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Being Christian e-book publishers as well as the fact that we just celebrated the 'National Day of Prayer', we tend to get a lot of e-mail asking questions regarding prayer and the receiving of God's 'good things'. Unfortunately many people think that there must be some 'special methods' or 'tools' or even special words needed to get God's blessings! I'm saying it again here, that it just isn't so. No special words, phrases, methods or tools are needed to receive God’s blessings.
One needs to understand that when they are feeling a 'bit strange' or a 'bit philosophical' even ‘serendipitous’ that it is okay and most times those feeling are to assist us in recognizing them as the 'Call To Prayer'. All one has to do is to simply answer 'The Call'. God wants us to receive all the best ‘things’, all those daily needs as well as our wants and desires. So then why hasn't anyone come forward and said, 'wow, all I did was such and such and I started getting so and so'? Why, because it doesn't work that way. It only works that way in scams and multi-level-marketing plans! The actions one does are needed; however the more important aspect is in the change of a human heart. Change your heart to the fact that you are a child of God and that He truly wants you to have all the best of the best. He only wants you to do one simple thing, talk to Him! Oh yes, most people call this 'talking', simply praying.
The most organized way I know of how to bring the power of prayer and a deeper relationship with God is through the use of a daily prayer journal. Now, don't go off and say that I said you need some special tool to get God's blessings. No, the use of a journal is for our benefit and not the ‘magic ingredient’. Will God answer someone’s prayers without the use of a prayer journal? Of course, it is just an easy way to keep organized, but not a necessity. Your daily prayer journal is yours and yours alone, it can be fancy or it can be very plain. Your journal is for your eyes only, so make it 'work' for you and ‘your ways’. Most of the ladies I talk with find it very easy to switch over from doing some sort of a daily diary to a working prayer journal. Many guys, however, frown at the first mention of it until they too realize that they actually do some sort of daily diary keeping such as in their Day timer, Palm pilot, Blackberry, or even their blog. We all have some sort of daily diary keeping to some extent or another. All we need to do is switch from doing a daily 'to-do' list to a personal prayer journal. Once we have some sort of daily prayer journal we need to outline how we should use it.
The next important action you will need to do is to make a promise to yourself that you will set aside a small amount of time each day to have personal devotions with Bible reading and prayers. Whenever you feel moved or you are feeling ‘serendipitous' about a certain thought or over the meaning of a Bible passage write it and some of your other thoughts down and then, let it be for the day. Once every week or two go back and re-read your writings and make new notes of how those questions, thoughts, events and/or prayers worked out. You will be amazed that you can now see 'The Hand of God' moving in your life. That is why it is so important for you to write down everything you are feeling and/or thinking about the day, your work, the family or the Bible passage that you just turned to by accident and so on.
I understand just how simple it sounds however; you will experience it by taking the time to work with your journal daily. This is the beginning of a whole new life for you. By reading the ‘word’ of God (the Bible) you will begin to have a daily ‘walk’ with Him and wonderful results or outcomes just simply begin to happen. If you don't have a Bible look me up at one of the addresses below and I will see to it that you get an electronic version sent to you. Either way spend time with 'The Words of God', and you will begin to understand and to feel closer to God. The amount of reading you should do is up to you as to how much time should you spend is all based on how fast you read and so on. Again, it's all up to you and your ways.
After reading your Bible passages, 'meditate' which means nothing more than to 'seriously think' about what you read and how it applies to you, or if it applies to you at all. Next it is very important that you truly understand your lowliness and the ways you have hurt God. By either doing or not doing, by saying or by not saying what you should have! It is really important to be truly contrite or remorseful for your wrongs as well as have a serious and sincere wanting to correct these in the future, with God's help of course.
Now is the time you have been waiting for; the time for expressing all the wants and wishes you need and/or want. Unfortunately, until one really understands the whole devotional process I am highlighting here, they won't understand that this is not to be the biggest and/or longest part of their devotions. If one truly spends the time and understands just how undeserving we are, any amount of God’s blessings is more than any of us deserve. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t ask for this or that, it is only meant to be understood in light of our contrition. Ask and it will be given unto you in good time. However, don't allow this to become a wish list of things you just must have in order to keep up pace with Mary Lou and her husband! Many deeply religious people have said that once they truly understood personal devotion and true contrition they stopped asking for anything for themselves and spend the time trying to receive 'things' for others who really needed 'things'. I mention this to not marginalize anyone but only to convey the true devotional environment and contrition we need to possess. Once we have read Bible passages, understood our wrongs and developed the proper contrition, and even relayed our desires, it is time for contemplation. One should try to spend at least five or ten minutes not reading, not talking, not wishing, not writing not anything just contemplate silently that God is our Heavenly Father who loves us and wants only the best of ‘things’ for us. Then as we wait in the silence, we want to see if we can hear God speaking to our hearts. After, you have spent enough time for the various stages the next item is to write in your journal all the things you prayed about, all the things you read about as well as all the 'feelings' or 'understandings' you came to with God while in contemplation. That's it! You are now done with your daily personal devotion! You will find that the more you have of these daily devotions the more time you will want to spend doing so.
I will like to think that I can suggest this action and that you would be honest to yourself and in turn you will then promise yourself, to try and do personal daily devotions of thirty minutes or so for just one week! If you do, you will find it the most rewarding time of the day! You will be re-charged and re-inspired and will beam with inner-light. Seriously! Others will ask you if you have been losing weight or working out in the gym. Just smile and say thanks. Now if you wish to share with them that is okay too. You need be aware of this one point, that if you tell another what you have been doing, be prepared for them to come to you and ask you to pray for them a lot of times. Once you have really begun to be comfortable and have found that you now ‘need’ this special time each and every day, you will then be ready to begin praying for others regularly. After a short time it will seem more important to you to pray for others and less for yourself. It is in this understanding that the truly grand benefits begin to manifest themselves for all parties!
When someone asks you to pray for them be sure to write all the facts and details down. Then don't lose the note and don't forget to pray for them once you are in your personal devotional time. There are a lot of fancy prayer journals with professional Christian stationery on the market. I would suggest that for the first trial week, you should go cheap! Use notebook paper and an old dusty three ring binder or something to that effect. Once you begin to feel more comfortable and the need for daily devotions becomes stronger and something you plan to do daily, then spend some money and buy the real fancy version if you wish.
Starting daily devotions with your prayer journal will help keep you focused and mindful of the 'things' you wanted to bring to God in prayer. Working your journal, going back and forth and plotting your progress will help strengthen and build up your faith. As you read the sacred scriptures you not only develop a more intimate daily relationship but will also begin to delve deeper into the various mysteries of God and His word. Being organized with a personal prayer journal will help you to stay focused during prayers. Some people end up sharing, as a legacy, their prayer journals with some younger family members. I don't suggest doing so because you are working on you, for you, and that really isn't anyone's business. You do as you wish; however, you will find that you won't be as open and honest as you would be if nobody but you were reading your journal. In any case, start today because there isn't a much better time to begin daily devotions and working with your prayer journal, than right now! God bless!
Theresa Twogood is Executive Director of OLIN e-Publishing Company Denver Colorado- http://olin.tk . Visit OLIN'S e-BookStore at http://olinepublishing.com/ebookstore_index.html .
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