When I was young, I was a major bookworm. My mom drove me over to Shreve Memorial Library, and I checked out the maximum number of books the library law allowed and read them all well before the return date.
I still love to read, but, for some reason, I can’t get through half a chapter without falling asleep. It takes me forever to read a book now, but that’s ok. Reading books slowly gives the information time to sink in, right?
Since my word for the year is “mindful,” I decided it’s a good idea to fill my mind with as much good stuff as possible. So, I’m going to try to read more. Right now, I’m working my way through Priscilla Shirer’s Fervent, which is a book about strategic prayer.
I say I’m working my way through it because that’s the kind of book it is. It’s not a typical page turner. It’s a battle plan, and it has me fired up.
…this is war. The fight of your life. A very real enemy has been strategizing and scheming against you, assaulting you, coming after your emotions, your mind, your man, your child, your future. In fact, he’s doing it right this second. Right where you’re sitting. Right where you are.
But I say his reign of terror stops here. Stops now. He might keep coming, but he won’t have victory anymore. Because it all starts failing when we start praying.
Shirer says we can’t “play nice” with prayer, and I agree with her. I intend to pray with more fire and fervor this year. My life depends on it. How ’bout you?
In Fervent, Priscilla Shirer challenges readers to focus on 10 areas where the enemy seems to attack the most. See if any of them ring a bell.
- Your passion
- Your focus
- Your identity
- Your family
- Your confidence
- Your calling
- Your purity
- Your rest and contentment
- Your heart
- Your relationships
Shirer guides us in writing out strategic prayers for each of these areas using the most effective weapon around: the Word of God. Oh…and she says it’s a good idea to actually pray the prayers we write out.
Over the next several weeks, I will be working my way through this list and sharing my written prayers with you. Feel free to use my prayers as a starting point for your own strategic prayers. Just think what would happen if God’s people started praying with more passion, purpose and precision for every aspect of our lives!
No more hit-or-miss praying. No more “God bless us,” generic prayers. Let’s get serious about asking God for what we need and receiving what He already offers. The prayers I’ll be sharing won’t just appear on this blog. They will appear in my prayer journal where they will be prayed and prayed again. Then, I’ll have the pleasure of recording the ways God answers in the very same journal. I don’t want to forget to pray, and I don’t want to forget His faithfulness.
The first strategic prayer category must be the starting point. Without passion, our prayer life is puny at best.
Passion is the fuel in the engine of your purpose. It’s your “want-to.” It’s what keeps you going when mundane tasks bore you or difficult ones dissuade you. Passion is what keeps you moving in the direction your best intentions want you to go.
I don’t know about you, but I have some of the best intentions in the history of intentions. Oh, the goals! Oh, the plans! Oh, the honorable pursuits! But I give up too easily. I think my passion has a slow leak, and the only thing that will fix that is the hand of God. I can’t manufacture passion. I need God to sharpen my cutting edge, so I’ll be willing to do the hard things I need to do to thrive in this life.
What about you, friend? Do you lack passion? Are you dragging yourself through this life? Is your cutting edge dull as a butter knife? I’m tired of living this way. It’s time to pray. Something tells me God’s answer will be a big fat YES (and probably a “what took you so long?).
I’ve been trying to self-sharpen my cutting edge for a while now. It’s not working. I need Your Spirit fire in me. But first, I need You to help me shovel out some ashes.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (Psalm 51:10,12 NIV).
Give me a new heart and put a new spirit within me. Remove my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 26:26). A heart that skips a beat when I consider Your faithfulness. A spirit that aches to know You better.
May each new-mercy morning find me with a prayer on my lips and praise bubbling up from a heart fully convinced of Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Circumcise my heart, Lord, to love You with all my heart and all my soul, that I may live…really live (Deuteronomy 30:6).
Sharpen my cutting edge, Lord, so I can make a mark on this world for Your glory.
In the name of the Passionate One, I pray,