Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Strengthening your prayer life for 2018

Published:Saturday | January 13, 2018 | 12:17 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Manchester, Jamaica:

It is most important, but often taken for granted. Prayer is seen by some as only a means of making requests for tangible things when times get tough. It is not always seen as the main channel of communication to God that has no expiration date, the medium for showing gratitude or for seeking guidance.

Seventh Day Adventist youth leader, Christine Thomas, during a recent presentation to a local church, said we have to be deliberate about how and when we pray, and acknowledge that even if our requests are not met, is does not translate to prayer being powerless.

"Have faith. We really can't pray without faith. We have faith that there is a God to whom we pray, and that He might actually listen to us. But for really effective prayer that goes beyond listening of our request to God, we need to also follow up our prayer more with faith. Once we pray about it, we need to let the word go and trust that whatever we prayed about, is safely in God's hands," she said.

One cannot deny having fallen asleep while praying, thinking about food if hungry, or the plans for tomorrow. To this, Thomas stated that focus is crucial in enhancing one's prayer life.

"With all manner of entertainment and social connections at the tip of our fingers, we are constantly tempted to lose focus. Obligations and unfinished conversations will be right there after praying. Leave electronics in another room and use the actual Bible instead of the Bible App."

She added that scheduling prayer works best when requests are many.

"We need to pray without ceasing; we don't need to limit prayers to particular times of the day, but we can pray randomly throughout the day. We also need to start with worship. Real prayer focuses on God and what He wants."

According to Seventh Day Adventist elder, Howard Forbes, God doesn't care about the long prayers with big words used to impress those within earshot; He only cares about the sincerity.

 

A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

 

"You talk to God based on the relationship you want with Him. Prayer is emptying yourself and going to God. You cannot fool God; the spirit knows what you want to say better than you know what you want to say."

During prayer, many say that they don't quite know if God responds to them in clarity. How can one know? Is it a literal voice or is it a still small voice?

"'My sheep know my voice'; you will know if it is God by what is said. The still small voice is your conscience speaking clearly to you," responded Seventh Day Adventist stewardship director, Anita Archer.

But what of those prayers that seem to go unheard. Does God turn a blind eye to our situation? Or is that the prayer is not from a sincere place.

"Our prayer life can only be effective based on our obedience to God and how improved it will be in all aspects. 'The effectual prayer of a righteous man, availeth much', but in my opinion righteous doesn't mean sinless. Look on men like Elijah and look what happened after his great showdown. If you are in tuned with God, then anything is possible," said Church member Andrew Moore.

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