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  • Writer's picturePastor Rachael Chinnery Todman

Prayer Practices to Engage God

Acts 3:1 . . . the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

Acts 12:5 . . .prayer was made unto God

There are so many books written on prayer. I am not an expert on the topic of prayer. I just want to share with you a few things I have learned and practice as it relates to prayer that has helped me along this journey of faith in the earth realm. My prayer is that I have said something that will help to grow in your faith in Christ and ignite you to pray from a place of holy delight and not from a place of drudgery.

My life existed in a fog. I lived in a daze, I was emotionally depressed and did not know it. I tended to my children’s homework and saw to it that they did well in school. I felt alone even though I shared a living space with my three adult sisters. Everyone was in their own world. I was in a pit and did not know how to get out. I had stopped going to church, and nothing seemed real to me. I felt empty on the inside and nothing I did was filling the hole in my soul.

This went on for several years. And then one morning, I do not know what I was thinking as I sat on the edge of my bed trying to figure out how to face the day ahead. Amid this daze, I heard a thought coming from my mouth “there’s got to be something more to life than going to church.” The next thought that came to me was “read your bible.”

Needless to say, I took up the challenge. As I am writing this I am remembering I used to pray years before life happened and stopped. This challenge felt different. I began to read the bible and stopped reading the Cosmopolitan magazine. Interestingly, I started reading the book of Acts. The thing I discovered in my reading of Acts is how often prayer and praying was mentioned.

I noticed that the people in Acts prayed about everything. Armed with this new knowledge I decided to give prayer and praying a try once again. I came from a family of praying people who got up every day between the hours of 4 and 5 am to pray until daybreak. As I began to practice prayer intentionally at 5 am every morning I became convinced that God was real and very present in my life. My outlook on life began to change. Most importantly my attitude and feelings began to shift and change.

In terms of practicing prayer, I will like to share a few things that have helped me in my journey. First do not stop praying. Always read your bible and talk to God. It is good to have a specific time set aside to talk to God. This time becomes a time of intimacy in worship, listening, asking and, trusting based on what you’ve read.

I like to pray early in the morning. My time frame might not work for you. Set a time that will work for your schedule. One of the things I found helpful in my reading of the bible in this time of prayer is to have a journal to record what you hear the Holy Spirit is saying especially from the word of God.

As I have continued my journey of prayer and praying I discovered the Lord’s prayer in Matthew chapter 6 which is called “the model prayer.” The model prayer has helped to guide me in my daily life. I learned a very important practice from this outline—praise. The practice of praise and praising God before asking for anything helps to cut through our selfish desires. There is a power of transformation in praising. May I encourage you at this juncture to get on what I call ‘praising ground’ especially when adverse circumstances come into your life, Praise is an important practice in prayer

My prayer life has led me to pray some prayers that have impacted not only personal life but the lives of family and friends. Prayer has a far-reaching effect. I remember praying a prayer that went something like this “Lord make my heart an open door, inviting everyone rich or poor, Your kingdom will come, when I make my heart an open door.” This kind of praying is what is known as a dangerous prayer. This prayer that I prayed more than thirty years ago has changed me more than any other prayer that I remember praying. It changed my vocation, location, orientation and, just about every other action in my life.

In terms of prayer practices, we have talked about the importance of Bible reading. Bible reading is important to your prayer life. Reading the Bible helps you to focus on a few verses a day. One of the things that I’ve learned from his practice is that as I meditate on what I have read it helps to guide my prayer life throughout the day. This practice of meditation on scripture has allowed me to fulfill what Paul the apostle Paul admonishes us to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 which states, “pray without ceasing.”

Another thing we talked about is praise and worship. The combination of praise and worship connects us to God’s heart. It happens as our response to the Lord. Praising ground helps with your perspective, shifts your focus in your situations and, causes you to remember that God is sovereign and is in all things that concern your life {Psalm 103:1-3}

For me, prayer and praying is a journey into my soul, into my heart. When a person opens their heart to the Lord in prayer, it produces an intimacy with God that dwarfs fleshly pleasure. This type of intimacy allows the Holy Spirit to see deep into your heart. You become naked and open before the Lord. It is there you begin to see beyond your personal needs and your prayers are in alignment with the purpose and will of God, for family, friends, community and the world. Praying is the key that brings us into total dependence on God. If I don’t pray to God, my life and, my soul feels empty

Here is what I know about prayer and praying.

A simple prayer can change you. It is God’s will that everyone come to know Him. Your prayers can help to change your family, your community, your church, and your nation. The thing you are thinking about right now is asking you to pray. Pray and make a plan

for adding new practices to this very short list of practices that I’ve shared. May God bless you as you continue to seek him in prayer.

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