Too Busy Not To Pray

I’m continuing my study of prayer as a Christian…

And as a minister…

I began the study looking at the Book, Praying the Bible…

And now I continue looking at a popular book by Bill Hybels titled, “Too Busy Not to Pray.”

Before I begin this interaction with the book, I do feel a call to begin doing two things…

1) write out my prayers at least sometimes…
2) begin a spiritual journal.

There is a power and depth of spirituality in our preaching and our ministry..and our depth of Christian experience that can only come from Prayer…

I continue this study, not just reading, but implementing…

Praying…

Practicing…

With a hope and prayer that it will lead to stronger and more spiritual life…

OK..on to Hybel’s popular book on prayer

One thing that was of interest to me were four things that Hybel’s says prayer should rest on…

Prayer should be

1) Regular
2) Private
3) Sincere
4) Specific

If prayer is to be a “habit” then we are going to have to pray habitually…

Now, some may argue against turning it into a habit, but like all other things that humans engage in…it takes some effort. And if we do it regularly and consistently, it makes the important practice easier to get started.

Another important component is specific.

None of that “Lord forgive me for being selfish…

No…

Straight up “Lord forgive me for taking that last cookie from my wife who wanted it.”

Specific…

Pattern For Prayer

Hybels introduces a model or method for prayer that is an acrostic ACTS.

(A)doration – Begin with Adoration and praise to our God. Specifically for the attributes of God. As you think on these attributes help us understand that our issues are minor in comparison…

For example, if you are provide praise to our God for God’s mighty power.

“Oh Lord we praise you for you power. We praise you for your creative ability. Your ability to take nothing and make something from it…”

Then…

Whatever your problem is…Whatever issue you are going to pray about…whatever it may be…it will become less in comparison…

Praise God for God’s attributes…

(C)onfession – Now confess your sins. Not in general…but specifically…While there may be a time to confess openly…this is not the time, so you can be much more open and honest about it.

Confess your sin specifically to God.

(T)hanksgiving – Oh yeah…prayer must have a time of thanksgiving. Thanking God for all that God has done for you…and all that God has done for your family…and others…

Hybels suggests a number of categories to show your thanksgiving to God.

These include:

– Prayers Answered
– Spiritual Blessings
– Family Blessings
– Relationship Blessings

(S)upplication – Now ask for things…

One thing that is different from many prayers is that we often jump to the Supplication. We jump to what we want.

But this model begins with Adoration of God’s attributes…

Then moves to Confession of our sins…

Then moves to thanksgiving for all God has done…

So we have moved from praise of God to the removal of the sins that would separate us from God..and then we go head and thank God for what God has one in the past…

Now…after all that…are we in a position to request anything…

Hybels suggests 4 categories of places to request….Ask for things related to Ministry…Things related to us personally…things related to our family…and things related to other people.

Seems like a good model for prayer…I do recognize that no model should be seen as a straightjacket…and there are times when one must set the model aside….

But a model can be helpful, and this one is one that I will implement at times into my prayer life.

Answers To Prayer

OK, what are the answers to prayer?

Hybels, in the book, provides a very cool summary of God’s answers to prayer…

When we ask God for things…

The answer can often be deduced ourselves…

If our Request is wrong…then the answer is NO

If the timing is wrong…then the answer is SLOW

If you are wrong…then the answer is GROW

But if the Timing, request, and you are all right…then the answer is GO.

After having said that, we must not fall into the trap of thinking that prayer is merely about supplication…as we noted, we have thanksgiving, adoration, and confession. So eve if the answer is NO…we we can’t say prayer has not changed things…or prayer has not been helpful…

Slowing Down For Depth of Prayer

For prayer to be effective, we need to just slow down.

We live in a fast paced world where everything is desired right now…

But this mindset works against the desire for prayer…

So what can we do to slow down?

OR what can we do to keep our prayer life from becoming just another 5 minute quickie that we get out of the way before moving on to the next task?

Hybels suggests that we do 3 things…

1) Journal – keep a journal of our spiritual life. He provided an explicit method of writing on one page and only one page what happened yesterday and our thoughts spiritually on these events.

2) Write out our prayers – I have never done this. It feels pretty foreign to me, but I am going to try it. Here you spend time writing out your prayers and then read the prayer to God.

3) Listen to God.

Much of the last part of the book includes how to listen to God.

We often think of prayer as humanity talking to God…

But how often do we leave time for God to talk to us?

As we hear the voice of God…and listen to the voice of God…and follow the voice of God…

The prayer life moves into another gear….

Yes, I would strongly suggest checking out this book and incorporating aspects into your prayer life.

Pray regularly….pray specifically…

Too Busy Not To Pray was well worth my time to read….

Hope it is helpful to you..let me know what you think in the comments below….

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Sherman Haywood Cox II

Sherman Haywood Cox II is the director of Soul Preaching. He holds the M.Div with an emphasis in Homiletics and a M.S. in Computer Science.