Ministries morph and shift as the years go by. One which has taken a big part of my time recently has been responding to people who write the French ministry of Network 211, Reponses pour ta vie.com
We get all sorts of requests. Sometimes men will write, saying, “I want a woman.” Women might search for the perfect man. I’m tempted to write back to inform them that God doesn’t make perfect men anymore. My wife got the last one.
Most of the emails touch my heart. Here is a small sample of what I’ve been answering lately.
From France, “I would like Jesus to be with me. I only have bad things happening to me at the moment and I would like someone to be with me. I need to pray and someone to hear it. I am baptized but I have never participated in a mass, I would like to believe in God.
Also from France, “Hello, I am baptized and I never really asked myself questions about religion, but I want to know more, and why not? Practice it 🙂
A lady from Ukraine chimes in, “ I feel far from God. I want to be forgiven. I have sinned a lot. I also want to repent. I don’t know how. Help me, please.”
This from Congo, “For some time I have had a strong desire to be in a personal relationship with Jesus, to experience happiness with Him. But I haven’t succeeded yet. Through you, I hope to discover a very sure way (orientations).
From France—“Hello, I need to regain my intimacy with God. I let a lot of things destroy everything I started with God. Today I just want to come back to him and have that peace of heart that I had before times. I need help!”
These are a joy to answer.
One question I get over and over concerns prayer. “How do you pray? Can you send me some model prayers? Etc.” Honestly, I struggle like many others in my prayer life. I pray daily, but I often feel that I’m a man who prays more than a man of prayer.
Sometimes, I feel like I need to get my time in so God won’t be mad. And it’s tough. Just being honest. Happily, it’s not always like that. Occasionally it’s like heaven on earth. And frankly, the results are often marvelous even if I didn’t have overwhelming emotions when I prayed.
Recently, I’ve found a prayer rhythm that really builds me up. I thought I would share it with you.
I usually start with singing. I’ve got an old songbook I use, but I’ve also made my own songbook. I go online and find the lyrics of worship songs that really speak to me at the moment. I copy them into a file on my phone. So I might sing to the Lord, “Shout To the Lord,” or “I Speak Jesus,” or “Waymaker,” or whatever song helps me lift my praise to God that morning.
It doesn’t matter if my voice is angel-like or crow-like. As it passes into heavenly places, God’s Spirit changes it into audio-gold to the ears of God.
I also use the Psalms and read from one of them as a prayer to the Lord.
I’ve got a journal where I often write a prayer to the Lord expressing my praise, my needs or the cry of my heart.
And usually, during my praying, I’ll raise my voice and pray in the Spirit for a while. He knows how to praise God and He knows what to pray for when I don’t.
I still “freewheel,” praying extemporaneously, simply telling God what my needs are and asking Him to respond. Yes, and sometimes I ask for the same things over and over and over. I pester the Lord like the little widow pestered the uncaring judge.
The Amplified translation of Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.”
This version includes a note that says, “Here the use of Greek present imperatives (asking, seeking, knocking; vv 7, 8) emphasizes persistent, constant prayer.”
Asking more than once isn’t unbelief. It’s the prayer of someone who is sure that he or she is asking at the right place and they insist because they know the source of the answer is in God.
Kind of like your kids when they want something.
You may have your own prayer secrets or fruitful habits. If you want to share, I’d love for you to write and tell me your keys to fulfilling prayer.