Welcome to WEEK TWO of the 40-DAY CHALLENGE. If you are just joining us, click here.
Last week, we practiced Step One: BE ALERT for prayer. I hope you’ve been watching for signs of God at work and listening for His voice, especially His whispers.
This week’s focus is on Step Two: Be SPECIFIC when you ASK.
Back in high school, I took karate. Our training included hand- to-hand free sparring. No protective pads allowed. Yikes! Plus, I was in a class with all guys and easily outmuscled. But the instructor coached me to use my opponent’s size and strength against him. In other words, I was to channel the attacker’s force into a powerful counter-attack. To my surprise, this strategy worked!
When assaulted by fear or worry, it’s easy to feel outmatched. But I learned a little secret from my karate training. If I redirect the powerful forces of fear and worry into a fervent, SPECIFIC prayer, it’s like a one-two punch into the solar plexus of the enemy. One of my heroes in prayer, nineteenth century preacher Charles Spurgeon, put it this way. “Turn your cares into prayers!” One thing’s for sure: The devil hates our prayers.
In much the same way, the Bible encourages believers not to worry, but instead to pray:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).
Resist worry. Instead, pray. Be specific. Thank God. Repeat. Then something amazing happens. God’s peace begins to guard our hearts and minds against further attacks of worry. Powerful stuff!
So why don’t we experience more of this peace? Perhaps we’re not specific enough when we pray. The words in these verses indicate very specific requests. Just imagine. God wants us to take the time to tell Him exactly what we need! (It’s crucial that we pray in alignment with God’s Word, but that’s next week’s blog).
I wonder if we get quiet long enough to think about Who we are praying to and what we are asking. Being specific keeps us from becoming vague and lazy in our prayers. If we’re not specific when we pray, how will we even recognize the answer when it comes?
Think for a minute about the worries that weigh heavy on your heart right now. Now let’s turn those worries into prayers.
1. Make a list of your worries. You’ll learn more about the List and how to use your list with the Chubby Book Method in this week’s reading of Chapter 3 and 4 of Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars. These simple tools will help you to BE SPECIFIC when you pray. Check out this page from my Chubby Book.
2. Your minutes matter. Find creative ways to use your minutes for prayer. I keep my Chubby Book with me when I fold clothes, making a simple chore a time to seek God for those I love. I reflect or memorize my Scripture for the day.
3. Widen the circle of your prayer concerns. Ask God to “break your heart for the things that break His.” Be alert, and keep watch as He brings people or places across your path to add to your list.
Homework: Read Chapters 3 and 4 in Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars: Learning to Hear the Voice of God. Answer the Personal Reflection Questions on page 190.
Lord, may we draw inspiration from Your Holy Spirit and Your Word. What an awesome privilege You’ve placed in our hands…the ability to change the world through prayer. Ignite a passion in us to take time to give prayer our best effort. May we seek You fervently and first in our day. Keep us alert and grateful as we grow more sensitive to Your voice and more watchful of Your work all around us.
Morning by morning I order my requests before you, and eagerly watch for the answers. (Psalm 5:3).