Thursday, April 11, 2013

Morning Prayer - Learning How to Pray

Morning Prayers are very important. 

They help to start your day out with a God-centered focus.

However, morning prayers can be difficult because you want to get started on your day and so many things are needing to be done; you have a lot of distractions. If you still have children in the home, morning prayers sometimes feel like an impossible dream because after a time of being apart--during the  night--children often come to you and have many needs.

You can try to rise earlier, to provide extra time for you to spend in prayer because you feel you have so many things to get done. Some people finds this helps. The importance of making time for morning prayer reminds of a saying by Martin Luther:

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” - Martin Luther quote.

The great German reformer, the man for whom the Lutheran Church began, Martin Luther, is quoted as saying he needed to spend at least three hours in prayer every morning because he had such a busy, filled day. He felt he needed this amount of time to cover the obligations and events of the day with God before he could begin doing them. He is a man that understood the importance and power of morning prayer.

When we pray, we allow God to filter through our thoughts and events of the day. We bring everything before Him prior to beginning our day. We let Him have input and to help us know whether He is supportive of our plans. Of course, it is best to not make any plans before you lay your ideas in front of God, letting Him help you to establish what you should do and how you should do it. Bringing things before God FIRST should be important to you if you are living for Him.

So, in morning prayer, as soon as you wake, you can prayer even before your feet hit the ground. Personally, if I am struggling with distractions I do this. I find if you can pray in bed, you make sure you don't do anything else to get distracted.

As you get more disciplined in praying, when morning prayer is established in your life, you might find it enjoyable to get up and ready for the day and then sitting down or kneeing in a special spot with your Bible, a journal and a devotional or Bible study type of book. Some people find it helpful to put on praise music; other get distracted by music.

Prayer is very personal and you will have to allow yourself to develop what works best for you.

In the morning when we pray, mercies are new. 

In morning prayer, thank God for the new day, greet Him, share with Him how you slept or any dreams you might remember and want to discuss. It is at this time that you will want to confess anything that could be keeping you separated from God, any known sin. You might also allow God the time to examine you for any unknown sin. It is important to consider the condition of your heart when you are starting to pray if you really want your prayers to be effective. He cares about all the details of your night. Don't forget to pause and listen allowing God time to respond to you.

James 5:16 - The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Sometimes people try too hard in prayer.

Some people think if they work hard enough, they can eliminate all of their thoughts--which is a type of meditative prayer--a very focused kind of prayer if you are aiming on focusing only on God, but it is not an essential element of morning prayer.

Think of morning prayer as "telepathically" getting God on the telephone. Actually you are SPIRITUALLY connecting with God. You turn your thoughts and spirit to Him, in a sense, calling Him to talk, and He answers the phone. He is listening for what you have to say and He is wanting to respond. Prayer is communication, talking to God. Don't try to complicate it by making it some spiritual exercise of contemplative oneness that must be achieved in order to consider it prayer. Daily prayer is very practical.

As you talk to God, worship Him, thank Him for the new day, then bring before Him your loved ones and your concerns for them. Ask Him to have mercy on them, to find ways to draw near to them, to help them make the best choices, to put people in their life that will help them grow spiritually, and if there is a very specific need, address it with God. Then, as always, listen for God's response.

Listening is Part of Communicating.

Since I make it a habit to listen for God's response, I find having a journal or something to write on as being necessary while praying, because I want to recall what God said or instructed me to do or say when I finish praying.  Listening to God is when people who are beginning to pray struggle. You might want to read, Struggling to Pray, which I previously wrote.

Many people get bombarded with voices and wonder which voice is God's. If Satan sees that you are getting serious about praying he will quickly try to challenge your attempts. He hates prayer and certainly does not want you communicating to God, being empowered by the Holy Spirit. He wants you to remain weak, fumbling through the day. He also does not want you to pray for others; he doesn't want God intervening in your love one's life.

What you need to know is that GOD is all-powerful and Satan (and his minions are not). In time, you will be able to quickly discern the voice of God, even over your own subconscious voices. Focus on the loving, patient, voice that is full of grace, with no condemnation. Narrow in on the voice that is gentle toward you, but strong in presence, the voice that is pouring out nurturing concern for you. Overtime His voice will be loud and clear-- even if hundreds of voices are all speaking at the same time. You will improve at learning to detect God's voice through practice in actually praying.

Let God order your day.

Frequently we have so much on our plate, our schedules are full. Therefore, it is so important that we let God order our day. He will help us to know what HE WANTS us to get done and in doing that step by step throughout the day, relying on God to order our steps, we can put our head on the pillow at night knowing we had a successful day, a day that was honoring and obedient to God. Trust me, or better yet, trust God -- you have enough time in a day to accomplish what God wants you to do. When you start to feel overwhelmed, pause during the day and ask HIM what HE WANTS you to do next. It is in this continually connectedness throughout the day that you will be empowered by God for the situation at hand and you will be most effective in living for Him. 

If you are truly, a follower of Christ, you will want to follow Him step by step through the day. Starting your morning in prayer is absolutely the way to begin each day as a follower of Christ!

I hope you enjoy God each morning in a time of prayer. Every day you try you are one day closer to praying daily in the morning.

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