Catherine Booth said, "Prayer is agony of the soul, a wrestling in the spirit." We have the impression that prayer is this docile, unobtrusive activity in our spiritual life and, yes, it can be a place of divine peace in the midst of noise. But prayer is also a wrestling, a demonstration that we are dealing with powers and principalities as described by Paul (Eph. 6:12) and it is a holy struggle in the spirit. How wonderful is it that God's also welcomes these prayers. He allows our honesty and earnestness. Through this passionate communion, we move toward holiness. Therefore, I offer these final ideas for your prayer stimulus package.
17. Persecution payback - Pray for those who give you a hard time, who have defamed your name, who undermine your activities, who disregard or oppose you. Lift their names up along with your own name. Also, pray for those who are hostile to Christ, opposing Christian beliefs in the nation or in other world governments. Speak the power of God to these situations. Ask Him if further action is to be taken that is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
18. Obstruction or Obedience - Based on two commandments (Luke 10:27), ask the Spirit to examine your areas of the heart (emotional), soul (spiritual), strength (physical), mind (mental), and your relationships (social). Invite God to realign all these areas that might have a stronghold on your spiritual health (Psalm 139:23-24).
19. Passionate Pendulum of the Psalms - These psalms were written in the midst of various circumstances, even perilous encounters. Re-write the different expressions incorporating your own circumstances of a lament (Ps. 10), a pursuit (Ps. 63), a declaration (Ps. 131) and praise (Ps. 136). Speak them out loud. If you are in a group, speak them all at the same time knowing that God hears and distinguishes each voice with its passion and is not confused with each one's intensity.
20. Equipped with Holy Spirit Power - God only uses people who are equipped and empowered by the Holy Spirit - those are people of prayer. Ask God, "what is on His heart today," connecting to His passion through the guidance of the Spirit. It was through prayer in the upper room before Pentecost that 3,000 were saved in a day - intense prayer yielded the Spirit's power. Power is the will of God and we need to pray specifically for the Spirit's armament. "Our prayers lay a track down on which God's power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, His power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails." (Watchman Nee)
21. Faith of our Fathers - Read Hebrews 11 and praise God for the examples of faithful martyrs and heroes. Identify your own spiritual legacy and recount the victories over battles fought. Pray to leave a godly heritage for those that follow you, testifying to the triumphal faith exhibited in hardships. Thank God for the reunion we will enjoy with all the saints in our heavenly home.
22. Pray the battle and wait on the Lord - You may be facing a battle today or someone you know stands in the mist of a fight. You are never alone and you have been given the right weapons. Voice your concerns but do not allow yourself to be entangled; overwhelmed with the complexities of the struggle. Spend equal time praising God that He is the Warrior.
And, as you wait on Him, He will either fight the battle in a way you never envisioned or will give wisdom and instruction. With His counsel, all battle outcomes will point to God and will reveal His glory!
Psalm 18 wonderfully describes the warrior qualities of God as He engages the battle. However, in our agonizing wrestling with these conflicts be mindful also to wait on the Lord. If those in the upper room had acted independently and not waited, the outcome that day would have been completely different. Instead they waited on the Lord, aligned in unity, and the Spirit acted in strength - like a mighty warrior winning the hearts of 3,000 converts and establishing the church.
23. Highlighted heart prayers - Prayerfully read the same scripture passage or verses from 3 different translations. Read aloud the first time. Read silently the second. On the third time through, ask the Holy Spirit as you read to highlight a particular truth - ask Him, "what truth do you want me to focus on today - what do you desire to etch on my heart?" and pray that prayer back to God.
(Various translations are available on-line at www.biblegateway.com.) See Psalm 119:15.
24. Pray your covenant - Many times we need to be reminded of what we believe and at one time we signed covenants that declared our agreement with God and His truth. This might be your articles of war when you became a soldier, your officer's covenant or lay leadership bond, your marriage covenant, the dedication of children, personal commitments or simply the doctrines. Review these promises you made before God and renew them before the Lord. (Ps. 56:12; Eccl. 5:4)
25. Pray your appetite - This prayer practice involves fasting so that you engage in the physical sense the urgency of prayer. For more information about the different ways to fast, go to the fasting section on this website as you will see that there are many ways to experience fasting in a spiritual sense. If you are involved in a group, assign different days of the month for each person, e.g., to fast and pray on every 3rd of the month. These will land on different days of the week and you will be amazed of what varied things you learn as each day changes the complexion of your prayers. Share your experiences with other members of your group. You will benefit from these prayer testimonies and the community for which you pray will strengthen as a result of your vigilance.
26. Prayer vigils - The revived phenomenon of 24/7 prayer has been a tremendous revelation to many corps fellowships as they set out in faith to cover the clock in continuous prayer over the course of a week - 168 hours. It takes boldness to have people commit to prayer not only when it is ‘convenient' but when it is a covenanted time that is set aside specifically for the purpose of prayer. Make sure that there is a dedicated prayer space - used for nothing else - and offer ideas for prayer in that space. Set up stations for various components of prayer (Praise, confession/cleansing, petition, thanksgiving, supplication). Engage a variety of people to contribute to the construction of this prayer space so that it reflects the complexion of the congregation. Make sure to provide Bibles and hymnals. For more ideas, visit the prayer website and other sites regarding 24/7 prayer. But the best ideas will come from you as you ask the Spirit to direct the construction of this room and revealing the desires of your people.
27. Pray the gifting of your congregation - It takes us all together to realize the varied gifts we have been given in each congregation - to acknowledge them, to engage them, to celebrate and encourage them, to bind any spirit of jealousy or shyness/reluctance of using them. The more we feel like we belong to a particular corps body, the more we will act effectively for the building of the Kingdom. Pray for the obvious - the speakers and leaders but also the greeters, those will gifts of hospitality, of mercy, of helps, of administration, of exhortation, of intercession - and that they learn to work as a unit to edify the Body of Christ.
28. Biographical Prayers - Identify God through the characteristics of how He interacted with personalities in scripture. For instance, pray to the God of Abraham who instructed him every step of the way without foreknowledge of what was in store, the God of Moses who demonstrated to a godless people that the Lord is all powerful, the God of David who is mighty in battle against all odds and brings us close to His own heart, the God of Elijah who meets us in our emotional distress and delivers miraculous deeds beyond our human capabilities, the God of Jeremiah who sustains through insurmountable discouragement but listens to our cries, the God of Joseph who brings victory in response to our faithfulness and places honor on our lives, the God of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (and their varied personalities), the God of Peter who permits our impetuosity and still fills us with the inspired words of heaven that ushers in the acts of the Holy Spirit, and the God of Paul who establishes the Kingdom work to all nations.
29. Key Word Prayers - Take you concordance from your study Bible and select a word, e.g., "authority." Look up several of the passages and ask God to reveal His wisdom regarding these connected thoughts and then pray along the lines of revelation that you have received from the Holy Spirit's instruction to you.
30. Prayer Space -establish a consistent prayer space so that each time you see that place you are reminded of your divine appointment with God. It may be several places or it may be a special ‘prayer chair' in your home. This is that closet that Jesus talked about in Matthew 6:6, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Also, you can pray consistently when you are on the ‘go' as you commute to work (eyes open, of course) but a particular landmark as you drive, or an index card taped to your dashboard, can be a reminder of your prayers as you go about your daily routine.
What will surprise you as you experience these different prayer postures is that the Holy Spirit will give you additional ideas as to how to pray and you may go even further with your varied communion with God. Someday in heaven, when we meet Him face to face, we will truly know the sound of His voice because we have become familiar with Him through divine conversation. With our new bodies we will anticipate an even greater understanding of Him and will experience our ultimate relationship in the heavenly realms!
For we wrestle not against
flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness
of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places.