Prayers are Deathless

God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. The lips that uttered them may be closed in death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.

—E.M. Bounds, Purpose in Prayer 

Anxiety and Glorifying God

As a left-brain-dominant (ISTJ) introvert, my personality likely seems odd to the majority of the earth’s population. I’m blessed with my wife Wendy who is really awesome at helping me balance things out…mostly.

Possessing such a temperament also means I analyze things to a degree that requires an electron microscope. This often allows me to identify subtleties others might miss but the side effect is that it also creates a perfect environment for anxiety.

When I’ve collected all this subtle information, processed it, come up with a less-than-good-news conclusion and—at the same time—been leveraged by over active extroverts…well…it’s not pretty to be in my head at those times.

Since my father is also an introvert and I work with him, I have had years of watching him deal with these stressful situations and persevere. Nonetheless, anxiety often creeps in.

Thankfully I’ve come to a maturity in my life where I turn to Scripture for answers. Recently, when the stress of my job creeped in and anxiety threatened to consume me I dove into scripture for refuge.

What was so wonderful was the scripture didn’t just console me, it also emboldened me by charging me with a duty to honor and glorify God. Scripture in Philippians was most impactful:

Philippians 4:6–7 (NLT)
6Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

I took the advice given in this scripture. It wasn’t long before it began to be very evident that God had already been at work in my situation. Things were already being put into place before I had even realized, before my faith was strong.

What I realized in this situation was that anxiety expresses a lack of faith. Through prayer (mine and others; thank you Wendy & Corbin) my faith is strengthened until anxiety diminishes, fades.

A comfort and boldness takes me. Perhaps it’s wishful to think I’ve finally and completely learned how to prevent these moments of weakened faith, but I’m encouraged. What’s sure is, the successes I’ve seen are greater than my abilities, but not God’s. Let any successes I have in this life be credited to Him.

John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer and a Prayer Journal

Going through my Twitter feeds this morning I came across a link to an article by Chad Brooks about using a prayer notebook (what, I believe, Wendy calls a Prayer Journal) to start, and maintain, a prayer life. What’s so appealing about this approach is that he uses a Field Notes brand notebook as his prayer notebook.

I agree with him that using a tangible item helps motivate a person to pray and affirms to others that they are being lifted up in prayer. Recently I’ve begun a prayer list in Evernote and placed it at the top of my shortcuts list. Without question the Evernote technique has improved my prayer life but it falls short in those areas where a physical notebook would excel.

Thinking deeper on this concept I’m also reminded that we teach by example. If all our prayer is hidden, how will our children—and friends, etc.—learn to be prayerful? Being an introvert means I’m very private. Those things we do that are routinely visible to our children speak louder than our words. The Field Note prayer notebook is something I’m going to explore.

Chad’s article was exceptional in that it was short, powerful, and offered more than most long posts on the Internet. The real prize in the article for me was John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer. This will go at the top of my Evernote Prayer Journal as well as the Field Notes notebook(s). Here’s the prayer:

I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.

The Seedbed Daily Text » Blog Archive » PRAYING THROUGH STORMS

The Seedbed Daily Text » Blog Archive » PRAYING THROUGH STORMS.

Last Wednesday Seedbed had a daily reading post I particularly like. I’ve posted the link above in order to make it readily accessible to me, and some of my friends, when we especially need it.

Concerning the Method of Prayer

It might seem superstitious but, for as long as I can remember, I have avoided praying for specific results. When praying I simply request that God have His will in whatever situation about which I’m praying. For me it’s logical—faithful—to rely on the wisdom and mercy of God in prayer.

It’s merely that I don’t want to presume that I am more knowledgable or wise than God. As prayer requires faith for its efficacy, shouldn’t that faith extend to trusting God in what the results will be? If I prayed for God’s help in a matter then followed with instructions for Him as to what or how He should accomplish His work, I would feel lacking in my faith and in doubt He would answer my prayer.

This hasn’t been the case for many of my fellow Christians in charismatic denominations I’ve encountered who say specifically to “name it, claim it” in prayer (strongly rooted in Prosperity Theology). It’s surely comforting to name it and claim it but, for those who trust in the wisdom and mercy of God, the blessings are often overwhelming.

Today I came across this scripture in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans which reminded me of this subject:

Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

Perhaps there are church saints in a state of Christian Perfection who are qualified—whether or not inclined—to pray otherwise. But, until I’m closer to that state, I’m trusting in His wisdom over mine—likely more so then.

Related reading: The World’s Last Night by C.S. Lewis and A Plain Account of Christian Perfection by John Wesley