Prayer is essential so here are some tips and suggestions to help you essentially pray:
So how do we pray?
Jesus taught his disciples to pray in Matthew 6. His instruction came in the middle of a sermon, called the ‘sermon on the mount’ (hardly surprising as Jesus often withdrew to a mountain to pray). His concern is that the disciples conducted themselves in a way that was pleasing to the Lord as opposed to pleasing before people (6:1, 18) and he offers three areas of concern: Giving (6:2-4), Prayer (6:5-15) and Fasting (6:16-18).
This is what he says about prayer:
So why do we today find prayer so difficult? I suspect the answer to this question will differ between the Western World and Eastern World!
The Bible is very comfortable with the idea that you can talk to God. Depending on the Bible version you look at ‘prayer’ is referenced over six hundred and fifty times!
Has your prayer life ever sounded like this?
Dear Lord and Father,
Help me now to come before your word and hear your voice. Help me – oh I forgot to lock the car! Sorry God, just got distracted. I pray that you would open my mind and heart and – I must remember to pick up some milk on the way home! Should I go out after church this week, it will be a busy week, maybe I should get home and get to bed instead! Whoops, get back to praying, Sorry God. Where was I? Something about opening my mind… oh that’s right, I pray that you will help me to obey what you want me to obey – I wonder if I will see Steve after church – oh not now, God help me to focus and I pray ….I can’t remember – well in Jesus Name Amen!
Is it just me, or are there times when you struggle to pray? Christians know they should pray, it is wonderful to have an open line to the only God of the universe, yet that doesn’t mean Christians always find it easy! Sadly, we often fail in the area of prayer, and it can lead to disillusionment and lack of discipline in this important area of the Christian life.
The earth moved! If I ever thought that prayer was weak, then all I needed to do was remember back to that day, to that prayer meeting, when the ground shook, and by the Holy Spirit, we spoke the word of God boldly!
It happened like this…
Over the generations, across the world, and right to your local church family, there will be numerous examples of godly and generous givers. Among those who have given, are many who have given even at times of extreme poverty or hardship (Luke 21:1-4; 2 Cor 8:2). It is right and proper to be immensely thankful to God for these saints (maybe you are one such person). Under God, what has been given has served the gospel and those the gospel has reached for centuries. Godly giving, although rarely put on display, is a wonderful testimony to the power and gift of the gospel. Praise God.
So how should a Christian organise their godly giving?
Let’s look first at our priorities and then at the practical mechanics!
Christians are called to be godly in giving. That could be giving in attitude, time, energy or money – all are important. Here we will focus specifically on the area of money and the way we generously and responsibly use the resources that God has put in our care.
Let me make four points from 1 Timothy 6 which may help our thinking.
First, Godly giving is not a means to financial gain.