pray like you mean it

On Thursday mornings I read a chapter from Richard Foster’s book: Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home.

This morning I read from chapter 18 on Healing Prayer. It was amazing. I’ve never been a huge pray-er. I mean I feel like I have these constant conversations with my Jesus, but as far as laying prostrate on the floor in prayer…it’s not really happened much in my life. After attending Captivating last Spring, I have really started feeling the Lord moving my heart and teaching my heart more and more about prayer. Obviously, this is what prompted me to start re-reading this book by Foster. While, the idea of “healing prayer” is different in different circles, what hit me most about this chapter was the power of just believing. Foster pleads with us to pray with faith: meaning we don’t pray tacking on the common “if it by your will” or “we can’t really do anything so we just give him/her to you”. Those are all well and good, but when we are deeply in prayer for others, he is encouraging us to pray with the full belief that God can do what we are asking. When we tack on those little phrases at the end it is like saying “God please do such and such…if you can.”

The NIV translates Hebrews 4:16, Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The NLT says, So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

With confidence and boldly means we are coming to the feet of Jesus with the full belief that He can and will do what we have asked. Whether He does that or not shouldn’t be our concern.

Foster outlines four steps that I think are helpful whether applying them to praying for healing or just plain praying.

1) WE LISTEN.
Wow, do I not listen. Well, I do listen, but I’m listening more often for a break so I can talk again. Foster reminds us that “sometimes people share their deepest needs in the most casual offhand way.” If I’m constantly listening for an opportunity to share myself, I’m going to miss this.

2) WE ASK.
We do not weaken our request with ifs, ands or buts. We speak with…boldness.”

3) WE BELIEVE.
…we remember that our assurance is not based upon our ability to conjure up some special feeling. Rather, it is built upon a confident assurance in the faithfulness of God. We focus on His trustworthiness and especially on His steadfast love.” Do I pray with the full assurance that He can and will do what I’ve asked?

4) WE GIVE THANKS.
This is obviously a big “movement” right now and the way that gratitude is taking over people’s lives is a testament to what can happen when we change our perspective from always grumping around and complaining to taking every situation and offering praise for it. But again, it’s giving thanks for what God can do. Believing fully that what we are asking, He is going to do and then praising Him for it. Not a, “thanks Jesus for what you might be able to do”, but “thank you Jesus for what you are doing and what you are going to do.”

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God,and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. ~ I John 3: 19-24

Praise be to the Lord who redeems my heart. Whom I can approach with full confidence, knowing that He will do.

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