As I was finishing up my last year of seminary I knew it was time to solve a big problem, I prayed like a child. Dinner prayer, bedtime prayer, and “Save me, I’m in trouble Lord” prayers were pretty much all I knew how to pray. I found a simple 30-page book called An Adventure In Prayer by Ben Johnson (available at Amazon). It basically taught me that if you pray for thirty days then you will understand the power of prayer. It has a series of scriptures to pray for thirty days as well as a series of questions to ask yourself each week. With a small amount of skepticism and whole lot of hope that it would be that easy I launched into my thirty-day prayer experiment.
I was completely unprepared for the adventure God sent me on in those thirty days. In the first week I kept wondering if anyone was listening. In the second and third weeks “coincidences” kept happening, and my desire to pray went up as I wanted to see if they were God or were they really just “coincidences.” In the fourth week I saw answers to prayers, spiritual guidance, and a few small miracles so that I was convinced that all I heard about the power of prayer was true. I was hooked, and I wanted to teach the power of praying to as many people as I could.
I bought An Adventure In Prayer by the dozens, and gave them out to as many people as I could. Every now and then a person would come back to me and tell me thanks for the book, it guided them to learn to pray. But usually the response was, “I’m not sure where I put that book. I keep wanting to read it. I really ought to spend some time working on prayer. I think I need to learn to pray.” None of us needs more books lying around the house we “should” read, and I certainly didn’t want to add to anyone’s pile of such books.
Then God opened a new door, and I had an opportunity to teach a large group of people about prayer. I made them break into pairs, and informed them that this was their new “Prayer Partner.” They were going to read An Adventure In Prayer together, and they were going to teach each other how to pray. There was plenty of “hemming and hawing” as many wanted to just do the prayer experiment by themselves. I would hear none of the complaining. They were going to do it my way!
Of course, it wasn’t really my way. It was God’s way. God doesn’t like us to do things by ourselves. God exists in relationship through the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). Jesus sent the disciples out two-by-two to do miraculous works in His name (Mark 6, Luke 10). Jesus taught “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:19-20).
Almost every person in the class learned to pray in thirty days. They encouraged each other when the other would have quit. By talking to one another on a regular basis they could compare coincidences and realize all those coincidences were God, times two. They found that when they had a responsibility to pray for one another they were actually letting each other down if they consistently failed to pray. With all these things as motivations they each successfully learned that if you pray for thirty days you will learn how to pray, and that God has given us an amazing gift in prayer.
Have you tried and failed too many times to learn to pray? Have you ever prayed with a prayer partner? Who would be a good partner for you to pray with? Ask someone who knows how to pray as a good starting point. Choose when you are going to pray, and be specific, and share that with someone else, and make plans to read the same scriptures, and talk once a week about your experience. Share a prayer request with one another to really seal your partnership. If you already know how to pray, then invite someone who doesn’t know how to pray to be your prayer partner. Think how many lives God could change through you if you got a new prayer partner to teach to pray every couple of months.
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