Sunday, August 23

Turning Up The Heat! Part 2

If you find yourself passionless in prayer, then try the following. These are a continuation from an article begun yesterday, quoted from Joseph Winger in PRAY! Magazine:

Open up to the Holy Spirit: As we cultivate sensitivity to the Holy Spirit's leading in our lives, He will periodically drop a prayer target into our thoughts. If we take time to pray immediately over these targets, a Spirit-induced fervency will often accompany these leadings.

Activate praise: Begin all your prayers with thanksgiving and praise. Praising God causes us to look toward Him and forget about ourselves. A self-absorbed focus is one of the biggest hindrances to fervent praying. When our eyes are on Him, however, passionate prayer comes more readily.

Pray with others: When I pray with others who are more fervent than I, it ignites passion in my own prayer. I recently helped two boys who were struggling with an out-of-control grass fire. I noticed that the fire acted as if it were alive. It kept moving and affecting everything it touched. I saw that that's the way with passion. You get close to someone with it, and you are affected.

Live a balanced life: There is a definite correlation between how we live and how we pray. If we live holy, peaceful, and self-controlled lives, we can go deeper in prayer. The Bible links a sound, balanced lifestyle with greater purposefulness in prayer: "Be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer" (1 Pet. 4:7, NASB).

Be yourself: Relax. We are not all created equally when it comes to passion, zeal, and fervor. Some personality types are fervent about everything. For others, it is more of a struggle. If your personality type tends toward the stoic, be free and don't condemn yourself for not being as expressive as someone else. Throw your whole self into prayer, but let go of how it looks.

J. Hudson Taylor, the ground-breaking missionary to China, noted that most of his breakthroughs in prayer came during emotionless praying. He even confessed that many times his heart felt like wood when he prayed. Taylor's "emotionless praying" released God's power to establish over 200 Chinese mission stations, bring hundreds of missionaries to the field, train 700 Chinese workers, and develop a Chinese church of approximately 125,000. Some reports claim that he baptized nearly 50,000 Chinese.

Fervency to Taylor was sensing and grasping God's heart on a particular issue. It was a willingness to persevere in prayer regardless of the obstacles. Be encouraged. God can use this same kind of whole-hearted, urgent, desperate faith in your prayers to change your world as well.

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