Bible study, Devotional

Pursuing Prayer

Today, I have guest blogger–Penny Cooke. She is an author, Certified Biblical Life Coach, and has been a women’s ministry leader for over 25 years. Her passion is to encourage and equip women with the Word of God and see them empowered by His Spirit through prayer for this battle we call life. I met her at a writers conference a couple of years ago when she won an award for her book, Pursuing PrayerBeing Effective in a Busy World.

I will include her social media links and the Amazon link to her award-winning book on pursuing prayer. Please enjoy her post today!

Pray then like this… Matthew 6:9

Do you ever find it difficult to pray, find the time to pray, or know what to pray? Do you know people who seem to pray all the time? Who has time to pray like that when there’s so much else to do? Shouldn’t we just be able to pray once and see results? It all seems so mysterious.

Jesus’ disciples must have wondered some of those things too, because they asked Him, “Teach us to pray.” In response, He gave them what is called, “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13). Did He give us this prayer to recite, one and done? I don’t believe so. Besides, He had just told them not to recite vain repetitions (v.7 NKJV).

The Lord’s Prayer is beautiful, but I think there’s more to it than we grasp when we recite it. Perhaps Jesus wasn’t teaching us a prayer, but how to pray – the elements to include in prayer.  What are those elements and why are they important to us today? The book, Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World, teaches those elements using an acrostic for prayer. Here is a brief overview of that acrostic:

P Proactively Pursue Prayer

Jesus left us an example of intentionally getting away from it all to pray (Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, 6:12, 9:28). Scripture urges us repeatedly to proactively pursue prayer (Matthew 26:41, Luke 18:1, Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, and 1 Timothy 2:1).

In today’s busyness, we need to be proactive about a lot of things if we’re going to get everything done. It is no different with prayer. And if we have so much to do, shouldn’t prayer be on the top of our list?

Jesus told them, “Pray then like this…”

In today’s busyness, we need to be proactive about a lot of things if we’re going to get everything done. It is no different with prayer. @penny_cooke #PursuingPrayer #ThisSideofHeaven

R Remember His Righteous Deeds

Jesus began His prayer with worship, “Hallowed by thy name.” Worship helps us remember who God is and what He has done for us. It builds our faith and also our faithfulness. God repeatedly warned Israel, “…beware, lest you forget the LORD…” and “…you shall remember well what the LORD your God did…” (Deuteronomy 6:12, 7:18)

Psalm 100:4 tells us, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving…” Remembering generates thankfulness and thankfulness produces worship.

A Acknowledge Sin

This is the “forgive us our debts” piece of the Lord’s Prayer. This does not suggest a brief and general, “Forgive my sins,” but a time to acknowledge and confess specific sins in our lives, and to repent. To repent is to adjust our lives to the ways of God.

Confession is a vital part of prayer, which is often overlooked when we pray short, on-the-go prayers. David recognized, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:28).

Y Yield to His Will

This covers the “Your Will be done” part of the Lord’s Prayer.

To yield is to submit, to surrender or relinquish control and trust Him whose ways are best. When we pray this part of the Lord’s Prayer, we welcome His will and His kingdom into our lives. It is to, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” Then the promise: “…all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

E Enjoy His Daily Bread

Praying for daily bread is about knowing where our provision comes from and trusting God to provide. It is to have faith that He will do what He said He will do, pertaining to daily bread or any other promise He has made to us (John 14:14).

Ultimately, God longs to give us Himself. He gives us Himself through Jesus, the Bread of Life. He provides daily physical bread for our physical life, but He also provides daily spiritual bread for our spiritual life.

R Rest in the Waiting

We want quick, instant everything nowadays. We expect things to happen now, and we’re always in a rush. We’d do well to hurry up and slow down.

God is never in a hurry. He sees the end from the beginning and knows exactly what and when things need to be done for our prayers to be answered. And He is much too concerned for our spiritual wellbeing to give us anything one minute before its time.

When we trust and wait patiently with thanksgiving, our anxiety is replaced with His peace. We can rest when God’s peace guards our hearts and minds, no matter how long it takes our prayers to come to fruition (Philippians 4:6-7).

When we trust and wait patiently with thanksgiving, our anxiety is replaced with His peace. @penny_cooke #PursuingPrayer #ThisSideofHeaven

How much more effective do you think our prayers could be if we proactively prayed this way more often? That’s not to say there aren’t times when all we can squeeze out is a weak, “Help me, Lord.” I’ve certainly had those times, and I’m sure you have too. I assure you, He hears those prayers. Psalm 34:18 (ESV) tells us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

But in general, when you look at our world today, wouldn’t you say we need more prayer, not less? How do you think our families, our country, and our world could be changed if more of us prayed more like this more often?

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16b NKJV

Would you like to enrich your prayer life? Would you like more power and more answered prayer? Penny’s Six-week Bible study, Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World is ideal for group or personal use. Pursuing Prayer uses the acrostic for prayer to help us understand more deeply what Jesus taught when He gave us The Lord’s Prayer and how important its elements are in our prayer lives today. This book will inspire and motivate us to more fervent and effective prayer.

Find out more at https://www.pennycookeauthor.com where you can download Penny’s FREE ebook, Pursuing Prayer Devotion and Coloring Page.

Find Pursuing Prayer here: https://amzn.to/38ZuYAq

Penny is the author of Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World, a multi-award-winning Bible study (New Hope Publishers, 2019), most recently a First Place 2020 Selah award (Bible Study category).  She has been a contributor to Heart Renovation – A Construction Guide to Godly Character (Lighthouse Bible Studies, 2018), and Let the Earth Rejoice devotional (Worthy Inspired, 2017). She has written for CBN.com and Thoughts-About-God.com and has been a columnist for Blessed Living Women’s E-Magazine. She also enjoys blogging about things of life and faith at pennycookeauthor.com.

Penny and her husband live in Florida and have three grown children and seven grandchildren. 

Social Media Links:

Facebook: pennycookeauthor

Instagram: pennycookeauthor

Twitter: penny_cooke

YouTube: https://bit.ly/39wdnBp   

Amazon link to book: https://amzn.to/38ZuYAq

5 thoughts on “Pursuing Prayer”

  1. Loved the post Ms. Penny and Ms. Stephanie. Something God shared with me some years ago now as been what I coined as “Saving My Amen.” By not saying Amen (unless voicing a prayer with others of course), until just before I drift off to sleep each evening, I am able to mentally keep my spiritual comms link to the Father open all day long. I often share funny things, frustrations, or just a quick “Thank You Lord” as I go about the day’s tasks. It’s my way of making sure I take God with me wherever I go and whatever I’m doing.

  2. Great message – your acronym is powerful. I sometimes falter when I pray aloud. Mother Teresa’s quote reminds me ‘to pray better we must pray more’ (paraphrased).

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