John Wesley was convinced of the great importance of prayer by saying:
“God does everything by prayer, and nothing without it!”
This statement was Wesley’s summation of a verse in Philippians chapter 4:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)
For me, Wesley’s statement is very motivating! I am more eager to pray and make my requests known to God – in everything!
There is a wonderful promise for those who pray about everything, in the very next verse — the peace of God! (Phil 4:7)
Prayer is such an important part of our walk with Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God]! The great people of God have always been foremost, people of prayer!
The results of prayer can be astonishing! Scripture is full of convincing stories about the effectiveness of prayer! When we pray (talking with/interceding with Yahuwah), something good always happens! The Scriptures tell us: praying, drawing near to our Abba Father, is good for us!! (Psalms 73:28)
But, a regular, private prayer time? That is the question.
I talk with Abba Father throughout the day. But having a time of personal, private worship/prayer time, entering into His Presence behind ‘the veil’ — talking with Father about bigger, greater things than just ‘prayers of the moment’ — well, that is the struggle. It seems to be such a battle.
Persevering in Prayer
I began to study the lives of “men of prayer.” I looked for any sort of tip that might help me to pray more regularly.
In my searching, I began to gather tips that were helpful for me. I began to summarize my notes. I complied my notes into three central understandings; in other words, three prayer tips that helped me.
Stay with me as I explain these tips, for they are worthy for inspiring perseverance in our prayers.
First Prayer Tip
1. This may sound obvious, but … Find a Way to Remind Yourself Frequently of the Great Importance of Prayer.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
In the above verse, Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ] spoke these words to teach us that Father’s priority for us is to seek first the truth and the ways of His Kingdom. Prayer is among Father’s highest priority for us! It is through Yahuwah’s Word, and through prayer, that we seek His presence, guidance, and ways.
Time for prayer is essential! Prayer needs to be a major priority in our schedule. Just as the widow was persistent with her “continual coming!” (Luke 18:1-8), we also must be persistent in maintaining a secret prayer time.
Making adjustments to our schedule in order to have an uninterrupted time for private prayer is the first step for remembering to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God. Activities need to be down-sized so we are not encumbered with too much busy-ness. By simplifying our activities, we will have the time available to schedule secret prayer time, as well as being more sensitive and aware of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
I know this sounds elementary, but the best thing I do to remind myself of the great importance of prayer is post ‘prayer’ phrases on my walls (and on my computer).
I made little hand-made posters to put on my walls so that I will see these reminders frequently. (I move them around from time to time to refresh my memory.) These are verses and sayings that help me remember to pray!
Below are just a few of my favorites. Perhaps you might copy them for yourself as reminders.
1) The earnest prayer of a righteous one accomplishes much! – James 5:16 (This encourages me.)
2) Ask and you shall receive! – Matthew 7:7 (This inspires me.)
3) An easy-going, non-self-denying life will never be one of power. – Hudson Taylor (This provokes me.)
4) Learn to move men, through God alone. – Hudson Taylor (This challenges me!)
5) To have your faith strengthened, you must give God time to work! – George Mueller (This inspires me to persevere, and NOT GIVE UP!)
6) If you can’t pray a door open, don’t pry it open. – Lyell Rader (This warns me that prayer is much better than manipulation! Additonally, this warns me that my motives for prayer may need adjusting or purifying.)
7) God does everything by prayer and nothing without it. – John Wesley’s comment on Philippians 4:6 (This motivates me!)
8) He who asks for what he does not sincerely desire, is mistaken in thinking that he prays. – Francois Fénelon (This is key: I must be sincere!)
9) In ALL your ways acknowledge Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God], and He shall direct your paths. – Proverbs 3:6 (This helps me stay focused on Father and HIS plans for me.)
- For more Prayer Quotes, see Prayer Quotes
One of my frequent prayers also is: “Father, help me to pray everyday — even if just for a little while!”
Second Prayer Tip
2. Recognize that … The Devil Will Oppose You If You Are Determined to Pray.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1Peter 5:8,9)
The devil’s tricks are as the roaring of a lion. Roaring can get loud and annoying, but that’s all it can do. It is the devil’s tricks that seem to be one of the greatest obstacles to prayer. Therefore I must prepare myself mentally to persevere through the myriad of distractions (internal and external) that can bombard me during my prayer times.
Surprising as this may sound, just remembering that the enemy of our souls works incessantly to defeat my prayer times, helps me to be more determined! This knowledge makes me more resolved, watchful, and vigilant to resist the enemy’s barriers!
It has been helpful for me to have a list of Scripture verses in front of me so that I can proclaim out loud Yahuwah’s Word during my personal times of prayer and worship. ‘Storing Up’ Father’s Word in order to proclaim His truth and promises is a key element of my prayer times.
Our verbal, speaking-out-loud prayers, is also very necessary and essential to times of prayer. As we saw in He Inclined His Ear Unto Me, verbal prayers are much more effective and pleasing to Abba Father.
But it is a struggle at times to even voice our prayers because the devil seeks with stubborn annoyance to silence our prayers. Therefore remembering to be ‘on-the-look-out’ during prayer, resisting the enemy’s tactics, is very necessary for me. I persevere and press on until I have gained the freedom to pray freely and according to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Here are two helpful quotes by others who have walked in the path of prayer:
“If you are inclined to pray, the devil will not leave you alone. He will disturb you, tantalize you, block you, and will surely find some hindrances–big or little, or both. We sometimes fail because we are ignorant of his devices! The devil does not mind our half-hearted prayer. What he minds and opposes steadily, is … the prayer that prays on persistently until it is prayed through, and assured of the answer.” — from Mary W. Booth
“Do we realize that there is nothing the devil dreads so much as prayer? His great concern is to keep us from praying! He loves to see us ‘up to our eyeballs’ in work and activities – provided we do not pray! He does not fear because we are eager and earnest Bible students – provided we are little in prayer! Someone has wisely said, ‘Satan laughs at our toiling, he mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray!'” — from The Kneeling Christian
Third Prayer Tip
3. Do Not Base Your Prayer Times On How You Feel At The Moment.
This is very difficult for me — to not depend upon feelings. If we base our prayer times on our feelings, and pray only when we ‘feel like’ praying, then we are letting our feelings dictate and determine our walk of faith.
The Word of Yahuwah — not our feelings — is our authority. Yahuwah has told us to pray! He wants us to spend time with Him everyday. He wants us to talk to Him about everything. Those are The Facts!
Consider these five facts:
1) But thou, when thou prayest, … pray to thy Father which is in secret. (Matthew 6:6) – Fact: It is Father’s will for us to pray.
2) Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8) – Fact: Prayer brings us closer to Yahuwah.
3) But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. (Jude 1:20) – Fact: Prayer builds us up and strengthens our faith.
4) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1) – Fact: Prayer allows us to present ourselves to Yahuwah which is pleasing unto Him and is part of our worship of Him.
5) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6) – Fact: Prayer is to be intimate, as this verse teaches: we are to pray about every thing, every detail, every concern, no matter how small.
So ask Father’s help to not depend on feelings to determine our prayer times. It’s best to schedule a prayer time, and stick with the schedule. As we saw in Spend Time With The Master, we must make a conscious, determined decision to put aside the distractions, and spend time with Yahuwah, or we will wither spiritually. May Father help us to remember this!
Some will say that prayer must be spontaneous to be of value. To a certain extent, this might be true. But our efforts to pray at a scheduled time become a very good discipline for us, building in us perseverance. Scheduled prayer times might, at first, seem mechanical. But then, they can often turn into divine, anointed appointments with our loving Master and Saviour.
Basically, our prayer times must be based on our faith in Yahuwah, in His Word, and in His Name, Yahushua. These are The Facts. It is the Facts of our faith, not our feelings or emotions, that must be relied upon for fulfilling the Word of Yahuwah. We need to let our feelings follow – not lead!
Three more brief insights from others:
“Faith relates us to that which our senses cannot perceive. As long as we are slaves of our senses, we really cannot move in faith. Paul said this clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight!” In other words, what we do, and the way in which we live as Christians, is based on faith – on what we believe, not on what we see or know from our senses. Our senses may tell us one thing, and our faith another – that is when conflict comes. That is why the writer of Hebrews says to make your confession and then to hold it fast (Hebrews 4:14). Even if our senses tell us it is not so, if God’s Word says it is so, it is so!” — from Derek Prince – No Matter What Pressures Come
“Don’t pray only when you feel like it! Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it!” — from Corrie ten Boom
“At times, prayer will come naturally, with little effort. But at other times, it will be a struggle to get your mind and will in gear to pray. Prayer is a spiritual discipline! Do not be discouraged if you feel like you are fighting upstream in prayer! Realize it is hard because it truly is the most significant thing you could be doing. It is worth the fight! Therefore let us keep on praying, because He is listening!” — from The Kneeling Christian
One More GREAT Tip from Derek Prince:
“In one of the passages in his journals John Wesley takes the middle of Philippians 4:6: ‘in everything by prayer,’ and he makes this comment: ‘I am persuaded that God does everything by prayer and nothing without it!’ That has stayed with me ever since. Gradually in my own life, prayer has been taking a more and more important place. Not that I’m a person that spends long hours in prayer, but there are few days that I don’t spend an hour. That’s not a tremendous record but it’s a lot higher than most Christians. I think the average minister spends six minutes a week in prayer. Let’s not ‘ooh and aah’ until we spend a lot more ourselves. But I have become persuaded, that the safe way to live is to Pray Things Through Before They Happen!!“- Derek Prince
(Note: to ‘pray things through’ is to talk about a situation in our prayers, thoroughly and often! It is to bring before the Father everything we can possibly think of regarding the matter, asking Father to cover each concern, each thought presented, with His guidance, direction, and purpose.)
Please, allow me to share with you, one more tip. It is a tip that I accidently learned, and it has proved to be an immense help.
The tip is: make a list of things that you believe are important things for you to pray about, and keep the list in front of you while praying. No matter how small or how big the thing is, if it is important to you, put it on your list! Start with a short list of the things that are most important to you. Think it through. Then use your list during your prayer time. It may seem ‘mechanical’ at first, but you will discover, as I have, that it is a big help for accomplishing much in our prayer time!
Cherish Your Times of Prayer
Finally, our times of prayer and personal Bible study are times of great enrichment and encouragement for us! We should protect and cherish our set-apart times with The Master! Our personal prayer times are opportunities for us to draw near to our Heavenly Father and simply be in His presence:
“Prayer is a higher thing than a beggar knocking at the rich man’s door. All true prayer is when we seek one thing only — God Himself, for with Him we get all we need! Prayer is simply ‘the turning of the soul to God.’ David describes it as the lifting up of the living soul to the living God. “Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul” (Psa. 25:1). Prayer is not given us as a burden to be borne, or an irksome duty to fulfill, but to be a joy and power to which there is no limit. And, it is given us that we “may find grace to help us in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).” — from The Kneeling Christian
Though we experience our various trials and weaknesses, may it be that we will always return to Yahuwah’s awesome Words:
- Yahuwah hears the prayers of the righteous! (Proverbs 15:29)
- Yahuwah is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20)
- The earnest prayer of a righteous one accomplishes much! (James 5:16)
- Yahuwah is near to all who call upon Him! (Psalms 145:18)
Our times of prayer are worth every bit of our determination and adjustments!!! Let us purpose to seek Father daily, and stay open and tender-hearted toward Him. A promise awaits us for our efforts: those who diligently seek Him — they will be rewarded! (Hebrews 11:6)
Remember too what Wesley was convinced of:
“God does everything by prayer, and nothing without it!”
- Where Can I Find Help In My Time of Need
- Prayer – Our Life-line to the Father
- How Can I Satisfy My Thirsty Soul?
- Spend Time With The Master
- Those Who Gathered Little Had No Lack
- He Inclined His Ear Unto Me – recognizing the value of verbal prayer
- Learn about His Holy and Reverend Name – The NAME
- Under His Wings I Shall Trust