“My prayer life is a mess.” “I know that there was something here I was to pray for today, but what was it?” “I prayed for it a while but it soon got lost in the closet and it never got answered.”
If these sound like you, maybe you need a “Prayer Closet Organizer”.
By suggesting the use of tools and methods to facilitate and organise our prayer life I am in no way attempting to marginalize or hinder the working of the Holy Spirit in our quiet times. Tools and methods simply assist us in making our prayer times more effective and consistent.
A word of warning! Be careful not to allow prayer lists to make your prayers boring and unimaginative. Add big things to your list. We serve a big God! Make sure these big things are specific and measurable. Track them on the list to see how God answers.
Here are just few tools I have used to help make my prayer life more effective and enjoyable.
Yes, it is old school, but it still works. These paper notebooks (spiral or three ring) are inexpensive, versatile, and with the use of tabs and different notebooks, organization is possible. Let your own imagination work to see how different books and sizes can be used to schedule and track prayer items.
Also, a little outdated, but these wonderful devices still have their place. Designed for phone numbers, they work great as a “prayer closet organizer”.
Use individual cards for specific items, persons, or groups. Each card has room for notes and updates. They can be arranged by name, date, or any other way your mind works to remember to pray for the things we ought.
Being a little of a tech geek, I love the versatility and the constant availability of having my prayer lists on my electronic devices. The list can be ever in our pocket, on our computer, or in the cloud.
Here are just a couple of apps or software you may want to try. You may already be using them for work, but never thought of them for prayer times.
Evernote is free and easy to use. Items can be organized in more ways than you can imagine. Prayer requests can be organized by notebook and by use of multiple tags, items can “pop up” for prayer time by priority, date, group, etc. I think I may be shifting to this plan myself soon.
Todoist is another free app for all devices. Tasks (prayer items) can be organized by date, set on a repeating schedule, grouped by projects, and can be filtered for days, events,etc.
Prayer NB is an IOS app that works great for listing, categorizing, and scheduling prayer items. “Today’s Prayer” list is then populated by items set to be daily, certain days a week, monthly or on a particular date.
Again, if you are not going to pray, do not bother. But, if you are looking for a way to make your prayer time more efficient and effective, consider a plan, Then, “work the plan”.
Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay
All of us have been to church services that were dead, lifeless, and to be totally frank, boring. This is not what God intended when He set up the worship in the Tabernacle in the wilderness or the Temple. In far too many churches worship services have become shows and entertainment. An event to go watch instead of one in which to participate.
In this mini-series of posts I will discuss thoughts from a recent sermon on “Having a Great Worship Service”. This message was based upon the amazing Passover conducted in the reign of Josiah, the boy who became king at age eight. Grab your Bible and turn to 2 Chronicles 35 and let’s see about making our church’s worship services more that just somewhere we go.
Like most everything I life, good things just do not happen. It takes preparation. Even when we are looking for God to go a work that only He can do, there are preparations that will facilitate a great worship service. Prepare ye the way of the Lord”.
A Great Worship Service Requires Preparation
Prepare yourself (vs4)
And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, … (2Ch 35:4)
Prepare yourself by serving (2Ch 34:33, 35:3)
Where there is a commitment to serve the Lord (2Ch 34:33) and a practice of doing so, our hearts are ready for God to bless. Be involved in serving the Lord in your local church. By serving it makes it your church, not just the church.
Where you invest your time and live, you will find your heart.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luk 12:34)
Prepare yourself by sanctification (2Ch 35:6)
Come to the church services already havingspent time in prayer confessing sin and setting yourself apart for His work that day. God wants and uses clean vessels. Want to hear from the Lord in a church service? Have a heart clan and prepared for Him to work.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Mat 5:8)
This next time, come to church with yourself prepared and discover the difference.
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And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? (Deu 10:12-13)
If ever there was a passage that captured the Christian’s daily duties and experiences it is this one.
Great Gospel quartets and quintets have blessed our hearts for many years. Like in music, we must have all the parts or it just doesn’t work.
Here in this passage see “The Lord’s spiritual quintet for blessed living”.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecc 12:13)
Walk in in His Ways
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Mat 7:13-14)
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Mat 22:36-37)
Serve the Lord
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (Psa 2:11)
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (Psa 100:2)
Keep the commandments of the Lord
Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee. And thou shalt do that which is right and good in the sight of the LORD: that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest go in and possess the good land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, (Deu 6:17-18)
Visit us on line at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay
Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: …(2Ch 34:1-3)
King Josiah possessed what I refer to as “early piety”. In this day of lax child rearing standards and loose personal morals in society, to read about a child king at 8 years of age seeking after God and walking in His way is amazing and challenging.
Here I want to give a few simple thoughts to the parents and adults that desire to instill such early piety and moral spirituality into their young charges. Acknowledging that all children have been given different personalities and tendencies, it goes without saying that even the most challenging of children will benefit from a careful and prayerful attempt to point their spirits and hearts toward godliness and piety.
Where and when to work at installing early piety. Then answer is always and everywhere. A piety that is irregular or based upon circumstances is not piety, but hypocrisy.
We must always be conscious of the opportunities to train and teach the actions and responses of a godly character. Some of the best training opportunities arise in the mundane events of daily living.
What is the yardstick, that final gauge for righteousness and Christian living? Whatever we use it must be something available to all people, understood by even a child, and something that never changes. So what can these marvels of measurements be that are so constant and universal? There are two, the Scriptures and the Saviour. Everything is to be determined right or wrong, better or worse, by the Word of God and by our example Jesus.
Piety and Christian living is something that is taught as well as caught. True, there must be visual examples lived out before the child, but there must also be concerted and consistent teaching. A student may watch an older sibling work their Trigonometry homework, but that will not teach them how to divide or master the subject matter themselves. There must be teaching.
This teaching should be ongoing and both intentional and opportunistic. Family devotions, times of correction, faithful attendance to Sunday School and all church services form a foundation for such schooling.
The specifics of do’s and don’ts, right and wrong, and associated discipline for violating the rules should be laid out and understood by teacher and pupil. If the standard is not known, practiced, and insisted upon, piety and godliness will not result. Inconsistent and arbitrary discipline does not train but confuses and embitters.
The schooling, structure, standards, and all other aspects of instilling early piety should be worked into an overall strategy of child rearing. There must be consensus between all adult parties. Always work together and not against one another.
Wisdom is needed to fostering piety. God challenges us to find His wisdom through His word and by asking for it. Daily and together as partners pray for wisdom and opportunities to guide young souls to Christ-likeness and piety.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (Jas 1:5)
Let’s work together through prayer that we may see a new generation of young Josiahs rising up to lead our church, families, and nation.
Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church