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Come Alive 99

c/o St. Francis Chapel, Makerere University • P.O. Box 7062, kampala • Uganda • /see/charmin/CM06627

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ABOUT COME ALIVE 99

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TALKING WITH GOD

  "Prayer is friendship with God," Dr. James M. Houston once said. I think he made an important observation, for prayer is simply two friends talking together.

Prayer is a conversation between God and us, His children. It isn't a one-sided, one-track monologue of petitions, but a well-rounded dialogue. God speaks to us through His Word and the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. We respond to God with adoration, confession, petition, intercession, and thanksgiving.

Without these five elements our prayers become lopsided and disproportional. Let's briefly consider these five aspects of prayer.

  The first element of true prayer is adoration. As we enter God's presence in prayer, we begin by expressing our worship and reverence for Him. The Talmud gives this dictum: "Man should always first utter praises, and then pray." We find the praises of our Lord from past generations recorded throughout the pages of Scripture.

Confession follows our praise. When Isaiah saw the Lord in His glory, he cried, "Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5). We cannot praise the God of holiness without developing a deep sense of our own uncleanness. The Bible also teaches us that God graciously forgives us when we confess our sins (1 John 1:9).

Only after adoration and confession do we offer our petitions to the Father. True prayer consists of the petitions of one who acknowledges his utter need, and the provisions of One who demonstrates His utter goodness.

Jesus gives us this promise: "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete" (John 16:24). He encourages us to ask the Father for what we need.

As we pray we should also include intercession for other people. What a ministry we can have at the throne of grace on behalf of others!

The prophet Samuel told the people of Israel, "Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you" (1 Samuel 12:23). Intercession for others is an important spiritual responsibility we must not neglect as Christians.

Thanksgiving should naturally fill the remainder of our conversation with God. Listen to these exhortations from the apostle Paul: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). We experience God's joy when we talk with Him in prayer and thank Him for His answers.

The great evangelist Charles Finney noted, "When God wants to bless His people, He first moves them to pray." He moves them to converse back and forth in a well-rounded dialogue.

Has God moved you to pray? Let's stop and talk with Him right now.

To Ponder

What is on your heart? About what do you want to talk with God?

Do you feel moved to adore Him? Do you have something to confess?

Do you have a specific petition?

To Pursue

Take time, right now, to pray to your heavenly Father. Be sure to

record any new petitions or matters of intercession in your prayer

notebook.

Copyright (c) 2002 Luis Palau, P.O. Box 1173, Portland,

Oregon 97207, USA, (503) 614-1500, habits@palau.org .

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