Well ladies I went to church tonight and had an awesome time of worship in the name of the Lord.  Then when the time came for the message I was shocked when the title of the message was Prayer Can Change Your Life---The Power of Prayer Part 1.  God has really been working on me with my prayer life lately, like opening the door for me to lead you all in Prayer on Thursday night, God has also been leading me into being more submissive both with God and as a wife.  Anyways this message really touched me and so I felt I needed to share it all with you.  God Bless you as we strengthen our prayer lives and we work on communication which is prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Part 1--How to pray effectively

1. Understand the purpose of prayer (Why do we pray?)
Can you imagine having a deep relationship with someone you barely talk to?  Well I cant because the only way to deepen that relationship is to talk with that person, get to know that person.  When we dont talk to God we fall away from Him.  When we do not talk to God we cannot live out what God has for us.  ....the Lord our God is near whenever we pray to Him (Deut 4:7) When you cut off communication from God you wither.   "If a man remains in me and I remain in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can doing nothing.  If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in Me (if you be dependent upon Me, express your trust in Me) and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given unto you..."(John 15:5-7)
Jesus is the vine we are the branches if you put your trust in Him and depend on Him for everything.  He will give you what you need. 

2. Make prayer a priority
Jesus taught the disciples what they needed to know and then the disciples went out and taught others.  "Therefore those who accepted and welcomed His message were baptized and there were added that day about 3000 souls.  And they steadfastly persevered devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread (including the Lord's supper) and prayers." (Acts 2:41-42).  God gives us opportunities through prayer.  "Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1st Thes 5:16-18).

3. Establish a Place for prayer.
Where do you pray?  The Lord tells us in Matthew 6:6 "Heres what I want you to do:Find a quiet secluded place so you wont be tempted to role-play before God.  Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.  The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace."  Find a special place to pray.  For me its in my van on the way to and from work and the other place --I know you are all going to laugh and that is in the shower.  There is something about taking a shower and just letting God have everything I come out refreshed and ready to begin my day. In the movie "Amazing Grace" William needed to talk to the Lord and so he went to his meadow to pray and while there was approached with his butler telling him a beggar was at the kitchen door.  He told the butler to feed the beggar breakfast and as he went back to his personal time with the Lord the butler recognized what William was doing and felt he needed to join him.  luke 5:16--"...Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer."

4. Plan to Pray.
"....When you pray, do not keep babbling on like pagans for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him." (Matthew 6:7-8).  We need to take the time to think through our prayers.  Sure "microwave prayers" are okay but God wants our best when we come to Him in prayer.  One thing we can do to keep our prayers thought through is to write our prayers in a prayer journal.  When we write our prayers in a prayer journal our faith will increase and whenever we get down and think that God isnt working in our lives we can go back and look at prayers and see first hand all the work God is doing.  "Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (Phillipians 4:6-7).  When we understand the purpose of prayer we can make our prayers to Him more effective.  Which goes along the lines of tell Him what you need, thank Him for what He's done. 

P--Praise (the 1st thing to do when you begin to pray is to Praise Him!

R--Repent--Learn the art of confession (God knows how you have sinned but it helps keep the walls down when we confess it to Him.)

A--Ask God!  20 times in the NT is mentioned Ask God.  He wants us to come to Him and Ask Him for what we need!

Y--Yield!!  We need to yield ourselves daily to the Lord--Give the issue to God and leave it there with Him!

You can use this acronym in your prayer journal.  I write all my days of prayer just like this!  When I get to the Repent I confess my sins to the Lord and then I cross out what I have written because I have been forgiven, which is such an awesome feeling!

Next week we will discuss: The Five Conditions to Answered Prayer in our continuing series -- The Power of Prayer

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