Thursday, July 16, 2009

God had work to do......

Last week, in this post, I wrote how I thought God was trying to get my attention while I was on vacation. I had left all my cables at home and my laptop was about to die. I wrote that I thought God wanted me to focus on Him and my parents that week and that I could feel in my heart He wanted me to draw close.

He had something for me.........and I had hoped to find out what it was.

Well, I was right. But God had to get me completely quiet to do it. Just unplugging my computer wasn't enough.....I was still going to fill my time with a myriad of things I wanted to do. So, He allowed me to get sick. I was too sick to get out of bed, no TV, too sick to concentrate on a book, too sick to do anything...........and that's when He started to work.

I haven't always had a consistent quiet/prayer time. But in the last several years, as my kids have gotten older, I have been pretty good about getting up before my family and spending time with God. I would have told you that my prayer time was good and productive. But God challenged that last week.

While I was in bed, I spent hours praying and during that time realized that I had forgotten what prayer looked like.....real intercessory prayer.

I realized I had allowed other things to creep in and push that kind of prayer out. Oh, I was still having my quiet time, but it had changed. I had been putting a time limit on it and I had begun to quit easily, letting other distractions pull me away.

The next day, as I got out my devotional, I saw that God wasn't done working......the title for the day was:

Effective, Fervent Prayer
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16b

What is fervent prayer? What does fervent really mean? I found it means we do not quit easily. It means we purposefully spend sufficient time in intercession. The word "sufficient" really got me......sufficient doesn't have a time limit. It means we cry out to the Father, sometimes in tears, with our heart and soul.

I haven't been doing that.

Scripture says that prayer ought to accomplish much. Were my prayers effective? Had I even examined them or their outcomes?

Next, I turned to my bible study I had brought. The chapter was titled:

Prayers of Faith
James 5:12-20

Sometimes I don't see things right away....but I have to admit, this was pretty clear!

I was challenged to find out what kind of prayer makes great things happen? What do the words effective, fervent and avails mean in the verse?

As I studied these things, I was forced to examine my prayer life and the effectiveness of my prayers. I realized that if little to nothing happens from my prayers, the problem is not with is with me. Now that is not to say that at times, God doesn't answers my prayers with no.....

But when our prayers are aligned with God and we pray fervently and with faith......our prayers avail much!!!

If we adhere to what God requires, He will lead us to pray for things that align with his purposes, and God will answer our prayers in a mighty way. (Experiencing God day-by-day)

This is what I want. I want my prayers to be effective. I want to pray fervently and with faith. I want prayer to be my default setting. I want to be a true intercessor. Will you hold me accountable to that? Really, I would like you to ask me occasionally how I am doing with it. You can leave a comment or email me. But I want to follow through on this commitment and I know that I will struggle without accountability. And I will be honest.

I plan on restarting my prayer journal. This is not just a list of prayer requests, though that is in there, but it is where I actually journal my prayers. In the past, it has helped me stay focused and helped keep distractions from getting my attention. I am not even sure when I stopped using it.....

I am so thankful to worship a God that cares for me so much and takes such time to lovingly teach me. I am so thankful that He makes things so clear for this otter type girl that has trouble seeing the detail sometimes.


Lois Lane II said...

Wow. You are such an inspiration to me, because I'm the same way. I feel like I've moved further away from God regarding my prayer life...and I need to draw back. Thanks for letting me know that I'm not alone in this. I'll help keep you accountable -- please do the same for me. =)

Growin' with it! said...

i love how He makes things so crystal clear at times too! you can't help but smile at that! you inspire me sara...and that's a true friend. ☺

Sara@i.Sass said...

gotta admit I'm choking here. Gasping for breath, knowing I am a fledgling baby in this walk...
Those are some big words and scary too. I pray my prayers, I journal some too, when the mood hits but fervent? Sufficient? Without time limit????
Lord, Have mercy. This poor soul lacks much.
I need to go get my breath word, he sure uses you in powerful ways.

Darla said...

i will try to remember to ask you, and by doing that it will also remind me to do the same, ferverent prayer! thanks for the reminder...i sooo needed that.

Kim said...

Am feeling a little bit like I've been hit by a Mac truck. Yep, God's working on that in my life too. Loved how you pointed out that if not much is happening, it's MY problem, not God's. Will be praying for you and would ask that you pray for the rest of us out here in Bloggyville too. We need to hold one another up!

TCKK said...

You are so right Sara and I need to hear this too.

SmilingSally said...

I'm so glad that you had this time with Him.

2Thinks said...

Such a good reminder. I'm easily distracted by a billion other lesser things, and need to remember to be still and know and pray.
Thank you!

Debra said...

Oh wow Sara, when I read your post, I thought it is almost as if I had typed it myself! I've been struggling with the same thing and last week I too started journaling my prayers again. Over the years, the times that I was closest to the Lord were those times, when I was journaling my prayers (actually writing out my prayers).

Now and then I go back through all of my old journals and read them and it is so neat to see how my prayers changed and see how I grew in the Lord. Some of those prayers bring me to tears every time I read them.

Anyway, I long for that closeness with Jesus that I have been missing out on lately, due to the fact that my prayer life is lacking. It's so cool when I find someone else that is on the same page of life as I am, with the same struggles! I will pray for you and I ask that you will pray for me also. I will be praising the Lord for you in my journal tonight and lifting you up in prayer. :)

Debra said...

Oh by the way, to answer your question.....I had to buy the Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 didn't come with the online course. I think Costco may still have it on sale right now. If I see another free online class I will tell you about it for sure. My niece told me about this one and I was so glad I was able to sign up for it before the deadline.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Sara - this is so convicting to me. I have never kept a prayer journal, and just in reading this, I KNOW I need to start one so that I can be intentional and keep myself on track.

Thank you for sharing with us, because I know you have helped so many of us with this.

Ohilda said...

Thank you for the reminder that just "praying" may not be what God is requiring of us. I will hold you accountable...will you hold me?

I love you, girl!

Michelle said...

Wow, Sara that was a beautifully written post!

StephieAnne said...

That is so inspiring Sara- thank you for sharing!

Liz said...

When I came back to picture browse, I saw this post and in reading it, just want to rejoice with you that God is working, and to encourage "You go, Sara!"
I began my prayer journal as part of a summer prayer group, and the journal a gift. That was 1992. For some reason, as a fairly new believer (I accepted Christ in 1986), I dedicated daily time to spend with the Lord in fervent, intercessory prayer and that journal become the first of many. And, like you, it is not just a list of requests, but journaled conversations with God as He has walked me through many seasons.
I have taken two sabbaticals from journaling - at times when He brought to my attention that it became more about the journal than the prayer. During those seasons, I prayed aloud, daily, and He blessed those prayers so very much. I am so excited as you recommit time to concentrated prayer before the Lord. You will be so blessed, but also He will answer and move in the lives of so many as a result of your obedience! Hooray for you and Hooray for God!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sara, what a WONDERFUL post. Very convicting.

"I want prayer to be my default setting." That line hit me hard.

I need to pull out my journal more often. It gets shelved because I "don't have time" but those are truly the most dear moments with the Lord.

Thank you for this convicting reminder, and I hope you are feeling better!