HIGHLAND PARK BAPTIST CHURCH

 

CONSIDERING PRAYER

ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL TOOLS IN THE CHRISTIAN’S WAR CHEST IS THAT OF PRAYER. ALTHOUGH TRUE, MANY CHILDREN OF GOD HAVE PROBLEMS IN KNOWING HOW TO PRAY. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY BOOKS, SERMONS, LESSONS, AND STATEMENTS MADE ABOUT PRAYER, BUT NONE REALLY CAN TOP WHAT JESUS TOLD HIS DISCIPLES IN LUKE 11:1-4 WHEN THEY ASKED HIM, "LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY." THIS HAS OFTEN BEEN CALLED THE "LORD’S PRAYER". HOWEVER, IT IS A MODEL PRAYER. THE LORD’S PRAYER IS ACTUALLY THE ONE HE PRAYED IN JOHN 17:1-26. IF WE FOLLOW THE MODEL JESUS GAVE US, WE WILL PRAY FOR THOSE WE ARE TO PRAY FOR AND IN THE PROPER ORDER. HOWEVER, JESUS DIDN’T INTEND THAT WE JUST MOUTH THE WORDS, BUT THAT WE PRAY FROM THE HEART. WHILE MOUTHING THE WORDS WILL HIT THE POINTS WE NEED TO COVER, I FIND IT MUCH MORE PERSONAL TO FOLLOW WHAT HAS BEEN CALLED THE "FIVE FINGER PRAYER GUIDE".

AS YOU HOLD UP YOUR HAND AND SPREAD YOUR FINGERS AND THUMB, THE FIVE DIGITS WILL REMIND YOU OF THE AREAS OF NEED IN PRAYER AND THE PROPER ORDER:

THE THUMB, BEING CLOSEST TO YOU, REMINDS YOU TO PRAY FOR THOSE CLOSEST TO YOU - FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND CHURCH MEMBERS.

THE INDEX FINGER IS THE FINGER USED TO POINT, WHICH REMINDS YOU OF TEACHERS. WE ARE TO PRAY FOR OUR TEACHERS, PREACHERS, AND ALL INSTRUCTORS - ALL THOSE WHO ARE IN INSTRUCTION POSITIONS.

THE MIDDLE FINGER IS THE LARGEST AND REMINDS US TO PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN POWER OVER US AND RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR SAFETY. THIS WOULD INCLUDE OUR PRESIDENT, GOVERNOR, ALL ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS IN GOVERNMENT, MILITARY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, FIRE FIGHTERS, ETC.

THE RING FINGER IS CONSIDERED THE WEAKEST FINGER AND REMINDS US TO PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE WEAK AND SICK AMONG US.

THE SMALL FINGER IS THE LEAST IMPORTANT AND REMINDS US OF OUR OWN IMPORTANCE. WE DO NEED TO PRAY FOR OURSELVES.

ALL THOSE WE ARE TO PRAY FOR WILL BE FOUND IN ONE OF THESE CATEGORIES. IF WE PRAY DAILY FOR EACH OF THOSE, WE WON’T LEAVE ANYONE OUT.

PRAYER SHOULD NOT BE A SECOND-THOUGHT ACTION, BUT A SINCERE ACT WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT WE ARE TALKING TO OUR HEAVENLY FATHER WHO LOVES US SO MUCH THAT HE WANTS THE VERY BEST FOR US. BY THE WAY, OUR VERY BEST IS NOT THE SAME AS "ALL OUR LITTLE OLD HEART DESIRES." OFTEN WHAT WE DESIRE IS NOT FOR OUR BEST.

IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, I ALSO PRESENT THE FOLLOWING "MODEL PRAYER" THAT SOMEONE DEVELOPED. IF YOU HAVE PRAYED IN ACCORD TO THE ABOVE, WHEN YOU COME TO THE SMALL FINGER AND PRAY FOR YOURSELF, THE FOLLOWING MODEL PRAYER WILL COVER ALL OUR PERSONAL NEEDS.

 

"A MODEL PRAYER "

"Dear Lord, I thank You for this day. I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning. I'm blessed because You are a forgiving God.

You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said, or thought that was not pleasing to You. I ask now for Your forgiveness. Please keep me safe from all danger and harm. Help me start each day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Let me make the best of every day to clear my mind so I can hear from You. Please broaden my mind so that I can accept, as reality, all things, even those with which I disagree.

Let me not whine and whimper about things over which I have no control. Let me continue to see sin through Your eyes and acknowledge it as evil. And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive Your forgiveness.

And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus' example - to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. Help me know it's the best response when I'm pushed beyond my limits. I know that when I can't pray, You listen to my heart. Continue to use me to do Your will. Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. I pray for those who are lost and can't find their way. I pray for those who are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who don't know You intimately. I pray for those who don't believe, but I thank You that I believe.

I believe that You change people and that You change things. I pray for all my brothers and sisters in Christ. For each one and every family member in their households. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes and thank You for those who are out of debt and all their needs are met. I pray that every eye that sees these words knows that there is no problem, circumstance, or situation that is greater than God. Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight. I pray that these words be received into the heart of everyone who hears or sees them and that every mouth will confess them willingly.

This is my prayer. In Jesus name.

Amen

Jesse R. Spurlock

Pastor Emeritus

Highland Park Baptist Church

Midwest City, OK 

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