Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Evaluating Our Prayer Lives

MATTHEW 5:1-11 – Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”



THEME OF THE DAY:  EVALUATING OUR PRAYER LIVES.  So, let’s start today with a quick inventory on the type of petitions we offer to the Lord in our prayer lives. Take out a piece of paper or make it a mental exercise and make two columns.  Label one “spiritual petitions” and the other “physical.”  Then go back, say for the past week, look in our prayer journals, lists or by memory, and put the specific petitions in their respective columns.  What does it look like? Heavily weighted toward the physical?  Balanced?  Slanted more to the spiritual?  And to make this more revealing, set aside time to read Jesus’ prayer in John 17 and the Apostle Paul’s prayers in Ephesians 1:15-19; 3:14-19; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-10, and compare our prayer lives to theirs.


Arguably one of the best definitions of prayer was penned by John Bunyan, the 17th century giant of the faith and author of the familiar Christian classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress. He wrote, “Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit, for such things as God hath promised, or according to the Word, for the good of the church, with submission, in faith, to the will of God.”  That is really good and should help us shape our prayer lives, but let’s consider its application from today’s scripture.


Have we ever prayed for the Lord to make the Beatitudes more and more reality in our hearts and lives?  Take a look at them in light of Bunyan’s definition of prayer. They are heart-level sincere, certainly affectionate, contain promises, and are for the good of the church for they produce good Christians.  Imagine if we started praying for the Holy Spirit to develop these deeper in our lives.  What impact in our homes, churches and communities to be more humble, meek, holy, contented, merciful, and a people willing to suffer for the cause of Christ?  What influence in our families we would have – physical and spiritual! Hmmm . . . such answered prayers might lead to revival.


PRAYER: “Father, help me to develop a prayer life that is more oriented in the spiritual and not the physical.”
QUOTE: “Do a study of the prayers in the Bible, then compare ourselves to them.  We may need to make some changes.”


Because of Him,
Pastor Jim