Pat Jones: Prayer — Heartfelt conversations with God

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I attended a Love INC conference near Chicago.

It’s a beautiful area and the people I met are so nice. Our Love INC national is restructuring to be more “grassroots” and to provide leadership and mentoring to affiliates such as ours by having a strong, well-established Love INC available to provide training and advice as needed.

We’re excited to come back to our valley filled to the brim with encouraging words, practical help, and sound training.

In one of the sessions, our trainer offered some insight about the importance of prayer. The difference between good work and God’s work is prayer.

We must be a praying people. We must be a praying affiliate. Prayer brings growth and collective spiritual discernment.

The trainer said giving people what they want may make us good, but it doesn’t make us Godly. That’s a lot of food for thought, so when I need clarification I go to my Bible.

In Luke 11:1-11, Jesus is teaching about prayer. He shows that prayers have order, and are not just random thoughts thrown up to God (they can be in a crisis, of course, but I’m referring to deliberate, daily prayer).

First praise is given to God, and then requests and needs are lifted up to him. We need to thank him every day.

Shopping list prayers are not the same as heartfelt conversations with God. God provides our needs fresh every day, so why do we try to pray only on Sunday and store it up for the week? How strong do you feel by Friday?

If you are running on empty, maybe it’s because you haven’t been filling up every day.

We need to seek forgiveness every day. We need to show forgiveness, too.

Jesus stresses this in verse 4, as well as in other parables he taught. If we don’t forgive others as God forgives us, it seems apparent that we don’t truly understand how deep our need for forgiveness is.

If you haven’t forgiven someone who has wronged you, then how will God deal with your request for forgiveness?

Verse 9 says to be persistent in prayer. Just as you need to ask for your daily needs every day, be brave and bold and persistent in prayer.

Persistence doesn’t irritate God like a persistent child can irritate a tired parent.

Rather, persistence is a way we help ourselves see God at work and it helps us express the intensity of our need.

At our affiliate, when we need to make a decision about the type or amount of help that is prudent to give, we ask God to direct us.

Our volunteers pray together and we pray separately.

We are seeking discernment to make the best choices. We are not as persistent as we should be and that’s one of the most important lessons I think I brought back from the conference.

We want to help each person and meet needs in the fullest way possible. To do that, we must be a praying affiliate.

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