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3/18/09 11:24 A

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**Note: I'm back from my trip. Sorry for missing the past couple days of posting devotionals.**

(By Renee Swope of Proverbs 31 Ministries)


ďPray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and petitions.Ē ~Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)

My prayers used to feel kind of flat. I didn't know what to say so I stumbled over my words when I talked to God. I especially didn't know how to pray when I was struggling or when a friend was going through difficult times. I wanted to say the right things because I thought that if I prayed the right way, then God would listen and answer my prayers, the way I wanted Him to.

It took me a while, but I finally got up the courage to talk with a friend about my fears and struggles. She explained to me that prayer isnít about saying or asking the right things; itís about building a relationship with God by talking to Him, and listening. She taught me how to be still and listen for His still small voice in my spirit before I started praying. I found that if I waited for Him to lead the conversation, the Holy Spirit would guide my thoughts and my prayers.

Over time, I also learned the power of praying Godís words written in the Bible. I read books and heard sermons that taught me that when we pray God's Word, we pray God's will. I loved that idea. It gave me a sense of confidence and direction when I didnít know what to say in my prayers.

I also wanted my prayers to be filled with power. I wanted to believe that God was able and willing to accomplish what I was praying for. The Bible says that scripture is ďalive and activeĒ so I knew that when I prayed in agreement with Godís Words, I could expect those prayers to come alive in a situation and become active in the person's life that I was praying for.

Oftentimes when I pray now, verses that Iíve read in the Bible will come to mind. For instance, when I feel like my plans are spinning out of control, Jeremiah 29:11 will pop into my thoughts. On those days, Iíll pray:

ďLord, you know the plans you have for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me a future and a hope. You say that if I come to you and pray, you will listen and you will lead me. So, today I surrender my plans for Your plans. Please guide my decisions and thoughts to match Yours so that I can experience hope and not harm. Even though things arenít going so great today, I trust the plans You have for me.Ē

I love knowing there isnít a certain way I have to pray to get Godís attention. In fact, prayer has become one of my greatest passions and joys. I donít feel any pressure to say the right things anymore. Sometimes I just sit still and let Him whisper His promises into my thoughts and then I ask for their fulfillment with my prayers. Other times I simply pour out my thoughts to Him. And when I need a little direction, or I am not sure what to say, I open up the Bible to align my words with His Words Ė knowing that Iím also aligning my heart and desires with His will.

Lord, Iím so glad I donít have to say the right things to get Your attention. Thank You for Your Spirit that lives in me and leads me Ė in my daily activities and even in my prayers. I would love it if today Youíd give me a verse to pray so that I can see Your Word come alive in my circumstances and become active in my life. In Jesusí Name, Amen.


"When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, 'I used everything You gave me.'" ~Erma Bombeck
Leader: Christian Vegetarians & Vegans, & Sparks Raving M.A.D.
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