Monday, June 4, 2012

Week of Prayer // Day One: A Right Heart

You might have thought it strange that I listed “Self” as the first prayer topic for the week, but I believe that our time in prayer is most effective when we approach God with a pure heart. We need to regularly confess sin, weed out hindrances, break down strongholds. So before I dive in to a week of focused prayer, I want to make sure the mess is out of the way. I want to hear clearly from God and fully enjoy His presence this week.

…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Types of Prayer
Prayers of penitence are those that confess sin and reveal a repentant heart. Repentance is more than just acknowledging a wrong committed and feeling sad for it. Repentance is a complete turning away from sin to righteousness. A penitent prayer is confessing the sin with remorse and expressing desire to change, while asking for forgiveness from God. He will forgive – and it is important to receive it! A great example of penitence in the Bible is Psalm 51, David’s prayer of repentance after committing adultery with Bathsheba.

Praying in the Spirit
This type of prayer is often known as “praying in tongues”. The Bible discusses two forums for praying in tongues: 1) as one’s own private prayer language and 2) in community with other believers, for which there is an interpretation of the tongue spoken.

I believe it is highly beneficial to include praying in the Spirit as part of one’s regular private prayer life. In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul speaks of the benefits of praying in tongues. It edifies the individual, praying over mysteries understood only by God. There are times when I feel I run out of words when I  pray, so then I will pray in the Spirit, allowing Him to communicate what needs to be said. Often I will then receive revelation knowledge or someone will come to mind that I should pray for. Sometimes I do not understand what is said but I simply trust God to do His work through my prayers.

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:14-15

Prayer Focus
When I pray, I love to use Scripture. God’s Word is the most powerful word! Here are some verses I like to use as a prayer guide:

Lord, show me where I have strayed from Your Will…
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Psalm 51:10-11 (this whole Psalm is one of repentance)

Thank You, God, for forgiving me and cleansing me…
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

Fill me with Your Spirit so that I may bear Your fruit…
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:22-24

Use me to do your will, to be a blessing to my family and to serve as an example of godliness…

Finally, prayer time should always include listening to God. He has something to say to us too. Press in and receive…