A heart-felt devotion on prayer…

When asked to do a devotion last week for PWOC…my passion for the past two years came to mind.  Prayer has been the center of my life here at Fort Irwin.  God ignited a passion for prayer that last year in Korea and even so much more here.  Some people have asked for my notes for the devotion…but as my handwriting can be a bit hard to read 🙂 …here is what He put on my heart to say to a group of precious, beautiful women last Tuesday morning:

Prayer Devotion: Fort Irwin PWOC 23 October 2012:

Opening Prayer: May the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer, and may our ears and the eyes of our hearts be open to what you have to say to us this morning.

Hi, my name is Dawn and I am so blessed to be able to talk to you about the wonders of prayer today.

Have you ever had to entrust so much to the Lord before?  This is what I love about prayer…prayer begins where my strength ends.  You see, God prepared me for this devotion—the last few days have been FULL of prayer, because I had to entrust so very much to the Lord.  My strength had ended more than a week ago.  I was tired and we had 2 weeks ahead that were going to be very busy…and I don’t like busy!  I get very anxious when there are lots of things on my “to-do list.”  So, I began to pray and entrust more and more to the Lord.  God continually puts me in this place as I forget to pray or to trust Him in different areas of my life.

Some of the things I LOVE about prayer are:

1) God is so merciful to hear my prayers AND answer them!  That never ceases to amaze me.

2) I learn so much about God through watching and remembering how He answers my prayers.

3) I have to be in a humble and contrite position before the Lord, with a pure heart, praying God’s truth and promises, crying out to Him—for Him to answer my prayers.  So, this ensures my heart in the right place…and I love that.  Truly, the peace of God does guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus as my heart is cleansed of sin and in that proper position of dependence on the Lord.

Here are some Scripture verses that have been very precious and meaningful to me in teaching me how to pray:

1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Be joyful always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  –This verse showed me that God wants prayer to be a venue for an intimate relationship with me, where I talk to him all throughout my day, be still and attentive to listen to His answers, and learn to depend on Him.

Psalm 145: 18: “God is near to all who call on Him—to all who call to Him in truth.” –This verse taught me to pray WITH God’s Word.  Using God’s Word, I can call on His promises, all to which He is always faithful, and that I should pray with a pure heart, knowing God knows all my thoughts and motives, needs and desires before I even ask…before the beginning of time.  I began to see that God wants me to have a fervent prayer life with Him first, in one-on-one prayer with my maker in fellowship and adoration of Him (The Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication format helped me know how to pray to a most Holy God and to prepare my heart to be in the right position to pray with purity), but to also feel COMFORTABLE to pray to Him all the time in any way I knew how…even if it was just…“Help me right now God.”  Out of the overflow of my prayer life alone with God, I was able to pray more effectively for and with other people.

Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” –This verse has been the most precious verse to me!  It has shown me that whenever I feel my heart become burdened , saddened, worried, upset, or any other emotion I might be experiencing, that is my cue to PRAY…and God will give me His incredible gift of peace that comes through surrendering my burdens to Him.  God’s peace will surely GUARD my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  It is His PEACE that keeps my thoughts captive to Jesus.

Garden of Gesthemane: Jesus says, “Pray, so you won’t be tempted.” –Many times I have woken up in the middle of the night with no children to take care of, and with my sweet husband soundly sleeping next to me.  I felt the Lord tell me to pray…I have learned the importance of these prayers…whether in the middle of the night or during the day…when God tells me to pray, so that I won’t be tempted.  And those days that follow those times of prayer always turn out to be days of testing and trials for me…I have learned to pray hard as I feel my heart begin to be led astray.  I confess my sin right away and pray for protection…and God’s peace returns to my weary heart.

In the past 3 years, God has exploded in my heart the desire to pray.  God has been putting me often in the place of total need and total surrender to Him…total dependence… it was in this place that I began to daily read through the Bible several times through about 3 years ago and to PRAY with all my heart.  I saw amazing answers to my prayers and this was a faith-building time and a prayer-building time for me.  Some powerful answers to prayers I recall from that time in Korea: I witnessed a friend’s baby healed in utero as we prayed together, another friend conceived as we prayed together, God was merciful to save my baby in utero over and over again as more and more things kept popping up when I was pregnant with my little girl and even after her birth…really her first 18 months of life were really challenging for me too for many reasons…I began to BELIEVE.  I began to have FAITH.  It made me want to pray more and more…for our family, other people, and to pray WITH others.

When I came here to Fort Irwin, my faith began to be TESTED.  In so many ways….several people on my prayer list were still suffering with major sicknesses for months and some years after much prayer…I began to struggle in my prayer life…and that is when God showed me MORE of who HE is.  And He deepened my faith and relationship with Him during this time.

God also answered other prayers in more transparent ways here at Fort Irwin.  God helped me so much in my marriage.  He gave me more of a quiet heart, so He could speak more powerfully in my marriage and He taught me to pray much more over my husband and our relationship and his relationship with the Lord.  I saw amazing answers to these prayers as I had never trusted God in this way before.  My husband’s faith grew so much; he was baptized and began to have a hunger and thirst for God’s Word and for a deeper relationship with Jesus.  I also saw many changes in our relationship too.  In parenting, God taught me to pray over my son and our relationship and these prayers were powerfully answered too, as I learned to turn to God as my ever-present counselor in parenting, and my deliverer for my sin and my son’s, as we clashed a LOT.  God gave me an unexpected moment and day of unsurpassing joy as I witnessed my son come to know Jesus here.  I began to entrust the Lord with my dreams and desires for the future, praying for a purity of purpose for His Kingdom and to surrender my dreams, LOVE Him, and FOLLOW Him, regardless of which direction my life might go.  I began to love and know Jesus in more and MORE ways and THIS is my greatest treasure here in the desert.

Some of many things you can pray for that are directed  in God’s Word:

-Pastors and Leaders

-Country

-Salvation of those people God has put in your life (Oikos)

-Israel

-Future

-Past

-Present

-Obedience

-Deliverance

-God’s help (love, comfort, healing, etc) to the people He’s placed in your life.

-Relationships in your life to grow and strengthen and have God’s blessing and protection

-God’s Will in your Daily Life

-God’s calling for you/Your family

-God’s Protection

-God to send Workers in the Harvest Field

***As you read the Word…and go about your daily life, the Holy Spirit will prompt you with whom or for what He wants you to pray.

**Anything you care about, God cares about, so don’t hesitate to take your concerns to Him, no matter what it is.  And remember to watch and listen to see how He answers your prayers (and keep track if you can!), so you can learn more and more about HIM.

Stormie O’martian also has some wonderful books on how to pray for different relationships in your life as a wife, mom, and more.  There is a wealth of information out there to teach us more about prayer!

Closing Prayer:

Lord Jesus, We ask you to ignite in our hearts a passion for prayer, to humble our hearts in the consistent, continual need for dependence on you throughout each and every day.  Help us not just remember to pray, but for prayer to be the centerpiece of our lives from which everything else flows.  Father, we humbly ask you to increase our faith through your answers to our prayers and to supernaturally enable us to surrender all our burdens before your throne.  Lord Jesus, we ask you to open our eyes and reveal to us, out of your great love and mercy, more and more of who you are.  In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

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