Biblical guide for the life of prayer in Restoration Church. This booklet was written as resource in 2013 for the congregation of Restoration Church.
LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR PLEASE READ FIRST
I would really love to share my personal story and experience with prayer to hopefully encourage you before you read the rest of the booklet. Prayer is weird. That’s what I used to think anyway. I mean God knows everything anyway, so what’s the point? Besides I only really pray when life stinks. That’s when I need it and need God. And so goes the average prayer life of a believing Christian, and non-believer for that matter. Lots of people pray, or think they do.
For me this idea of prayer goes way back. My father is an amazing man of prayer. He would pray all the time when I was growing up. Still does. As a kid it was nauseating how long it would go sometimes, especially at meals but that’s because I was a kid. Then every night before bed we were just falling out everywhere as he read and prayed for us. What I could not see then that I see now is that he was, and is, a man who so in love with Jesus that he, fully knowing that God was sovereign and in control, couldn’t keep himself away from the father’s ear. He loves being in the Father’s presence. To this day you cannot leave my dad’s house without being prayed for. I am now so incredibly thankful for seeing that modeled for me.
So that is in my blood and in my bones. I have always loved talking to the father and praying for people. Not because I have some cool thing to say. I’m a nerd. But I know the father and His word, which has the answers and it’s a joy to turn to it and/or point people to it. Beyond that I have recently started a more disciplined prayer time in my daily life. I met with a friend/fellow pastor who, in his 60’s has devoted the last 30 years to thoroughly researching and teaching on prayer and learning the intentions that the Bible has for us in it. The daily method I use for my prayers is from his book based on the Lord’s prayer. (I’ll be glad to share with you about it) I say all that to talk of one specific part of the daily method, the first part. Being still before God. It took me weeks to be able to sit in silence and not be thinking or fidgeting or trying to move into another area of prayer. To simply wait in the presence of the Lord was such a rare occurrence that I didn’t know what it was supposed to feel like.
However, when I finally, through the power of the Holy Spirit, was able to find that place and go there daily, it began and amazing shift in my heart that I want for everyone I know now. I began to pine and long after my savior like never before. I began to see what scripture said about being still: In Psalm 4:4- “Stand in awe and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still.” Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am your God...” Isaiah 30:18 – “...blessed are they that wait for Him.” Psalm 37:7 – “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” Throughout this booklet you’ll see little pauses for prayer. Here’s the First one. Don’t stress if it’s weird. Just try it for practice sake. Don’t worry about the spiritual implications just yet. In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul says that he disciplines himself in training as an athlete. This is a change and will take time. Learning to sit in silence before the Lord will be extremely beneficial in your prayer times and keep you from rushing. It will also help as you read the rest of the booklet. Take 5 or 6 minutes right now. See if you can be still for 1 minute and then continue reading. Simply wait before the Lord.
Scripture gives us great examples of prayer, especially from Jesus; getting away like He did, praying as he said to (Lord’s prayer), and praying like he did fervently. I have found a true joy in obedience to God’s word when commands us to pray for each other and bask in His presence. My hope is for you to find that prayer is not just some channel of communication that we open up. Rather, when we are consistently reading God’s word and listening for His voice in it, we will be tuned to it and we become an open conduit that is tethered to heaven. The conduit grows bigger the more that we commune with Him. !
Taking all of the man-made rules and pre-suppositions out of prayer removes the awkwardness. Prayer is knowing God and talking to Him. It’s just like other areas of life in that when we are truly in love with our savior, we will orient our lives around His gospel and His word instead of trying to fit it in here and there into our blueprints. A regenerated believer in Christ is one that has entirely submitted themselves: mind, body, heart, schedule, checkbook, spouse, family, and everything under the lordship of Jesus Christ and the Word of His father, the Bible. That means that we had better be reading it and talking to Him otherwise we will only spin our wheels in frustration while here on earth.
I’ve heard it said like this: “People don’t pray because they don’t pray.” Simply said but complicated. Maybe some advice from Nike would work here. Just do it. How will we obey and respond to the father’s voice if we don’t know what it sounds like. His word IS His voice and His Holy Spirit within us guides us in the day-to-day comprehension of how to live. So the best way to pray if you don’t know how to is to start! Just do it. Talk to Him like a loving father. Be honest. Be candid. For example, “Dear Lord, I don’t know what to say. So I’ll just tell you what I love about you. I am grateful that you sent Jesus to save me. I praise you for your love and grace. Thank you for being in control and loving even when I am not, etc.”
Let it take you from there. Now, of course, there are more structured ways that I’d be glad to share with you. But if it’s new or weird for you, start simple, but start! Know that God is “Waiting on high to be gracious to you.” (Isa. 30:18) ALWAYS REMEMBER TO START PRAYER IN PRAISE OF GOD, not in petition. This is not a rule. It just simply shows where your heart truly is when it comes to how you view God. Is He father, savior, Lord, or is he just some kind of cosmic genie or idea?
Lastly, I’ll say this: I cannot stress enough that when you begin to read the word and pray daily you will begin to see the beautiful design that God had for us in communing with Him through prayer. And remember that we live under grace so don’t checklist your daily time or feel guilty if you miss it. But pursue Him intently and fervently. He loves us so much that He sent His son to take our place on the cross. Let’s love Him well. You can’t love someone well if you don’t talk to them. Moving forward we have to decide that Jesus no longer just “fits in” to our lives, but rather HE IS OUR LIFE, our standard, our everything. ALL of life can and should be measured on, filtered through, and brought before Him.
Praying for you all and loving you daily as we pursue the Father and His kingdom come,
Pastor Wes Walters
Wes Walters is a Christian, husband, father of 2, pastor, preacher, writer, songwriter, poet, and lyricist originally from Alabama living and ministering in Buffalo, NY with Restoration Church.