“Teach us to pray” said the disciples to Jesus, connecting his public wonders to his private practice. He didn’t teach them to study or preach; he taught them to pray. “And when you pray” Jesus assumed in the sermon on the mount that his disciples were following his teaching. Are we?
“Why couldn’t we cast out the demon” they asked Jesus. “Some don’t come out except by prayer and fasting” he told them. Before starting his ministry, Jesus spent forty days in prayer and fasting. Before selecting the twelve apostles he stayed up all night in prayer. Do we imitate the practice of Jesus? Do we try to fight our own demons without prayer and fasting? Do we make our life decisions without talking to our Father?
It starts with just the small steps of letting your requests be known and expressing your gratitude, but soon God transforms a prayer relationship into so much more! It becomes a lifestyle. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says pray continually, Romans 12:12 - says be faithful in prayer. Ephesians 6:18 says pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests... be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people, Colossians 4:2 - says devote yourselves to prayer, Philippians 4:6 says in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God, Hebrews 13:15 says let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, and Luke 18:1 says Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.
When the Holy Spirit moved in the book of Acts, disciples made disciples and multiplied into a mighty movement of God. The work of this movement started with, was sustained by, and survives today through prayer. Acts 1:14 – says they all met together and were constantly united in prayer, Acts 2:42 says all the believers devoted themselves to prayer, Acts 3:1 – says Peter and John went to the temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service, Acts 4:23-24 says all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God, Acts 4:31 says after this prayer the meeting place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit... Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
It is difficult to turn any page in the new testament without seeing an example of prayer. Let's imitate this practice by taking baby steps to increasing our prayer together.
How to pray
What's been the high and low of your day? What's something you're grateful for this week? What's been stressing you out or challenging in your life, family, or world this week? What could your heavenly father help with if he could change one thing in your life? Answering those simple questions creates a list of praises and requests for God. You've formed a prayer by those prompts! Anything that becomes natural must first be intentional. It starts with a discipline that becomes a habit that becomes your lifestyle. Start small and as you take steps of faith, Jesus will take steps within you, transforming your heart to become more like him. Watch the video below to learn how to create a prayer rhythm.
When I first learned to pray it was through a simple acronym "Jesus, others, yourself". The format was great, and you should try it, but remember prayer is a relational conversation, not a formula. The formula is great to fall back on when prayer is difficult. We always need the simple prayer of baring our struggles before the Lord. Watch the video below to learn how to pray for Jesus, others, and yourself.
Sometimes we get caught in talking about others more than ourselves when we pray. John Wesley came up with 22 questions of self examination, which you can use to refocus your prayer on your own soul and the things that are within your ability to change. Watch the video below for the 22 questions of examination.
In some seasons our prayers need to be realigned with what Jesus and the disciples prayed for. We need to strategically take ground and advance against our spiritual enemies. A great group activity that can be done at any time is a "great commission / great commandment prayer" or a "GC2 prayer". Watch the video below to learn about GC2.
Another strategic prayer to take ground against the enemy is a prayer for disciple making movements, or DMM prayer. This prayer helps to reveal your heart for the mission, persons of peace, binding the strong man, tearing down strongholds, and opening doors for the gospel. Watch the video below to hear 16 prayer points for seeing disciples made in your area.
Another big step to make is praying with others, perhaps even strangers who need God's peace in their life! We can pray for the lost and we can take the next step of engaging with the lost in prayer. To learn how to pra
y with others while sharing your faith watch the video interview below!
In the first century, it's likely that the
disciples fasted twice a week. This is a practice that can radically turn our hearts to depend on God. Watch the video below for a quick explanation on how to fast.
More prayer resources coming soon! Keep returning to this blog as we add more prayer content and let us know if you would like to join us in prayer as we intercede for others and ask God to see disciples made in Oregon and beyond. Join our Oregon prayer hub network at the link below: