Praying with Expectancy
Someone once remarked, "If I wished to humble anyone, I would question him about his prayers. I know nothing to compare with this topic for its sorrowful self-confessions."
The last thing I want to do is make someone feel guilty about not praying. Guilt is Satan's bitter substitute for action in the Christian life. Instead, God wants you to experience joy in your daily Christian walk. That is why Scripture encourages us to pray.
The Bible says, "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful" (Colossians 4:2). We should offer our requests with expectancy and thankfulness. We miss the joy of seeing prayer answered if we don't consciously watch for signs of God's intervention.
I encourage you to start a prayer notebook as a means of watching for God's answers to your prayers. Keeping a prayer notebook always motivates me to pray more frequently and specifically, and it helps me to sense the reality that I'm one of God's children.
First I write my requests in a notebook, along with the date I start making the request. If there is a deadline for a particular answer, I record that as well. Then in the other column I note when the Lord answers my prayers and what His answers are. It is exciting to see how God works!
My prayer notebook is a monument to the constant faithfulness of my heavenly Father. When I encounter difficult circumstances, I can reflect on God's faithfulness by reviewing how He has worked in my life in the past. Without a notebook I would soon forget many of God's marvelous answers to my prayers.
To start your own notebook, complete the exercise in prayer outlined below. Then rejoice as you experience God's personal dealings in your life!
Exercise in Prayer
1. Think of one area in your life where you really need an answer to prayer.
2. Write it down and date it. Develop a prayer notebook.
3. Study the following passages on prayer in your Bible: Matthew 7:7-11; 18:19-20; Mark 10:46-52; John 16:24; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 6:10-20; James 5:16-18.
4. Simply and specifically tell the Lord your request.
5. Thank the Lord that He is going to answer your prayer (Philippians 4:6).
6. Record the answer when it comes, and praise God for it (Colossians 4:2).
How is your prayer life? You don't need to give a sorrowful confession. Instead, offer your requests with expectancy and thankfulness. Use a prayer notebook to help you. Then share your blessings with other people. Be a living testimony that God still answers prayer!
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