Lord, Teach Us to Pray – Week 2—Cathy McIntosh

What a blessing!

We had a very small group for our in-person study this week for Lord, Teach Us to Pray. Several ladies were traveling and a couple had to miss for work and family reasons. I fully understand that life happens, and I know that God fills a room with precisely the right audience for the purpose He has in mind. That’s why it’s always a blessing to gather together, whether we’re full to the brim or our group dwindles for a night.

For our online participants, for those who missed our study, and for those who just want to learn more about prayer,

Here’s our Week 2 Recap

The Revelation

I had an interesting revelation this week. Most of you know that I’m learning the Hebrew language. It’s a huge challenge but well worth the effort. The class takes place on Thursday mornings and on Wednesday afternoon, the day before class, I sat to complete my homework. It was so hard! Really hard. As in I couldn’t finish hard. I showed up to class with my work undone thinking, “If I’d have completed the homework on Friday instead of waiting until Wednesday, the lesson would have been fresh on my mind.” Truly, I spent some time kicking myself in the rear for procrastinating.

And then I thought about our prayer study. Often, I delay required reading for any class until just before we meet. It simply seems a more efficient use of time – plus I’ll retain the information for our discussion. Good excuses to procrastinate, right?

The truth is that when I delay my homework I forget what I learned in class and have to work extra hard to get my bearings. I also lose the opportunity to review and practice throughout the week in an effort to become more proficient.

Did you ever play sports or learn a musical instrument? I bet you practiced throughout the week, not just the day before game day or the night before a concert. Right?

Challenge #1

In light of my interesting revelation, I’d like to issue a challenge. Complete your reading assignment today. Or tomorrow at the latest. And then practice what you learn throughout the week.  Remember,  you’re part of this class to strengthen your prayer life. Let’s dominate in the area of discipline. Practicing on purpose will lead us to grow with God. Are you in?

By the way, our next reading assignment is strategies 3 and 4 of Fervent.

Challenge #2

Let’s keep practicing our out loud prayers. Every day. Find a quiet place, or maybe a very loud place, and pray to God using your voice. We’re working to develop a skill, so let’s act on our resolve.

Guess what we did last night. Every one of us. Yep. We prayed out loud. We each took a turn, even those of us who were most terrified and the one of us who had a throbbing headache. I sat like a proud momma listing to it all happen and thought my heart would burst. It was like beautiful music to my ears and I can only imagine how the Lord smiled. Last night, several women faced their fears and, as I’ve said before, no one got hurt!

Something I’ve learned about stepping out of our comfort zones: We can always step right back in. Let’s grow and stretch, then step back to catch our breath. Then, let’s grow and stretch some more.

A Few Words About Complacency

We’re too comfortable, and we like it that way. Would you agree?

It’s often comfortable to sit back and let others move to action. Even with our prayer.

Prayer is often a baton that we try to pass to someone else.  Like many of you, I sometimes find myself inundated with prayer requests from others. It is an honor – truly my privilege – to pray for others. Please don’t think for a second I’m complaining about that. Something that occasionally enters my mind, however, is the question. . . “Are you praying for this too, or simply passing the baton to me?”

In our Tuesday blog post, I shared that I joined a moms prayer group a number of years ago. One of the most convicting things they said was, “If you’re not praying for your children, who is?”

Here’s the bottom line: If something matters to you and you feel it’s worthy of prayer, no one on this earth can express it to the Lord the way you can. He wants to hear it from you. Personally. You are the one who is passionate about the situation. I am happy to join you in that prayer, but not one of the words I use will stir the Lord’s compassion more than you sharing your heartfelt concern.

It’s time to move beyond complacency and charge forward into action.

But I’m writing to the choir here. I believe that’s why you’re here.

Think through this with me.

When we watch the news and see moral decay and the unfathomable tragedies we’ve seen on television over the last month, we feel awful for those in need. Often we believe there’s nothing we can do, so we go back to our coffee shops, our jobs, our shopping habits, our binge-watching, and we try to forget the heartache.

We see our kids struggle with anxiety, bullies, loneliness, poor grades, self-condemnation, and far too much screen time, we think, “that’s just the way the world is today.” We worry and fret, thinking that’s all we can do.

When we’re concerned about a friend who seems empty and struggles to find her purpose in life, we sure hope she’ll find someone who can help her.

Sometimes, when events like these happen we think, “Well, the least I can do, I guess, is pray.” I beg to differ. Prayer is the most powerful, effective help we can give. It has a far-reaching impact on those we love, those we’ve never met, and even those who lead our communities and our country.

This is incredibly hokey, but here it is:

Don’t delay. Start to pray – today!

[I made that up myself … I think 😉 ]

As I wrap up this recap, I’ll issue a third challenge:

Challenge #3

Begin using a prayer acronym into your routine to help you find a more balanced approach.  As a reminder, a few acronyms are:

PRAY – Praise, Repent, Ask, Yes

ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication

POWER – Praise, Offer Thanks, Warfare, Embrace the Lord’s Instruction, Repent

I look forward to hearing from you. Be sure to share your comments/successes/struggles/questions in our Facebook group – or shoot me an email.

As we focus on prayer, know I’m praying for you!

Love,

 

 

 

 

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