to pray with others in a corporate setting, and that you are more comfortable praying at home….you have not been stretched. If you have never considered asking God to help you to be the answer to your own prayers as you intercede on behalf of others . . . you have not been stretched. Ask the Holy Spirit to stretch your prayer muscles beyond their comfort zone this week.
–Adapted from the article Stretching Your Prayer Muscles by Dave and Kim Butts.
Holy Spirit, I desire for my prayer life to be strong and powerful instead of continually coming to You with the same pattern of requests day after day. Sometimes I don’t even think carefully about what I am asking, and my prayers become a duty rather than a deep desire to seek Your face. Help me to be still before You, and to be willing to risk being uncomfortable as You stretch me to become the intercessor You have called me to be. Lord, teach me to pray!
Praise God as the one who holds out his arms to the world in welcoming love and invitation. Thank God for having intervened in your life to bring you to a growing knowledge of his love for you. Confess your sins of this past week, trusting in the power of Jesus’ blood to reconcile you with God. Commit yourself to becoming more aware of God’s outreaching love toward your neighbors and friends. Ask him to make you a minister of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-21).
Pray for reconciliation among foreign missionaries and local ministries where leaders are at odds with each other. Ask God to unify them with a single-minded vision for his kingdom.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
Pray Like the King (Lessons from the Prayers of Israel’s Kings) by David and Kim Butts is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
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