Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Essentials of Effective Prayer

Mia and I are both busy working around the house today. Jesse gave her a fairly simple chore: pick up all of the apples on the ground in the yard. We have several apple trees, and mowing becomes a bit hazardous with all the little projectiles flying. He promised her a penny per apple (she could probably make $5 or more today), and I promised a bowl of chocolate ice cream when she finished. Instead we spent the entire morning fighting. She's cried, lazed, threw herself on the bed in tears, slammed the door, and played in her swimming pool. All to avoid a simple chore that would provide lots of rewards at the end!

Because of my RA, I tend to take a lot of rest periods when I'm working around the house. I invited Mia to rest along with me, and then when I go back to work, she does too. It's made a remarkable difference in her attitude, because she doesn't feel like she's working alone.

I'm sure she gets it from her mother. When I was a kid, I word exert more energy trying to avoid a chore than the actual job would require. There's a reason my mom has been coloring her hair for 30 years! I know that I do the same with the jobs God gives me. Love my enemies: but they were mean to me! Pray for those who persecute me: I didn't know you meant all of them! Turn the other cheek: that's too hard for me!

And that's when the Holy Spirit says, "You're right! It is too hard for you! That's why I'm here. Try relying on me instead of doing it all by yourself." I am not capable of doing the commands of God on my own, that's why I need Jesus to be in me, working with me and resting with me, letting me know that I am never alone. And when I have done all that He has asked, when my chores are done, I have the most amazing reward ahead of me, much better than $5 and a bowl of chocolate ice cream!

What's God asking you to do today that has you stomping your feet in anger?

The Essentials of Effective Prayer
by Kay Arthur and David & BJ Lawson is a six week Bible study meant for small groups to enrich and enliven your prayer life. They are part of the 40 Minute Bible Study/No Homework series. The authors use several examples of prayer throughout the Bible to show readers how to worship, confess, and intercede through their own prayers. I loved how the Bible verses were in the margins of the pages so I didn't have to juggle my Bible and the book at the same time. The questions encourage readers to dig deep into the purpose and message in each prayer. The Lord's Prayer from Matthew gets special focus, as does intercessory prayer. I learned a great deal about how to pray for others, as well as spending more time worshiping God for who he is within my prayers. This is a terrific tool for small groups, as well as for individual use (which is how I did the study).

My contest for Friends We Keep by Sarah Zachariah Davis ends today at 10 pm! I'm giving away two copies of this terrific book, along with a few other goodies. Send me an email before it's too late!