6 Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught,overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6
The whole idea of discipleship is to help people be rooted, built up and established in their faith-walk with Christ. One of the ways that my own “roots” are weak is in the area of prayer. I don’t know if it’s just the idea of having lists or my own need for a paradigm shift that causes me to stumble along? I am seeking to become more rooted, built up and established in prayer as I move into new areas of life and certainly as I move into the summer, which is filled with busyness and travel.
For years I have used many different “forms” of prayer from A.C.T.S. (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) to a simple rambling, conversational format. As I prepare for a deeper more meaningful prayer life, this is a new format I am going to employ as I journey forward. I hope it will benefit and inspire you and your prayer life as you become rooted, built up and established in your faith.
The idea behind this format is to provide directional guidelines that will ensure your prayers are not simply selfish or ill-motivated. Even though the words are “alliterated”, the concepts are of what real prayer consists. Obviously this “form” is not for everyone and your prayer time may be sufficient already. But if you are struggling for direction with how to pray or keeping track of your prayers, this could provide an easier way to do that.
Focus on God first. (Matthew 6:33) Although prayer is a conversation and conversations can bounce from topic to topic, seek to root your desires, will and attention toward God’s glory and His Kingdom. Focus on the person of Christ and the God who has made you and the plan He has for you. Fix your eyes on Jesus and meditate on His power, ability and presence with you right now. Don’t be distracted by noise, feelings or thoughts. Consider to whom you are speaking and seeking and suddenly things will become more clear and in the right perspective. In establishing a prayer journal , write out words and thoughts that will help you focus your attention on Christ. Consider words of praise and of God’s character as you focus your heart and mind. Bring yourself before Him and allow Him to invade your thoughts. (Luke 11:2, James 4:8 Romans 8:26-27).
Establishing a heart of forgiveness and humility is essential for every disciple. Even though you have failed and sinned against others or God, forgiveness is available to all who ask. You have to deal with sin and shortcomings honestly and openly in prayer. When you pray, ask God to revel hidden areas that you can confess along with the commonly known blunders of your life. Daily confession keeps the communication open between you, God and others (1 John 1:9, Mark 11:25, Hebrews 12:15).
Furthermore deal with any root of un-forgiveness and bitterness that may be present. Uproot those things and deepen your roots in forgiveness. The more you confess your sin, the more you will be forgiven. The one whom much is forgiven loves the most. (Luke 7:47-48).
Pray for your family and people you love. Lifting them up to the Father and praying God’s blessing on their lives is part of our role as a family member. Pray for the unity of your family and for God to use you all collectively in His plan and purpose. Celebrate one another and encourage one another.
Family roots are deep and what a blessing when they are deepened in spiritual ways!
Build each other up with verses, texts, emails, and notes. Pray for your family with a motto or family verse. (1 Samuel 1:26-28, 2 Timothy 1:2-4, 1 Peter 3:7)
Friends don’t let friends or even their enemies go to Hell.
Pray for your friends and ask God to be working in their lives. Through prayer you can impact the whole world and no one can stop you. You can literally change the world through prayer and make an impact in eternity if you will lift up your friends and pray God’s blessings in their lives. Also pray for your enemies and the people you don’t like or the people who have hurt you. Pray God’s blessing on their lives and for strength to love and forgive. Seek ways to reconciled with those whom you do not get along. Pray for peace and pray that you can be a peacemaker.
It is impossible to dislike people that you continually pray for.
God will change your heart if you will begin to pray for them. (Psalm 35:12-14, 1 Timothy 2:1-3, Matthew 5:44)
Pray for the health and welfare of those who are sick and needy. Pray for your own health and growth physically. Take care of your “temple” and ask God to show you things you need to work on physically as well as spiritually. Go for a prayer walk, or jog. Don’t let your prayers be simple words, put feet to those prayers and watch what God will do! Exercise being still and exercise being active in your faith.
God will bless you physically when you actively worship
(Psalm 86:1, Psalm 102:1-11, James 5:13-16, 3 John 1:1-3).
Be prayerful about your own financial status. God will call some people to suffer while others will be given much responsibility over thousands or even millions of dollars. God chooses whom he blesses with what.Regardless of what we make, this money is meant to be used for His purposes and for our good and the good of others. When you pray for your finances consider do you want more to simply have more or so you can give more?
There’s nothing wrong with being rich but God wants to use your financial blessings to bring blessings to others.
It takes money and lots of it to live, serve and build the Kingdom of God. So as you pray for your own financial needs, keep in mind that what God gives you He desires for you to honor Him with. Pray for ways you can contribute to His work. Pray for people you can invest in with your cash. Pray that God would allow you to be someone who can funnel His blessings to others. (Luke 6:38, 2 Corinthians 9)
As you pray, ask God to increase your faith. God may do this by answering a prayer positively or negatively. The issue will be that your faith grows.
Someone once said: “A faith that can’t be tested, can’t be trusted”.
God may allow hardships and difficult times to arise so that your faith will deepen! Pray that your mustard seed of faith will grow and deepen in the rich soil of God. Pray that you will have more and more faith and understand that the way faith is grown is through trials, tests, and tribulation. A deep and established faith will be secure in God and not swayed by life’s circumstances.Pray that your roots go deep. Keep a record of tests and trials that come and lessons of God’s faithfulness to deliver you through them. (Mark 9:24, James 1:2-3,1 John 5:13-15, Luke 22:32)
Your prayer time should lead you to Christ, His cross and your own cross. Dietrich Bonhoffer said “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” Our prayer time is meant to bring us to the place where our wants, hopes, dreams, desires, all align with God. When we pray we are to come in surrender to the Lord’s will and seek out how we can become better representatives and servants of God. Following Jesus means that He is the Leader. We do as He does, live as He lives within us. Apart from Him we can do nothing, so root yourself and in Him and stay connected to Him and His cross. (John 15:1-25, Ephesians 1:16-18, Luke 10:2) Write out commitments you are making. comment on thoughts and verses that seem to permeate your thoughts as you consider Christ who humbly followed His Father’s Will.
Pray for your future. Don’t neglect that fact that Christ does have a plan and future for you. He does have a mission. Pray about it. Seek Him about what His desires are for you. Pray for eyes to see the path He wants you to walk. Prayerfully consider goals, dreams and decisions as you move forward in life. Make choices that will reflect your faith and the way Christ has built you and rooted you in Him. Record verses that God uses to verify and confirm His call on your life. Don’t make decisions that are based on your feelings alone. Make them based on the promises, principles and in the presence of God. (Jeremiah 29:11, 2 Thessalonians 1:11)
Bring all of your questions, doubts, fears, anxieties, and worries to Him. Christ invites us to bring our burdens to him and to leave them there. Pray about your difficulties and make note of them. Ask God to show you verses or to send encouragement through other people. Seek God in understanding where your fear is based. What root is causing this fear? Root yourself in the Truth of God’s word. As you pray, reflect upon the Truth of what God says and know that no weapon, power, or anything that comes against you is more powerful than your Father. Trust in Him. Rely on Him. Step out into His arms…He will catch you. (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7). Talk about your fears with others and allow God to establish and deepen His loving support through others.Be sensitive to others who may not be able to discuss their fears. Be open about your past and let God strengthen others through you. you could be an answer to someone’s prayers!
In closing, ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit. We have not because we ask not. Many of us are not filled with God’s Spirit, power or wisdom because we have not asked for it! (James 1:5, James 4:1-3) Ask God to give you His heart for the nations, compassion for His people, and desires that match His. Be dependent on God and confident that He will invade your heart and lead you as you submit to Him. Remember that apart from Him you can do nothing but with Him anything is possible! (Ephesians 5:18, Colossians 1:9 Ephesians 3:14-21).Listen attentively for God’s voice who speaks to us in and through prayer. Move accordingly and let God establish, build up and deeply root you in full confidence of who He is and what He wants to do through you.
Let prayer move you deeper, wider, higher, longer than you ever imagined!
George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as student minister at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA.