June 2024

Dear Friends,
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
[1 Thessalonians 15:16-18]

In many churches today, the weekly prayer meeting is usually the most unattended in the programme, or it has completely disappeared altogether. A praying church is a healthy church, and instead of putting prayer last or at the bottom of the agenda it must and has to come first. I am excited as we move into a season where we begin to reflect on our prayer lives (individually and collectively as a church), developing and ushering in our Prayer Strategy at Baginton Road URC.

In scripture, we are presented with a clear picture of what prayer is, how to pray the right way and how to get results from our prayers.

In James 5:13-16, the Prayer of Faith, we see that God encourages us to pray in all circumstances – whether we are happy or in trouble. There is no good or bad time to pray; the more we pray, the better. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 encourages us to “pray continually” (NIV) or “pray without ceasing” (NKJV). How can you pray without ceasing? Is that possible? To pray without ceasing is to have constant access to the Father and include Him in every area of our lives. We can be in a constant flow with God all day. The Passion Translation of this verse sums it up beautifully: “Make your life a prayer.”

I am sure you will agree that building a relationship with someone without communicating with them would be impossible; or declaring that someone is your best friend, but you never talk to them. Prayer is our communication with God and helps us to cultivate a deeper relationship with Him. When you pray, God listens because you’re His child, and you pray according to His will. What is so amazing is that God relates to you as though you are the only one in the world. How special is that?

I want to continue to encourage you to speak to God. He loves you, and He wants to hear your voice. As you strive to develop your relationship with God, here are my top tips for prayer:

  1. Have daily, regular times of prayer.
  2. Commence each prayer session by reading a short passage in the Bible. Daily devotions such as those on ‘YouVersion’, the ‘Every Day with Jesus’ or ‘Lectio 365’ apps are all very good examples, encouraging and challenging you to seek intimacy with God every day.
  3. Pray through the day’s problems as they arise and talk to God immediately when things happen. He can provide the help you need at that very moment.
  4. Cultivate the habit of talking with God – as a friend. There is no need to be formal! Use natural, everyday language; this way, you can express your thoughts and pray effectively.
  5. Be honest with God because He knows the truth about everything. There is something special about pouring your heart out to God as your Father – it is so comforting!
  6. Research / study what the Bible says about prayer. Find out all the things that have happened in scripture as a result of prayer. You will be encouraged to see how much prayer has accomplished and continues to accomplish for God’s Kingdom.
  7. Listen while you pray. Set aside a time and comfortable location where you can focus on God, wait in silence, and be undistracted and spiritually receptive.
  8. Pray with others. When you do so, it unifies you with other believers. Remember the passage from Acts 12:1-17 we explored: the impossible happened when they prayed together.
  9. Make a prayer list. It is a simple tool which will encourage you to focus during prayer times and remind you to pray for others. You will become more effective when you get into the habit of consistently praying for others.
  10. Use prayer resources to help strengthen your prayer life. By the grace of God, we will soon have some excellent resources on prayer available in the new Prayer Room. This will include books that teach you how to pray effectively and encourage you, prayer cards, and a recommendation of films on prayer that will inspire you.

Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons God has given us! May your prayer lives be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ Name.

Every blessing,
Pastor Sherry Owolabi

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