Recommended Books on Prayer & Fasting

 

John Stott’s Morning Trinitarian Prayer

Good morning heavenly Father,

good morning Lord Jesus,

good morning Holy Spirit.

 

Heavenly Father, I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe.

Lord Jesus, I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world.

Holy Spirit, I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God.

 

Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

 

Heavenly Father, I pray that I may live this day in your presence and please you more and more.

 

Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you.

 

Holy Spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life:

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

 

Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God, have mercy upon me. Amen.

 

ACTS Prayer Resource:

We want to assist you in cultivating a prayer life that helps you draw near to God. One way of doing that is using the acronym – ACTS – which will aid you in developing a balanced prayer life. It’s not a formula for praying but rather a guide to keep you focused on your relationship with God and communicating with Him in a way that encourages intimacy.

 

Adoration: Adoration is simply focusing on who God is and expressing awe and worship. Sometimes this is the hardest thing for us to do, but it is a necessary part of praying, because it focuses us on who God is and gives us the opportunity to make much of Him. When we pray, it is essential that we know who we are talking to.

 

Confession: Confession is our response to the uncovering of who we are and what we have done. When we step into the light of God’s greatness, we recognize how we fall short of His glory. Confession is a great privilege, because it allows us to lay hold of the cleansing and forgiveness of our sins offered to us in Jesus. We may walk in filthy, but we can leave cleansed and forgiven.

 

Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is a humble response to the generosity of God, acknowledging that every good and perfect gift comes from Him. In spite of who we are and what we have done, God has been and continues to do us good. Thanksgiving recognizes that all we are and all we have is because of him. Gratitude puts us in the right frame of mind to ask, because it leads us to consider what God has done and what he is able to do.
 
 
Supplication: Supplication is just the practice of asking. Jesus told us to ask, but He also modeled for us an asking that was submissive and surrendered. He delights to give and bless. Asking glorifies Him. Asking humbles us. Asking opens the door for greater faith and draws us deep into the arms of our good God whose faithfulness and love never end.
 
 
 

Five Practical Prayer Tips, J.D. Greear

 

Eliminate distractions: Prayer can be difficult when you’re surrounded by distractions. To help focus on prayer, try taking a morning walk with no devices to interrupt you. As you walk, consider praying out loud to keep your thoughts focused on your conversation with God. Another way to eliminate distractions is to keep your prayer time short. As one preacher said, “I don’t often spend more than half an hour in prayer, but I never go more than half an hour without praying.” If you find praying for an extended period of time difficult, set three short times of prayer instead of one long one. Try praying in the morning, after lunch, and before bed.
 
 

Take advantage of high-tech (and low-tech) tools: There are a variety of tools that can help you pray more intentionally and consistently.

1. Set a reminder on your calendar to pray for specific needs at specific times.
 
2. Download a prayer app for your smartphone (such as Echo Prayer, PrayerMate, or Evernote) to stay organized.
 
3. For a low-tech version of a prayer app, create a set of prayer cards. Start an index card for each person you’re praying for, including that person’s name, prayer requests, and verses of Scripture that you’re believing for that person.
 
4. Pray with others
 
5. Prayer isn’t just a personal discipline. Praying with others can be both spiritually rewarding and relationally satisfying. Here are a few ways to be intentional when praying with other believers.
 
6. Pray in the moment with people, don’t just promise to pray for them.
 
7. Prayer walk your neighborhood, the office, or some part of the city.
 
8. Pray regularly with your kids – let them hear you pray, use a kids version of ACTS – “Wow, Sorry, Thanks, Please.”
 
9. Use a prayer companion in your daily time with God.

 

Practice the HEAR method: The HEAR method is a framework to help you read and respond to Scripture in four simple steps:

  1. Highlight something that stood out to you, that resonated, or the Spirit seemed to bring to your attention.
  2. Explore—dig into any study notes, context, commentaries, etc. that would help you get at the original meaning.
  3. Apply—ask how this truth applies to you today.
  4. Respond—figure out how your life must change as a result and pray it back to God.

 

Above all, just start: Prayer is a muscle that grows as you use it. The more you do it, the more you know how to do it, and the more you desire to do it. Start with five minutes a day if that is all you can handle. Commit to praying every day for a month and see where it goes from there.
 
 

How to Pray Through Scripture

Below is a sample of how you might read through, meditate on, and respond to a passage through prayer. Consider that Scripture is God’s way of starting the conversation, and our prayers are one way we respond to what He says. As you read, think through the ACTS acronym. Not every passage will lend itself to all four components of prayer. Read slowly. Ask God to guide you. Take note of things that capture your attention. Be sensitive to other verses that the Holy Spirit may bring to mind as you are reading and meditating. Remember, as you turn from reading to praying, you are embarking on a holy dialogue between you and your loving Father.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:1-3 NIV)

Shouts of joy, glad worship, and joyful songs—these are not my praise and adoration, but they are the call to praise. These expressions should characterize my response to God. Why? Because the Lord is God, and we are his. This is my praise.

  1. Adoration

He is God. Ruler, Authority, Creator, Power—that is who He is. And because he is God, He has a claim on me, authority over me, and the right to make demands of me.

I belong to him—not as a possession, but as a son or daughter, as one redeemed, rescued, and ransomed. I’m not an outsider; I am His. I’m not an enemy, but a beloved child of God.

Prayer: Wow! You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You alone are Sovereign Ruler and Mighty God. You are my God, and I belong to You. I’m not separated but welcomed in and granted direct access (Ephesians 1:3-14). I am in awe of how wonderful You are.

  1. Confession

He is God, and I belong to Him. Why is that not enough to generate joyful, exuberant praise? How can I be unimpressed and unmoved by these truths?

What else could be more worthy of my joy and worship? Yet I demand more proofs of his power and love.

Prayer: God, I confess that I withhold praise when I should be pouring it out. I am no longer moved by the fact that you are my God and God of all. I am often drawn away to worship other gods—gods who are not gods at all. I’m an idolater (Exodus 20:2-3). Forgive me, and help me return to you.

  1. Thanksgiving

God made us. In fact, He made us twice: He created and knit us together in our mother’s womb. And, He recreated us and made us a new creation in Christ.

Prayer: Thank you, God. I am grateful to be made in Your image and then blown away by the grace You give in restoring me to the image of Your Son (Romans 8:28-29).

  1. Supplication

We are the “sheep of his pasture.” Sheep are under the authority of the Shepherd. They rely on Him to lead and guide, but they are also bound to listen to His voice and follow Him. They don’t belong to themselves and live unto themselves.

Prayer: God, use my life for Your glory and Your kingdom. Help me to lay down my preferences for Your purposes. I want Your kingdom to come and Your will to be done. Help me (and others) to yield to You, to surrender to You, to live for You and You alone (Matthew 6:9-10).
 
 

Tips for Praying and Fasting

Fasting: As you consider fasting, we want to encourage you to listen to the Holy Spirit. Ask God to lead you in this time of seeking his face. Whether you choose to fast for one day, several days, or the entire 21 days, the point is to humble yourself in a new way and draw near to God. Here are three common ways to fast:

1. Selective Fast | During a selective fast, you eliminate certain things from your diet. For example, eating only fruits and vegetables, what some might call a “Daniel fast.” (View a sample food list.).
 
2. Partial Fast | During a partial fast, you refrain from eating for a set period of time each day. You could choose to fast from a single meal or from sunup to sundown.
 
3. Complete Fast | During a complete fast, you refrain from eating and only drink liquids for particular days or even for an extended period of time.

 

If fasting from food is not possible, you may feel led by the Lord to fast from something else, such as social media, television, or certain times or activities on your cell phone.

 

Prayer: Praying is spiritual breathing, essential for our life in God. As we meditate on God’s Word, we breathe in the promises and purposes of God. In prayer, we breathe out, responding to God’s Word to us. Together, let’s put our faith into action, trusting in the promises of God for us and our church. 

 

 

In all of this, our hope is for this experience to anchor us to our purpose as the people of God at Four Mile Church, declaring our dependence on Him.