"How do you get the fire/zeal back in to your prayer time? Why do we go through these dry places where our prayers seem blah (and very 'me-centered'). Why is reading the Word sometimes a chore instead of a delight? How do I live by faith when I can't muster through life?"
So here's my best answer: TRUST...
A while back I had author Emily Freeman on my show and she said the best thing: "Is it more important to please God or to trust Him?" She went on to say that if we focus on pleasing God, we'll quickly get into striving; but if we entrust ourselves to Him, and trust Him for all He is, we'll stay in that place of grace, and we'll please Him in the process.
Using "TRUSST" as an acronym, here are few things I learned about reigniting my prayer life:
T- Thanksgiving: Almost always, when I sense that the fire has gone out and my passion has waned, it's because I stopped being grateful, stopped thanking God for all of the blessings I enjoy. When we focus too much on what we don't have and on what God is not giving us at the moment, we lose sight of the fact that God is always wonderfully good, is beautifully for us, and will never forsake us. Start today by thanking Him for everything you'd miss tomorrow if you woke up and it wasn't there.
"In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thess. 5:18).
R – Repentance: Another fire-quencher is sin and selfish attitudes. Scripture says that His kindness leads us to repentance. When you've spent some time thanking God, conviction returns to your soul. Take the next step and dare to say, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my concerns, and see if there is any rebellious way in me, and lead me in the ancient way" (see Ps. 139). Confession is a cleansing, beautiful thing. God draws especially near to the humble, repentant heart.
"Confess your faults to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much" (James 5:16).
U – Understand: Oftentimes when we feel our flame flickering and not burning brightly, it's because we've approached God only for what He can do for us and not for who He is. A sure way to fan our spiritual flame is to seek Him for all He is worth! Still bring your requests before Him, but then lay them down at His feet, and seek to know His heart. He is the star-breathing God, the Lord of Lords, the King of kings, and the God of angel armies! He is high and lifted up and yet intimately right here. He loves you. Get to know Him more, and you'll have a better understanding of how He is working in your current circumstances. To better know Him is to love Him more; and to know Him is to be filled to the fullness with Him. See the book of Ephesians to understand this better.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Prov. 9:10).
S – Stand: When we don't feel God's presence and His promises don't exactly feel true, it's time to stand on the Word of God because it is true. When I find myself feeling more earthbound than heaven-bound, I rise up, walk around my house and proclaim the promises of God written over my life. I will not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord! (because I struggle with health issues). God's grace abounds in my life so I can abound in every good work! (because I'm constantly in over my head). When I stand on God's promises, and my ears hear my mouth say what's true, in due time,= my heart believes again that His Word is true. I challenge you, walk around, stomp your feet if you have to and proclaim the promises of God. Take your stand right where you stand!
"For You have exalted Your Word above all Your name" (Psalm 138:2).
S – Surrender: Another thing I've noticed is that surrender and spiritual passion are closely linked. When I find myself hanging on to my own understanding, or when I rely more heavily on my fears than I do on God's faithfulness, it's like throwing a wet blanket on my spiritual flame. What's my answer? I get on my knees, open my hands, and I surrender my everything to the Lord once again. I give Him my worries, my "what if's" and the deep desires of my heart. I'm only dealing with partial information. He knows what's best for me (and for you). Try actually getting on your knees, opening your hands and releasing the things you've been white-knuckling up to this point. Say to the Lord, "Father, what does obedience look like here? And who do You want to be to me here? My Deliverer? Defender? Strong Tower? I surrender to You. Show me Your greatness in this place."
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