One of my mentors and member of my ministry advisory council, Lee Grady, recently did a great article on 8 ways to recharge your prayer life. I particularly like his challenge to, “Be more specific.” Although the foundation of prayer is relationship; God loves to answer our prayers.
In my own personal prayer life God has been challenging me to learn in new ways the power of asking in prayer. One of the things that I am learning is that you can’t know that God has answered if you are not specific enough. Maybe this is why Jesus would ask people, “What do you want?”
In thinking about Lee’s challenge to be more specific my mind went to the FBI’s ten most wanted. For those outside the United States this is a list of ten criminals that are at the top of the list that one of our law enforcement agencies want to capture. What if you created a prayer top ten most wanted list for your own life?
In creating this fun list let me encourage you to:
Ask God what you should add to the list. If you start there a lot of crazy things will get eliminated right away. Also you might be surprised at what gets added to your list. God loves to give good gifts to his children. James tells us it is good to ask for wisdom. (1:8)
Check your motives. The book of James encourages us not pray with wrong motives so we can just spend it on our pleasure. (4:3) A good test for me is asking myself, “Will God get glory and joy in this answer?”
Look for areas where God is already at work. In the book Experiencing God, we are encouraged to look where God is at work and then get involved in it. This gives us clues of how to pray. It also often gets us involved in action. To paraphrase Mark Batterson, “Prayer turns into goals, and goals turn into prayer.”
Don’t be afraid to ask God to bless you. Because we have seen people take this asking to a weird place sometimes we are afraid to ask. But we sometimes go to the other extreme. This quote from Nate Ruch, the senior pastor of my home church, will help you: “If you can’t ask God to bless what you are doing then maybe you should be doing something else.”
Let me encourage you to take a childlike attitude with this and have some fun. God can always say, “No.” It is just a way to get you asking if this has been a struggle for you in the past. As an example here is my first draft of my ministry top 10 list between now and the end of 2017.