Sunday, August 25, 2019

Ten Ways to Have a More Successful, Effective Prayer Life


The other day as I was poring through some papers that belonged to my dear Mom, I came across an article she used to refer to often.  It was written by someone in China many years ago, and it gave a description of how things would be right before Jesus comes back.  I found the words as sobering as they used to be when Mom would read them to me or speak of them through the years.  One of the main subjects the author spoke about was how increasingly difficult it would be to pray as we approach Jesus' 2nd coming.

As I read the words again, I was amazed at the accuracy of this "prophecy" written so long ago.

Does anyone else have as difficult a time entering into intercessory prayer as I do?

It is not that I don't love to pray.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I DO love to pray.  I cannot begin to express how much I love immersing in a time of deep communion and conversation with my Heavenly Father.  Those moments with Him are my favorite moments of all, and without that time of keeping our communication open and fresh, I could not, by any means, maintain the spiritual Christian walk that He enables me to walk day by day.

I have lived for Jesus long enough and neglected my prayer life enough times to come to a full realization that prayer is absolutely essential and imperative to my success in living a Christian life.  I cannot do without it for it is in Him that I live and move and have my being.  (Acts 17:28)  

I have no ability to know which path to take, without consistently engaging in conversation with my Lord.  "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."  Jeremiah 10:23  

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in His way."  Psalm 37:23 

I desperately need to continually hear His voice instructing me which way to go, and it is crucial that I do whatever is necessary to draw daily strength and grace from Him to overcome the onslaught of evil that we all have to contend with in daily life.  

"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Matthew 26:41

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing."  John 15:51

I know I need to pray, and I know the consequences that ensue when I don't pray as I should, so I determined to try to identify the main opponents to my prayer life.  

Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
  
What exactly is it that makes praying so difficult in these last days?

Once I identified my biggest prayer hindrances, it was easier to come up with ammunition to combat those deterrents and win!  I hope you will also find these tips helpful as you pursue a more effective prayer life for truly there is no substitute for the amazing power of consistent, effectual prayer in the life of a Christian.

 "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
James 5:16

1.  Pray first.  
Let it begin as soon as you awaken in the morning.  Just get it done!  
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  Matthew 6:33
On days that I don't pray first, not only does it seem the day falls apart, I also walk around with a continual nagging sense of not having done what I should.  It sets an out-of-sorts tone for the whole day.  Spending those first moments of the day with God in prayer gives a sense of having done my duty and arms me with what I will need to face the unfamiliar challenges of a new day.  As I get older and don't sleep as soundly as I used to, I find that I am doing a lot of praying during the night, too.  There is nothing more comforting to do when you are tossing and turning than to turn your heart Heavenward and talk it all over with Him.  It is soothing to the soul and gives a sense of refreshed peace when you wake up later.

"My mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips: when I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches.  Because Thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice."  Psalm 63:5-7

"Yet the LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life."  Psalm 42:8

"My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises."
Psalm 119:148

Most importantly, Jesus, our example, prayed all night long.

"And it came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."  Luke 6:12

The Bible mentions Jesus' prayer life enough times to reveal His prayer patterns to us, and we would all do well to pay careful attention to those details.  If He needed to pray so often and for such long, extended periods of time, do we really think we can run a successful Christian race doing less?  

"The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees."
 EM Bounds

2.  If you can't pray first, pray faithfully.
If praying during the first part of the day doesn't work for you, the main thing is to be intentional about specifying a block of daily time for prayer regardless of the time of day, and then committing to it daily and making it a habit —just like a daily important appointment.  It is actually the most important of all.

3. Establish a designated place to pray.
  Though we can obviously pray from anywhere, it helps to have a particular place to pray. Having a designated prayer spot will associate prayer to that location and become a place that draws and reminds you to pray.  Over time, as you experience God's anointing in that place, you will begin to regard and cherish it as holy ground.  

4.  Be comfortable.
This may sound like an odd prayer strategy, but if you are in an uncomfortable position, you probably won't want to stay there long.  Again, as I get older, I find that being on my knees isn't the most comfortable position, and when I start out praying that way, I usually end up moving to my recliner to finish.  It may be just my opinion, but I don't believe God is nearly as concerned about bodily position while praying as He is in fervency, earnestness, and the condition of the heart.  I will never forget how much it impressed me to read about how Charles Stanley arms himself with the whole armor of God before his feet touch the floor each morning.  This lends support to the point of praying first and gives another reason that it is a good idea.  Praying in bed first thing in the morning brings us into the presence of God and insures that He is the first one we face and talk to.  We never leave an encounter with Him unchanged, and after being with Him, we will find ourselves prepared for every other intersection and interaction that will happen throughout the day.

5.  Keep paper and pen near your prayer spot.
One of my main inhibitors during prayer time is becoming so distracted by the onslaught of meddlesome thoughts that continually stream through my mind as I am trying to pray.  I start thinking of phone calls I need to make, emails I need to write, people I need to reach out to and connect with, chores I need to accomplish, what I will cook for my family, and upcoming occasions for which I need to prepare.  So, to beat the enemy at his distractions game, I started keeping a pad of paper and pen close by.  Now, when those distracting thoughts start invading, I start jotting short little note reminders.  This transfers the task from my mind to paper, and I can let it go to be revisited later in the day.  It's a winning strategy that works perfectly and enables me to keep right on praying until I am finished!

6.  Allow for listening.  
The fact that a conversation is two-way also applies to prayer, but an often overlooked part of prayer is allowing space for God to speak.  We want to do all the talking and asking and petitioning, but we rush away from prayer after pouring out what we want to say, and we fail to linger long enough to give Him an opportunity to deal with our hearts and reveal His thoughts.  There is much that He will relay to us if we will make the effort to be still before Him.  Reduce noise, and pray in solitude.  Jesus did.  

"And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone."  Matthew 14:23

"And when He had sent them away, He departed into a mountain to pray."  Mark 6:46

"And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed."  Mark 1:35

"But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer."  Luke 5:16

7.  Pray on.
Though you have an allocated prayer spot and time, it is important to also remember to stay in a spirit of prayer after you finish and as you continue throughout the entirety of your day.  I Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to "Pray without ceasing."  We obviously cannot stay in our designated prayer spot and preferred prayer position 24/7, but we can continually call on the Lord and pray unceasingly as we go about our day and perform our duties, keeping our minds in a continual state of communion with Jesus.  He is always there with us, as close as the slightest whisper, and every time we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.  "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."  James 4:8  I have found that my daily duties, i.e., homeschooling, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and even errands have become springboards from which prayer wells up, and things that would otherwise be mundane and laborious are transformed into opportunities for deep conversation with my Lord.

8.  Shed toxic influences.
Shed people who continually hinder and dampen the audaciousness of your faith.  Stop listening to those who quench your inspiration.  When Jesus was on the earth, and He was faced with an impossibility to pray through, He sent all doubters away and dispelled hindering spirits from the atmosphere.  They were not allowed access into His inner circle.  In fact, in particular situations and circumstances, Jesus ONLY permitted a select three of His twelve disciples to go with Him.
In the case of raising Jairus' daughter from the dead, He allowed only Peter, James, John, and the girl's parents to stay in the room as He performed the miracle.  (Luke 8:50-55)
When Jesus was going to the mountain to be miraculously transfigured, (Matthew 17:1-2), He only took Peter, James, and John.  When He entered the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His crucifixion, He only invited Peter, James, and John to go farthest into the garden with Him to pray.
There was no place for doubt, fear, or unbelief in Jesus' realm.  When opposing spirits were present, He removed them.  Why?  Because fear, doubt, and unbelief can hinder the miracle from manifesting.  It can also deeply influence and injure the faith of others who DO believe God is going to answer prayer.  If you are praying with someone who does not believe for what you are asking, that spirit of unbelief can absolutely hinder the answer from coming through and can start to cause you to start doubting God's ability to do what you are asking Him to.  Doubt is toxic to faith.  Get rid of it, and shed those who inject it into your prayer life.  It may sound cruel and heartless, but it is just that necessary.

9.  Surround yourself with Godly influencers of faith.
  Surround yourself with those who unfailingly believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."  Hebrews 11:6
Ask the Lord to send earnest, relentless prayer partners into your life.  Seek out those who speak life into the situations you are praying about.  Abraham had faith in "Him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.'  Romans 4:17
THAT is the God we serve.  He has not lost one bit of His power, and "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."  Hebrews 13:8
Just as Jesus chose those whom He knew believed with all their hearts and placed them in His inmost inner circle, we have the free will to choose the people we allow in ours.  None of us want to hurt another, but when it comes to running a successful Christian race, and knowing the main tool to make that happen is the maintaining of a strong, faith-filled prayer life, it is imperative that the people we permit access to our closest companionship are those who possess a resolute, unshakable faith in God.  It took me a long time to realize the depth of wisdom in expending the necessary effort it took to develop an encirclement of stalwart faith-filled prayer warriors around me.  When a need arises, I want to know that the people I ask to pray will fervently pray and that they will do so with zero doubt in the God they are praying to.
Don't you?

10.  Keep prayer commitments. 
Just as you want to know you and your prayer requests are being faithfully prayed for, be careful to pray for those for whom you have promised to pray.  If you tell someone you will pray for them, honor your word and be committed to keeping your promise to carry their needs to the Father.  I find it is very helpful to keep a prayer book where I record the names of those I have made a commitment to pray for.  Life is busy and full of care, and it is easy for me to become so absorbed in all that is going on in my own life and completely forget to keep my promise to pray for others.  I have also learned to drop what I am doing and pray instantly with/for those who ask for prayer, if at all possible.

As always, if anyone who reads this needs prayer, please always feel free to email me through this site.  When I tell you I will be praying for you, by God's grace, I will keep my word!

God bless you as you pursue an ever-deepening prayer life, and may He send people into your life who will reinforce your faith, support your determination, and powerfully enhance the strength of your prayers.

35 comments:

  1. "The other day as I was poring through some papers that belonged to my dear Mom, I came across an article she used to refer to often. It was written by someone in China many years ago, and it gave a description of how things would be right before Jesus comes back."

    What article is this? Please post it!

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    1. It is not something that can be found online, that I know of. There is no author's name on it - just an old, weathered type-written paper that Mom kept in her most important papers, and I came across it the other day. If I am not mistaken, it belonged to my Papaw, who was a minister, and I believe he gave it to Mom. If I have time, I will try to type it out and post it here.

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  2. Thank you, I relate to a lot of that, particularly making the time to stop and pray, rather than allow the everyday things to take over.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Elizabeth. I so appreciate your visit!

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  3. Hello Cheryl,Oh what Godly advice that is real good for all of Us..God help Me to stay in touch with Heaven.If there ever a day we need to keep close connected with Jesus it is now..Many of the tips for prayer was so special and precious and good for Me..My home has always been a house for prayer for many years Mother and Dad kept a prayer line going by phone.We have calls all hours of day and night.They taught Me early on when someone calls for prayer stop then and pray while you know and feel their burden..Prayer can change everything!! I have seen many things happened by prayer..And what a great blessing it is to Us to be able to talk to our Heavenly Father..We use to sing a song What would I do if I didn't have Jesus..And know I would like to be on your prayer list..It is much harder to pray for Me now than when Mother and Dad were here..I have been told shut that up I am not going to listen to that stuff..I would began praying even harder but not where it could be heard..I do not know how anyone could not love and want Jesus in their life.Once I felt I had no friends and I would pray for just one true friend..God did answer my prayer and sent some Godly people in my life and I thank Him so much..To have a prayer warrior for a friend is the best you can get..Thanks for all the good sound advice you shared here..You always amaze me with better and better blogs..Keep up the good work I believe Jesus is coming soon..And all the battles will be worth all the victory we will enjoy forever..God bless all 3 of you and hold you all real close to His big heart of love...You all are loved..Love Loads,Elaine

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend. Your comments are such an uplift and encouragement to me. That is such a precious story about your Mom and Dad keeping that phone line going in your house! You truly have such a Godly heritage and so many wonderful, God-filled memories. I didn't know your Dad, but your Mom was just so precious. I don't know that particular song you spoke of, but do you remember the one that said, "What Should We Do Without Jesus?" It was one of my Mom's favorite songs, and I can still hear her dear, sweet voice singing it. You and I will always miss our dear parents so very much, especially their prayers and Godly influence. I am so thankful God sent you those Godly friends to comfort and bless you. I know your load and cross is so heavy, and I am praying for you. Love and appreciate you so much.

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  4. Hello Cheryl. Thank you for this VERY helpful reminder. I try, oh how I try. And how easily distracted I become. I already do many of the things you list, but for some reason I stopped keeping a pen and paper nearby. I have no idea why I stopped this because it is really very helpful in getting rid of troubling annoyances. I appreciate you taking the time to write all of this down for us. I, too, think the coming of Christ is going to be very soon, and I want desperately to be ready to great Him. Keeping my prayer life constant and active is a HUGE part of that. And listening for His words to me. It's so easy to just talk, talk, talk myself and not wait for His voice to give me the words of Life that I need to hear.
    I hope you have a wonderful Monday my friend. Full of love and listening to Him.
    Bessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Dear friend, you are one of the most ardent prayer warriors I know, and your faithfulness to lift my family and me through so many hard places is a gift that I will forever praise God for. I so desperately want to be ready to meet Jesus in peace, also, and Lord willing, one day we will all be together around that great, white throne worshiping Him for eternity. Thank you ever so much for your kind, encouraging words. Many blessings back to you today!

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  5. Such great advice for strengthening our prayer lives, Cheryl! Like you, I keep a list of folks who have asked for prayers, and I do my best to be faithful to this practice. What I don't do, and know I should, is keep pen and paper handy for those distractions when they come. Such a great way to lay them aside, and go on conversing with God. I'll be sure to try that.
    Blessings, my friend!

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    1. I am so thankful for your precious comments and encouragement and support, dear Martha. May the Lord continue to bless you and enrich your walk with Him. You are such a faithful soldier of the cross, and I am so, so grateful for your prayers. Many blessings to you, too!

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  6. Hi Cheryl,We both have a great past and I am sure you are giving your Son many precious memories also..What a blessings to be brought up in praying grounds..Prayer walks Us all through the tough days..I am having one of those today.My Card Sales for the Season is way low and I need that extra to pay taxes and Ins. to keep my home that Mom and Dad left Me..So whisper a prayer for Me please..No Dear I do not know the song you asked me about..But I am sure it is a real good one.God bless and keep you all tenderly near to His heart of love..May He hug all of close today..Love Loads,Elaine

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    1. I am surely trying to give him those precious memories. We have such meaningful times in family worship together, and oh, how the dear Holy Spirit comes down and meets with us. It is so, so precious to my soul! He has revealed many things during those times of worshiping and seeking Him together, and I will forever praise Him. I just had a thought about your card sales. Is it possible for people to order from you online and have the cards shipped to them? If it is, please let me know. Perhaps there are people who would be interested in doing that. I don't know why I can't get my emails through to you. I have tried and tried, and they bounce right back to me. It is so frustrating. But, if you happen to see this, please let me know the link to order cards, if that is an available option. Much love to you and I am praying for you.

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  7. This is the area of my journey with the Lord I fail at the most. I assume too much too often that God will just take care of things instead of praying first instead of assuming. I know He does not need our prayers but the fact He wants us to talk to Him should prompt me to pray more. It's easier when there is a trial going on to drop in prayer but I don't pray for trials either to get me there, just joking here. No I can honestly say I fail at praying often. I know I have friends who think because I am a "missionary" I am super spiritual...if they only knew how frail I am. At the end of my day as I look back at my failure I am so glad I can lay them at His feet and know for sure they are forgiven. I am even more glad He knows my heart and how much I love that He loves me. This journey is hard at times but I find the easiest part is knowing He loves me, He promised He did, does, will forever and He never ever goes back on His Word. Ok...I just dropped a prayer for you Cheryl in His lap. Love this convicting post.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here, dear Betty. I, too, am SO grateful that no matter how much I fail Him, He loves me just the same as if I never did. You will never know how much I appreciate your prayers and encouragement, my friend.

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  8. Hi Cheryl,I am so glad of all the Precious Family times you all have.Brings back many memories to Me about around the Family Alter at our Home with Mom ans Dad..Sorry you can not reach me..My computer is all down except this site where I can see your blogs..I begged God not to let this one go to..This means so much to my life to read your blogs and be able to talk to you again..You all mean so much to Me..No Dear I do not have any info online and with my computer about gone that would never work.But was a great idea and thanks for thinking about that for Me..Please keep praying each day of life gets worse for Me..I am trying to hold on but would be easier I am sure if I could go home to Jesus,Mom and Dad..May God hug you three real close..Love Loads,Elaine

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    1. Oh, I am so very thankful for our precious family times, also. There are no words to thank God enough for our family altar and for the ways He meets us there. My dear parents and I always faithfully met together, and it is a tradition Kevin and I have tried our utmost to carry on with dear Zach. I know you have that Godly heritage, too, and I am so thankful you have those memories. Wow, that is amazing that this site is the only one you are able to view, and it touches me deeply to know that you prayed that you would be able to keep seeing it. You mean so much to us, too, sweet friend. I am sorry you can't take orders online. I will surely keep praying for you. Keep encouraged, and never give up! One day, you will be home with Jesus and your dear parents, and all of the heartaches of this life will be forgotten. Love and appreciate you so much!

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  9. Wow--I think keeping the prayer commitments might be the most important to me. Without that, the others fall apart I suppose! Love all ten, though!

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  10. Allow for listening, I really like that. Sometimes we get in too much of a hurry. Also; Keep prayer commitments. Jesus says love one another and what better way is there to love than through prayer. Your blog is a blessing.

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    1. YES! The best way to love another is to pray for them. What a great thought! Thank you for your kind words, Connie. God bless you!

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  11. Hello Sweet Friend! Love all of these ways to have a more successful prayer time.

    I confess that of all the spiritual disciplines, I am probably weakest in my prayer life. Your words have spurred me on to be in the habit of prayer. I LOVE all the Scripture verses you shared that brought home further your words of wisdom.

    Thank you so much for spurring us all on to Godliness. I know the Lord is well pleased. :-)

    Sending you much love and gratitude.

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet friend. I know God is so well-pleased with you, too! You have prayed us through so many trials and tribulations and your continual faithfulness and friendship is such a dear blessing to me. Thank you for every time you have encouraged me and picked me up and given me the boost I needed to keep going. I send much love and gratitude back to you today!

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  12. I love your thoughtful list of ways for us to pray more effectively, my friend. All your ideas are so helpful. I do practice many of them already. I do pray in bed before I get up, and in the middle of the night. At night time I do have a dedicated spot that I have. I think having a journal to remember those we are keeping in our prayers, is helpful, and also your idea of a notebook for our wandering thoughts (I’m glad I’m not the only one!). One friend told me that when a person comes in her mind, she feels that’s a remembrance of prayer for them. I thought that that was a sweet idea.
    Thank you for taking the time to help us in our own prayer lives. You are a blessing!

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    1. Oh, I am so thankful they were a help to you, sweet friend! I know you are an ardent, faithful prayer warrior, and it is such a comfort to me that you include my family and me in those prayers! That is a very sweet idea that your friend had about the thoughts of people being remembrances of prayer. God bless you abundantly and keep his eye on you, your daughter, Connor, and all of your loved ones. I am keeping you in prayer.

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  13. Dearest Cheryl, what a timely list for me personally. I agree that first thing in the morning meet with God before all the distractions take us from Him. I have so many people on my prayer list that are battling cancer, addictions, marriage problems, etc, that I find it hard to keep up. A prayer journal is a necessity for me. Thank you for inspiring and using God’s Word that always convicts me. You are a blessing and treasure. Praying God’s blessings on you and your precious family!

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    1. Thank you ever so much, sweet friend! And, I can just imagine that your early morning prayers are enhanced and so enriched by your beautiful garden!! I think it would be such a wonderful place to meet the Lord and it always makes me think of the song, "I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses..." Thank you for every prayer you have prayed for us and for your sweet friendship and encouragement. God bless you today!

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  14. Hi Cheryl - I find myself praying myself awake, praying myself asleep, conversing with God throughout the day.

    Journaling is my most effective way for focused prayer. Without pen and paper, my mind easily wanders ...

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    1. Prayer is our only means of staying in close communion with our Lord. SO thankful He is always listening 24/7, and He never tires of hearing our cries! Continuing to pray for you and your family, Linda, and trusting Jesus to hold you close.

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  15. Thank you, this was great! One problem I have is that I'm homeschooling 4 kids and they are here ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. While they do respect my time with God, of course a 3 year old still interrupts at times, kids still have boo-boos and other needs in the midst of my prayer time...and it just becomes so hard to find most days. I used to pray in the early morning, but life kind of changed that for me right now. That is my goal again in the future. At night, I'm simply too tired. We have literally fallen asleep while praying. I'm not sure what the answer is to this, because it's all REAL and it can't be helped. Shorter bursts of prayer time? Prayer on the go, only? I'm not sure. I have been known to lock myself in the bathroom sometimes, ha, ha. The devil sure makes it hard, at times!

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    1. Yes, life certainly is busy, and it takes an intentional effort to keep in a continual state of prayer. One thing that has helped me through the years raising our own dear boy is that I consistently include him in those prayers. We still pray together and those are some of the most precious moments of my life. It has molded him onto an intercessory prayer warrior in his own right. Another thing that is so important that I did not address in this post, is I think sometimes we feel like we have to pray for hours at a time, and that is just not the case. A heartfelt, sincere prayer of the shortest length can move the heart of God and completely change the trajectory of our day. I don't think it is the length of prayer time that matters as much as it is the sincerity of the heart. May God bless you and grant you many special moments with Him and orchestrate ways for you to insert prayer times into your busy days!

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  16. Dear Cheryl,
    Oh, I hope I am able to comment here today! I have tried over the past month, and keep losing my comments somehow, so I hope this goes through. What a precious keepsake to find the article that was so encouraging to your Mom and to you throughout the years. I have been listening to some old recordings of David Wilkerson's sermons, and like you, it is amazing how many of the things he told us to be prayerful for during the end times have come about. Truly, it is more important than ever to keep our prayers focused to our Lord. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts. May I allow Him to have those first moments of my day, and then keep that dialog open throughout the day too. I am so thankful for all of your precious prayers, dear friend!

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    1. Dear Bettie! I am SO sorry. I think it must be something on my end. I feel so bad, as there have been different ones who tell me they cannot leave comments on my blog. I have NO idea how to fix it, and I am so thankful you persevered until you got your comment to go through today because it truly meant so much to me. Oh, I LOVE to listen to David Wilkerson! I am sure you have heard it, but one of my favorites by him is "A Call to Anguish." Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayYizi9TZAQ It stirs my inmost soul every time I listen to it, and I think it would do us all good to just sit down and hear the whole sermon from time to time. It is hard to hear that kind of preaching anymore, and that is why there is a dire lack of revival. I just published the full Chinese article on my next blog post, and I hope you enjoy it. We are surely living in the last days, and we need to pray so desperately. I am continuing to pray for you, dear friend. It breaks my heart to know how much you are suffering.

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  17. Dear Cheryl, I just bookmarked the sermon you mentioned in your last comment. I'm looking forward to listening to it. Thank you for your list, it is a helpful reminder. I especially liked how you pointed out that we must surround ourselves with believing friends and pray-ers, and that includes ourselves -- we must believe that God hears us and answers! My husband and I were just talking about this, and the fact that we can get weary in prayer when answers seem to take so long, and we mustn't doubt and be filled with unbelief. Satan would love for us to be discouraged. Having been out of town, I'm looking forward to catching up with your posts. They are wonderfully encouraging. xo Deborah

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