I’ve been a slow learner. Several things took my prayer to a new level: committing to a time, place, and…

Prayer list. You’d think it would get boring.  Sometimes it does. But it keeps prayer on track (I easily wander). Don’t always use it, especially if on a walky-talky. Ever leave your prayer time wondering if you covered what you were “supposed” to? Not anymore. And when a friend asks for prayer, I remember–as long as I add it to my list. My time feels more like a meeting. God and I are doing business. Later in the day is used for listening. Then God shares with me what is on His list! Computer is ready. I try to let the Spirit guide my thoughts. Speaking and singing in tongues is often a part of my prayer time, because it is prayer (I Corinthians 14:2).

P-R-A-Y, starting with…

PRAISE. We “enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise” (Ps. 100:4). Pressing issues may override this, as it often did for David (“Why?” or “Help!”), but the focus usually starts with God, as the Lord’s Prayer invites. A list of qualities helps to keep the flow. One may catch my attention for the full worship time.

WHO GOD IS: Loving, invisible, eternal, righteous, just, forgiving, generous, faithful, sovereign, good, purposeful, unchanging, accessible, helpful, powerful…

WHAT GOD DOES: forgive, justify, sanctify, glorify, seat us in heavenlies, rule and overrule, discipline, enable, motivate, restrain, encourage, comfort, support, exhort…

THANKSGIVING: trials, tests, tension, conflict, time, abiding, new earth, open doors, healing, answered prayer, music, home, ministry, friends…

When Isaiah saw the Lord “seated on a throne,” he heard angels singing, “Holy, holy, holy.” Then he said, “Woe is me.” When we picture God’s holiness, we are more prepared to confess our unholiness.

REPENT. As a young man I got tripped up by sin-consciousness, thinking the more I thought about sin the better off I was. Didn’t work. We are changed by what we believe and behold. If we believe that we are dead to sin, we are. If we gaze on Jesus, we are transformed (2 Cor. 3:18).   As has been said, “It is more about the Son than the sin.” However, we still need to confess. I read a list of sins. Any of which can sneak up on me. Confessing the whole list keeps me aware: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:12).

Wasted time, undisciplined, lack of passion, unloving, insensitive, uncaring, judgmental, critical, anxious, fearful, doubtful, self-conscious, overbearing, presumptuous, opinionated, stubborn, easily offended, unbelieving, careless, tolerant, selfish, unmerciful; neglectful in witness, in Bible reading… As I go over the list, conviction sometimes comes. Once confession is made, I am ready to…

ASK, the longest part of the agenda: for self, family, friends, people in my ministry, the sick, pastors, missionaries, unsaved, special needs. Each item has names or needs attached, some long, like friends with cancer. This part of the agenda changes most often (thank God for computers). Once I have presented these needs, I am prepared to…

YIELD my time, day, resources, body, energy, plans, mind, heart, attitudes, goals, decisions, happiness, sorrows, opinions, problems, prejudices, weaknesses, pain, struggles, hopes, dreams, fears, anxieties, regrets, failures, family, future, destiny to the Lord (Rom. 6:16-23). I want to think God’s thoughts, speak His words, and do His deeds. As I yield to God, my mind is being renewed.

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