Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 018 Prayer
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #018 – Prayer
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you today to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
Sharing about my family and the faith God has crafted in us through the years is such a joy for me. Recognizing methods that He uses to stretch and challenge me daily feels like a gift extended in lessons for me to grasp and share.
As I have matured, both in age, and in wisdom, I have recognized the simple truth that prayer is not an option. It is a dire necessity for any soul desiring to be filled with the fruits of the spirit and to live a life pleasing to God, expectant of the rich blessing of intimate and personal fellowship with our Creator. In order to cultivate the qualities that Jesus carried, we must cling to Him through a relationship that craves and adores Him and desires to live in ways that are productive for Him.
Without faith, I would not be the person I am or have a peaceful, calm nature that carries me through situations with a positive and hopeful temperament. Prayer is a crucial element for growing my faith in, and dependence on, the Lord.
Prayer has grown to be such an automatic response within my brain and body that like breathing, I often do not even realize I am speaking to God. When disaster strikes or emergencies arise, my first response is to fall in humble position before my Father and ask Him to carry the load. Even when the situation is too critical for prayer because time is urgent, my mind and mouth utter the sweet words that bring me comfort and peace each time I say His name aloud. Jesus.
Just like every aspect of our faith life, prayer must be something we desire. Once we have acknowledged the fact that we require this lifeline and discipline in our walk with the Lord, we will establish methods to ensure that we connect through this worship and petition that is so much more than we often suspect when we begin our faith journey with God.
Prayer exposes our core belief system.
Kneeling before our Lord in supplication, whether literally or through our heart and mindset, is a natural extension of our personal relationship with and belief in Him. Our reliance on God through the act of prayer exhibits our dependence on our Heavenly Father, humbling our position with Him, and proving the level of our reliance on Him.
How do we establish a lifestyle of prayer? The important word to ponder shouldn’t be how, but rather, Who.
Jesus is our life and prayer model. When God sent His son to earth, it wasn’t only to offer His life as a sacrifice for our sins. God stepped into this world to exist and walk among us. He came to show us exactly how to live and how to pray.
I think the time period Jesus lived in was significant, as well. Obviously, the particular time frame was crucial in order for events to occur as God ordained, but beyond that, if we examine the way of life during that period compared to our current lifestyle, we admit that we have a comparative life of ease and comfort. Yet, despite daily requirements for survival, chores, and occupation, then later the pressures and demands of His ministry, Jesus consistently made sure He spent time with His Heavenly Father.
Our affluent lifestyles have occupied every second of our day and keep us permanently distracted with work, activities, and electronics. No matter the purpose for our commitment to a particular task, our souls were created with a deep need to be nurtured and refreshed by God and our minds need the interaction, guidance, and wisdom that only He can supply. We were not created for constant preoccupation with earthly diversions.
Colossians 4:2 says, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Jesus, through His perfect example of Son seeking Father, committed to sacrificing for God. He willingly planned and enjoyed spending time with His Father. To stand in the presence of God was His desire, His lifeline.
1. Jesus prayed without ceasing. His breath and thoughts coexisted in behavior and habits of praise developed through reliance on and relationship with God through prayer. He existed in a constant state of heart and prayer connection.
2. Jesus prepared for prayer. His mind and attitude were qualified to hear God. His heart was primed. As we bow before God with petition, our personal sins must be released. We should seek repentance and restoration with our Heavenly Father before imploring Him with requests. In other words, our communication should consistently be prioritized, and our walk refreshed moment by moment. Relationship with God is a mutual and emotional connection requiring our commitment and diligence in order for it to flourish.
James 5:16 reminds us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Instead of bowing before our Lord without much forethought, or asking others who appear “godlier” in their Christian walk to carry our prayer burdens, Jesus modeled the way for us to open ourselves to a regular and intentional personal time with God. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking others to petition the Lord for us or for us to pray for others, but in order for us to grow and deepen our own connection with God, we need intimate, intentional, consistent, solitary moments to share undisturbed and undistracted time with Christ alone.
Obviously, the easiest way to create this time is to simply begin with the determination to persist until regular time is established. Genuine and connected relationship is the goal, not a fancy, complicated system. Meeting with God can be as simple as getting up early or staying up late or carving out time through the day. If a special area needs to be designed in order to move ahead, a spare room, or an area in an existing space, such as a favorite desk or chair, or a piece of floor in the closet may also work.
It is also important to analyze why we want to pray. Do we view the time as a way to mark a box off of our spiritual checklist? Or do we crave a personal relationship with Christ that deepens daily? Knowing and understanding why we want to pray will enable us to reach our goal.
Personal needs, needs of loved ones, friend requests, requests from church members, world issues, prayer for leaders and pastors, family needs, and prayers to draw nearer to God are probably the most common requests we lift to God. As we continue to develop our relationship and live with a deeper eternal perspective, we recognize many more topics to carry to God in our quiet time. We need Him so much in every way as we journey through this life and prepare for the next.
Jesus taught us that we should examine our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the reasons we pray, and the way we pray.
What are the most effective methods to pray?
1. Prayer does not have to be fancy. Be faithful, be authentic; speak from your heart. Be focused on our Heavenly Father, not wondering how much longer you should pray, whether the kids are going to come busting through the door, or whether it’s time to eat yet. 1 Kings 8:28 says, “Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today.”
2. Pray with confidence formed through a secure and growing relationship with Jesus. Psalm 55:1-2a says, “Give ear to my prayer, O God, and do not hide Yourself from my supplication. Attend to me, and hear me.” His word promises His love for us. We can approach His throne with assurance that He hears and sees us.
3. Always pray in alignment with scripture and the character of God. Psalm 139:23 says, “Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts.” A deep prayer relationship with the Lord will align our heart and desires to His, not require God to fulfill our wishes and motives.
4. Trust that prayer works. When you don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede. Romans 8:26 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” When we are followers of Jesus, we are guaranteed that the Holy Spirit is alive and active within us. During the times we carry intense pressure, heavy concerns, or are in deep emotional, mental, physical, financial, or spiritual pain, the Holy Spirit Himself does not need us to verbalize our emotions or desires. The Spirit intercedes because He searches our hearts, knows the mind of our Father, and makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:27).
5. Rest in knowing that God hears and is at work. Psalm 102:17 says, “He shall regard the prayer of the destitute, and shall not despise their prayer.” Psalm 55:16-17 promise, “As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me.
Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”
6. Remain in prayerful attitude, even when not physically praying. Release your cares and prayers and believe what you cannot see. Mark 9:29 says, “So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Determine in your heart and through meditation with the Lord whether you need to fast. Fasting is something God would direct us to do or is a sacrifice we willingly and privately make for Him. It is not only abstaining from food, but may be anything that pulls us from Him. Something that your heart desires more than God such as television, shopping, video games, phones, social media, etc. can be lifted in sacrifice to God for a season or permanently.
Many years ago God clearly requested that I fast from reading mainstream fiction. After I did so, He made it clear that He had a new direction for my life and also called me to stop writing fiction. A little backstory is important to insert here. During most of my life at that point, I had carried a deep desire to be a published author. I had written several mainstream novels that I intended to polish and present to agents and editors for publication. Although it was painful to let the dream go, I recognized that writing was like breathing air for me, but I needed my relationship with God to be my source of oxygen. After stepping away from writing, I stopped reading small passages of my Bible and began reading it in entirety several times. My walk with God deepened and our relationship blossomed in ways it never could have if I had continued living the way I had been. A few years later God took my husband and I on an adoption journey that He had laid the foundation for during that time of deep yearning and reconstruction of my faith. I had never prayed about whether God wanted me to be a mainstream writer. I had only prayed that He would help me become an author. He clearly had other desires for my life. I only found true joy and peace when I submitted to, prayed for His desires, and followed what He created me to do.
7. Live with gratitude, whether or not your prayer is answered the way you want God to answer, and even when His timing is not want we desire. Our attitude easily dictates the future of our faith journey. 2 Corinthians 4:15 says, “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” I waited approximately 43 years for God to answer my prayer that my dad stop drinking. The answer was not in the way I hoped for or expected, but God’s answer was an intimate method that was personal between my father and myself.
8. Listen and evaluate what you believe God reveals to you through prayer. Make sure it is from Him. Does it align with His nature and word? Psalm 18:30 says, “As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
9. Lift God’s word to Him in prayer. There is absolute power behind the word of God. Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Using prayer in praise and petition is mighty. A beautiful way to begin prayer time is to pray scripture that praises God and Who He is. Praying scripture also connects our heart to God and prepares us to worship and petition more as He would desire. God’s holy word is highly effective and absolutely never returns void.
10. Model prayer life after Jesus. Growing and sustaining a prosperous walk with God was a top priority for Jesus. He knew His reason for living and was devoted to knowing, trusting, and making God known. Various scriptures attest to the life Jesus led through prayer. Proverbs 15:8 says, “The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases Him.”
Jesus was very deliberate about the way He approached His Heavenly Father and the way He prayed. As we review sections of scripture, we recognize distinct approaches Jesus used to pray because of His reverence and love for God.
Matthew 6:5-15 and Luke 11:1-4 are both nearly the same, but the verses from Matthew indicate that the prayer was shared during the Sermon on the Mount while those from Luke illustrate instructions Jesus gave to His disciples regarding prayer. How I would have loved to stand with Jesus and have Him personally teach me how to pray! Thankfully, we have instructions through His word and the Holy Spirit inside us to advise, train, and discipline us.
I will read both passages of scripture and highlight points of each that enrich our prayer life and journey with God.
Let’s start with Luke 11:1-4. “And it came to pass, that, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”
If we reflect on these words of Jesus as He instructed His disciples on the heart of prayer, we are able to clearly see 7 important points He mentored for us to follow. The prayer, known as The Lord’s Prayer is not meant to be mindlessly repeated verbatim, but as an outline to encourage us to focus on certain qualities and aspects of God as we come before our Lord in prayer instead of focusing on ourselves or whatever whim we may desire to approach Him for.
1. Approach God as our Father - because He is. He may not be flesh and blood standing next to us where we can see Him, but He is beside, within, and before us.
2. Adore Him. He is our Creator, our Provider, our Comforter, and our Healer. He is holy. He is worthy to be praised! Hallowed be His name.
3. Allow His authority and His will to reign in our hearts, minds, and attitudes.
4. Accept God’s ability to provide. Believe that He will.
5. Admit that He is sovereign, and we are sinners.
6. Abundant strength against temptation will protect us if we become and remain grounded in and reliant on Him. God is sufficient for our every need.
7. Armor is His specialty. God is our Shield, our Protector.
Now let’s review Matthew 6:5-15. Jesus says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling 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.”
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
1. When the Pharisees prayed, it was at arranged times and in front of public places so that they could be recognized and praised for their so-called devotion to God. Jesus is not criticizing public prayer, rather, He is exposing and denouncing false and self-absorbed prayer. The core of prayer is personal. While we may pray for others, our purpose and desires through prayer are between us and our Father. Even when we pray aloud in a public setting, our heart and mind should be focused on, meditating on, and speaking to Him.
2. The Lord’s Prayer is a beautiful example of the qualities Jesus desires us to possess as we pray. However, while it is acceptable to pray as written in the Bible, we must not allow routine or memorized prayers to flow mindlessly from our heart and lips. The Lord desires and deserves our mind and heart to be alive and active when we humbly bow before Him. This prayer template modeled by Jesus sets the tone and instructs us how to pray the priorities of our Father.
3. As we pray to our Father in Heaven as Jesus designed, we acknowledge God’s deep and profoundly intimate love for us, His children and recognize His promise that we are heirs in His family.
4. The beautiful words, “Your kingdom come” reveal both God’s spiritual reign and His approaching sovereignty over all of creation. When believers become Christians, we receive the Spirit of God within us, but will also experience the fulfillment of God’s kingdom when Jesus returns in His full eminence and institutes His glorious new world order.
5. As we pray for our “daily bread,” we submissively recognize and accept our dependence on God to supply our every need. He does not always grant us exactly what we desire, but it is always greater than we could anticipate and exactly meets our needs.
6. As Jesus extended forgiveness to us, we must also forgive others. Often, when we are wounded, the only way we can forgive is through the mighty, supernatural power of the Lord. In order to do this, our relationship with God must be a priority. Believers must also regularly confess our sins to the Lord and seek to live in the ways we know He desires and are acceptable when exposed by His light. Otherwise, our relationship will weaken and can become strained or closed off. Although God has promised that we can never be plucked from His hand, when we are not living as we should, we do easily drift away from Him.
7. When we live in the power and light of God, and are striving to be pleasing to Him, our prayers are heard and answered as we pray in the ways that are desirable and acceptable to Him. When we pray for protection from temptation and the evil one, God will hear and provide.
Jesus was not hesitant to be alone. He craved and created quiet time with His Father.
Another way Jesus modeled a perfect prayer life was in the way He often sought and found ways to be alone with His Heavenly Father. Luke 5:16 says, “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” How do we expect to hear God speaking to and guiding us when we are always distracted and preoccupied? Jesus knew the importance of solitude and respected and honored His Father enough to ensure that He made the time.
Here are three other examples of Jesus seeking the Father in private.
Matthew 14:23 says, “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.”
Luke 6:12 says, “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
Mark 1:35 says, “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”
God gave us His Holy word, so full of wisdom and instruction, as well as the perfect living example of truth and light - Jesus, God in flesh, who walked among us, the template, the way to serve, love, and honor Him. What ultimate gifts we have received.
I’d like to share one more passage of scripture that is so beautifully written and models devotion for our Father, sacrificial love for the disciples and all who would believe in Him. These verses are full of discipleship, obedience, and fulfillment that could probably be another podcast on their own. I believe they are beautiful words to end this episode because they expose the pure heart of our Savior and instruct His followers on the way to mold our heart to follow God’s.
John 17:1-26 says, “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify You. For you granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. I have brought You glory on earth by finishing the work You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.
“I have revealed You to those whom You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me, and they have obeyed Your word. Now they know that everything You have given Me comes from You. For I gave them the words You gave Me, and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given me, for they are Yours. All I have is Yours, and all You have is Mine. And glory has come to Me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father protect them by the power of Your name, the name You gave me, so that they may be one as We are One. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name You gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
“I am coming to You now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of My joy within them. I have given them Your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As you sent Me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one—I in them and You in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.
“Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world.
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me. I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Prayer brings us closer to God through continuous communication, recognition, and admittance that God is the provider of our needs, acknowledgement that He is enough, and that we trust Him to care for us.
We come to understand God through prayerful reliance on Him, compelling us to depend on the Holy Spirit within us. Prayer forces us to wait on the Lord and listen for His response or direction. Our patience and faith mature as we submit to our Father.
My heart yearns for each of us to experience a prayer life like Jesus. May your heart be touched by the humble example of a living God who came to live for a time on earth, but still reigns in Heaven and within the hearts of each of us who follow Him. What a miracle and gift that He desires deep communication with us through the act of prayer.
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