One of the most vital and often overlooked elements of discipleship is prayer. Of course, as Christians, we know that prayer is important; its significance is repeated over and over in the Bible, by our pastors and our entire Christian community. But it can be so easy to fall into the pattern of passive prayer: that is, prayer that we do out of obligation or habit, without thinking or connecting.
For many of us, prayer happens at particular times of the day–before bed or dinner, or maybe first thing in the morning. Maybe you even carve out time intentionally every now and then. But even in your “intentional” time, it can begin to feel like a chore…just some words to recite before moving on with your day. We need to remember that prayer is our deepest and most personal way to connect to Jesus. It’s our lifeline to God and can be one of our strongest tools for making disciples, praying for them to come into our lives and trusting that God will send them our way.
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Incredible things can happen when we turn passive prayer into active prayer–that is, prayer done with intention, with engagement and love for our Lord and for the people in our lives. I had a friend who had been intentionally building relationships with non-Christians, but there hadn’t been any fruit in quite a while. After a brief conversation with him he stopped and prayed for those he was in relationship with. That day one of the individuals called him out of the blue and wanted to meet to talk about this “Jesus thing”. It is easy to just slide these and other examples into the coincidence bucket, but the Bible shows us the power of prayer and its ability to change lives.
This next week, here are a few things you can pray for to jumpstart your intentional time with the Lord:
- Pray for yourself…that you can be who God needs you to be. That you will be blessed with a heart and mind for the lost that translates to compassion and action.
- Prayer for those God is leading your way. We can pray they are open to the touch of the Holy Spirit and responsive to our actions and words.
- Pray for two random people you encounter each day. Pray for God to fill them with wisdom and understanding: for the things of God. Pray that God uses you to love them, in whatever capacity he desires (from a prayer and a smile to becoming a friend). They may be a Christian, they may not, but they are all God’s children.
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