Thursday, January 14, 2010

Effective prayer: It's a two-way street...

Yesterday, we saw some scripture passages that were about 5 different people and times, that God "spoke". These are just a few instances in Scripture that show that our God is a God who speaks to His children. Yes, these people were called to mighty works for the Kingdom, and they heard His voice.

We are not that different. Each one of us is able to hear God speak. It may not be from a burning bush, or from the heavens that sounds like thunder to those around us, but I guarantee that each one of us has that built in capability to hear and know the voice of God. If you are not experiencing God's inner voice in your heart, right now just say this little prayer.

"Dear Father, I love you and I want to communicate with You. Please show me how that is possible. Bring me to the place in my day for the opportunity to hear and know You. Thank you, God. I want to be listening."

I want to add this right now. If you are not a Christian, if you do not know Jesus as your "personal" Savior, please know that all you have to do is ask. This is a prayer that God is always waiting to hear. All you have to do is say,

"Dear Father, I do not know you. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son, who died on the cross for me. I am asking You into my heart. I know that I am a sinner, separated from you. Please come into my heart and make me a new person. I'm asking in Jesus Name, Amen."

We are studying prayer, so let’s look up the word "prayer" in the dictionary and see what definitions it gives.

Oxford Dictionary “Prayer”
"To make supplication, beseech, entreat, ask, to call upon, implore, appeal, to plead with, beg. "

Let's look at what we see here in these definitions. What is happening? Is this one-way? Or is this an interaction?

Now let’s look at another word definition to see if we can see the difference. Let’s read the definition and see if we see if we can guess what the “word” is:

Oxford Dictionary "________"

"To share thoughts feelings and understanding; to fellowship; to be open, ready; to inform, to transmit, to pass on, to convey information; to speak confidentially and intimately; to feel close, to be in touch with; to be of one mind and to be on the same wavelength."

Personally I like the idea of the second concept much better. So not only would I be asking, calling upon, entreating, etc., but I would then be "fellowshipping, speaking intimately to, and being on the same wavelength" .Do we see that this word is  "communicate, communication"?

I think we can see the difference between what we might think “prayer” is and what “communion, or "communication” with the Father might be?

The word “Prayer” in our modern day concept has more of a “one-way” idea to it; a monologue. Where this word, “communication”, has the concept of a “two-way” interaction, or connection, give and take; a dialogue. I'm not saying that we should not ask God in “prayer”, I’m saying let’s concentrate on how to “communicate” with God in prayer. Let it be a time of communication and not just a time of asking, begging or pleading.

God’s great desire is for relationship with His children, and that means "communication". How would your spouse like it if all you ever said to him or her was in the form of  "asking, begging, or pleading"? Wouldn't you want to speak back to them, to share, and to "communicate"?

Me in Real Life:
Now, I'm going to tell you a little about the beginning of my prayer "journey". I was never a big "pray-er". I'd put it off until I went to bed. I was tired and many thoughts of the day were crowding my mind. I would have good intentions, but either I would fall asleep a few lines into it, or I would start thinking horrible thoughts about things that had happened in my life. Why was I having such terrible disconnected thoughts each time I had such good intentions of praying?

Because of this, I decided that I needed to start "journaling" my prayers. I started a notebook, nothing fancy, just a three ringed school notebook, that each evening I would write out my prayers at the kitchen table, not in bed. Then I realized that some scripture was coming to mind also, so I brought my Bible in and would start looking for scripture. If thoughts of condemnation, or injury, or upset started popping in my head, I would just say "no" out loud. I have to tell you at this point I had a hint it might be the devil injecting this junk to keep me from prayer, but all I knew to do was say, "NO". The enemy got the point!

What I'm going to say next was for me. I'm not telling you what to do. Just sharing my experience.
I have always been an avid reader. I devoured books, all kinds, from classics to...well everything. Not pulp junk or smut, but just an avid reader, especially good horror, mystery, occult whatever. I know, I know. This was about 13 years ago, mind you. Just sharing all my junk. Anyway, my head was always cluttered with thoughts and ideas, non of them from God. God started showing me that my free time was being filled with literary "garbage" and that if I would spend that time reading books about Him and the Bible, my life would start to have new direction. So I made a commitment. No more secular books. I became a constant customer at our two main religious bookstores, and I've never looked back. Now, let me stress, I'm not saying do that, not even advocating it. But in my heart I knew that was something God was asking of me, and it has "paid off".

Let's look at that scripture from James again.

Version: NAS

James 5:16
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

So then, what does the word "righteous" mean. It's from the Greek word, "dikaios". Which means "upright, in right standing". Now, just a thought here: what if I had ignored God's word to me about my reading habits? Or said "Nope, doing what I want here!" Just a thought...

"In right standing" means, in the salvation covenant, or being "saved"; being a believer in Jesus Christ, but it also means "being in right standing with God", on a daily basis. So if I had ignored God's clear word to me would we have been on the same wavelength? I don't think so. If you have something God has been nudging you to do, then get before Him and "discuss" it. Don't ignore Him. Strive to be "in right standing" before God.

continuing tomorrow...

Sending prayer for all those in Haiti.

Love you all,


  1. When ever I try to do a K-Mart prayer, I always feel empty and yet, when I really open my heart and communicate, there is just an overwhelming peace that follows. This is my yardstick for knowing if I am doing His bidding or just "doing" what I think is expected.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience. Your questions help me to think and examine myself this morning. Needed all you said today.

  3. Debra,
    I love the idea of writing our prayers down!

  4. Lately I have started to keep a journal about the things the Lord is impressing upon me and the things I have been praying about. Its interesting that I find a lot of repetitiveness in some areas. I like looking back over my notes to see how God is working in me and how He answers my prayers. But now I know I have to make a change - I have to write down the things I think He is saying to me. I know it will be consistent with His Word but I want to hear Him. I love James 5:16. Its a good reminder that He is anxious to communicate with us. (Probably how a Blogger feels when readers leave comments!)


  5. Hello Debra
    I am a little behind as I didn't get to read yesterdays post until today with this one. This morning the Lord spoke to me about just listening and being quiet in spirit. I was praying at the time about certain things that were happening that day. Yesterday was very hectic for me and He just beckoned me to be quiet before Him. Isn't it funny how that lined up with your post yesterday that I didn't read until today. I think sometimes we just need to be still without the radio, the tv the computer and all this stimulous we are used to and just be still. Not only to hear the voice of the Lord but to hear what is going on in us...what am I thinking - sometimes I am so busy and have so much going on I don't know what I think. I don't know who or where I am with things until I think them through and usually it is then when the Lord interjects something. I have short spouts of prayer time but I pray and talk to the Lord all day long... I pretty much am in comunication with Him all day long. Now I have heard many times people say they do not want to bother the Lord with that but I really don't want to butter my toast without the Lord.
    Blessings to you my friend
    and thank you for your prayers, my husband is home and resting for a week

  6. I love the journaling idea! I have been throwing that idea around a lot lately. It might be just what I need right now.


  7. Hi Everyone, I was gone most of the day so I'm just now sitting down to comment.
    Debbie, I love that thought about "peace" being our yardstick. What a perfect way to measure and guage our decisions. Do they bring us peace? K-Mart prayer, is that like a blue light special? Totally funny; hadn't heard that before!

    Hi Bonnie, thank you for taking the time to comment. I sure appreciate that, and good to hear that it is what you needed! Glad you're here.

    Lisa and Rebecca S. Writing my prayers and then journaling was such an important step in my hearing from God. His thoughts toward me just flowed out. I know a lot of people don't want to take the time, but it was a lifesaver for me.

    Rebecca, I so agree with you. I love the quiet and it gives me the atmosphere to hear and pray. Somedays I go all day without TV or any outside stimulus. I love Christian music, but even that is not where I am at this time. Please let me know how your husband is doing. Hope things went well with the tests.

    Adrienne, I know you are in a season of maturing, I can feel it. Your photos are speaking for you. Sometimes journaling will take you places you didn't know were in you.

    love you all, thank you for taking the time out of your busy days to be here.

  8. A day late posting on this. It has been a busy week and I am playing catch up. Just a quick comment about how Debra just says "no" when an attack is made during prayer. I have had the same thing happen to me also and was instructed to do this same thing years ago. My instruction was to say out loud "I rebuke you in Jesus name". I don't like that interruption during my talks with God and it has happened less and less over the years since I have practiced it. This is a great teaching you are doing this week Debra I am glad I decided to "play catch up" and not just pick up on the current day.


I love to hear from you. Please leave a comment, big or small.