For many years I have written my prayers. I have notebooks and journals filled with them. Why? My mind likes to wander and I lose my primary focus – God. So, I write to keep my thoughts centered on the One I am speaking to.
Several years ago my pastor’s wife and still dear friend (They have since moved on.) suggested I use the acronym A.C.T.S. Acclimation. Contrition. Thanks. Supplication. I still use it but have always sensed something was missing.
As I was reading the book for my next review (L.E.A.R.N. Evangelism Handbook by Dr. Marshall M. Windsor) I found the missing piece. I need to add LISTEN. (Of course, now I’ll have to change the letters of the acronym.) In all the years I’ve been talking with and listening for God’s voice I’ve never included a set aside time for listening in my prayers. Time in every prayer where I say, Holy Spirit speak into my heart. Don’t get me wrong, I do listen and expect answers, I just haven’t been specifically listening during prayer. So, When He speaks, and I know He will, I’ll intentionally listen, and write what He says in my prayer journal.
Will I act on His words? Will I share? In trusting Him and keeping the faith, I have learned if I don’t respond or follow through I lose the blessing He had planned for me. Things like:
I did come up with a new acronym… G.R.O.W.L. Gratitude (Thanks). Requests. Offense (Forgiveness), Worship, Listen. The word kind of fits as our prayers go up with ‘utterings and groanings’ before the Lord that might sound like growls if we heard them.
Here’s the bottom line. No matter what or how just keep on praying.
Do you want the best possible relationship you can have with your spouse? Try praying for and with them. So, how do you do that?
Set aside part of your daily prayer time to intercede. To know and name his/her struggles you’re going to have to communicate those to one another. Talk about what your goals are as individuals and as a couple. Find out what challenges they’re experiencing.
In your prayer thank God for them. Thank God for the person they are, for their provision, for their love.
Ask God to show Himself in and through them. Support them in their daily walk.
Be willing to change so that they can grow. If you’re part of a problem they’re having give it to God. Humble yourself!
So, what happens when you pray for your spouse? It connects both of you with and to God.
In Matthew 6 Jesus gives us a model for our prayers and a few pointers on the how to do it. In verses 5-8 He wants His followers to pray in a way that draws them close to God the Father without making a show of it like the hypocrites. Then He gives the ideal place for it to happen, a place that is secluded. By shutting the door He shows that there should be no outside influence. He also said don’t be constantly repeating your words and going on and on. You see God already knows what we’re praying for so keep it short and focused.
The perfect model is then given in verses 9-13:
Each of the 6 points of this prayer lead us to total focus on the One who hears and answers.
Focus on God and praise Him–Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Focus on God’s plan and purpose–Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
Focus on what you need–Give us this day our daily bread
Focus on forgiveness for yourself and for others–Forgive us our debts (trespasses/sins) and we forgive our debtors (those who trespass/sin against us).
Focus on God’s guidance in daily challenges
Focus on giving God total control–For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory
Verses 14-15 are extremely important! We must forgive others if we expect to be forgiven by God. It’s pretty clear isn’t it?