A Time To Pray
by Joy Martin, Set Me Free Ministries Co-founder
I believe in the power prayer with every fiber of my being. And because of that, I pray on a daily basis. In fact, I pray every day, multiple times a day. I pray because in all of His wisdom and grace, God has given me the gift of prayer as a way to communicate directly with Him. And what a blessing that gift is!
I don’t have a memorized prayer that I recite on a regular basis, and I don’t have a set list of items that I pray for, although I do often find myself praying for the same things over and over again. No, I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants girl when it comes to prayer.
There are times that I find myself praying for an immediate need, regardless of where I happen to be or what I happen to be doing. Other times I set aside special time to pray—time when it can just be God and me, and there are no interruptions.
Sometimes when I pray, I focus on others. I pray for struggles that I know friends and family are facing. I pray for needs that those I love may have. I pray for health and safety. I pray for abundant blessings.
Sometimes when I pray, I focus on myself. I pray for wisdom and discernment. I pray for help with burdens that weigh me down. I pray for strength to do what I know I need to do but what I find so hard to accomplish. I pray for patience and for peace and for provision.
Sometimes when I pray, I focus on God. And when I do, I realize that I don’t direct my focus to Him nearly often enough in those times of peace and solitude. These are the times when my prayer turns to praise. I praise Him for all He has given us. I praise Him for His wisdom and His mercy and His grace. I praise Him for all He has done, all He is doing, and all He will do. And I thank Him. I thank Him for His Son and the gift of eternal life and the peace I have knowing I am His.
I don’t know what your prayer life looks like. I know that mine is far from perfect and that I have much room for improvement. I suppose we all have room for improvement in one area or another. After all, this journey that we call life is all about growing and learning and maturing, isn’t it? Well, your spiritual walk is really no different than life in general. It’s a journey.
When we bow our heads to pray, it’s easy to focus on all of the things we want to ask God for. And we should ask God for those things—all of them. But it’s also important to remember to take time in prayer to PRAISE God. After all, He is God, and He is worthy of our praise! Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
I'd like to encourage you to take time this week to spend some time in prayer doing nothing but praising God. I realize that this may not be how you were taught to pray, and it may even feel awkward at first. If that's where you find yourself right now, let me make a suggestion. Below is Psalm 100 in its entirety. It is appropriately labeled “A Psalm of Thanksgiving.” So start by reading this psalm. Read it prayerfully, focusing on the power of the words and the God they are directed toward. Maybe even read it out loud.
My hope is that once you get started spending time praising God, you simply won’t be able to stop!
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.