December 4, 2018

Topic Day|Prayer

Pray—A Four-Letter Word to Use Regularly

Romans 15:30–33

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30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. 33 May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Pray—A Four-Letter Word to Use Regularly

Bio | Meredith Ratliff

My name is Meredith Ratliff. I have been married to Steve for 13 years and have three children who are six, four, and one year old. When I'm not sleeping on my down time (see ages of children), I'm drinking a good latté (or two) and trying unique/new foods with my husband. We have aspirations to one day eat our way around the world.

Central Truth

It's God's heart that we petition Him on behalf of fellow believers. 

Devotional | Prayer

Prayer. That word alone may have many implications. Growing up, I went to a school where we went to chapel every day. We recited prayers from a book. These prayers were written, beautiful prayers for...

Prayer. That word alone may have many implications. Growing up, I went to a school where we went to chapel every day. We recited prayers from a book. These prayers were written, beautiful prayers for all occasions. In my family, prayer was mainly employed before meal times. Any praying outside of that felt pressured and awkward at times. I remember always being scared to pray aloud for fear I would say the wrong thing because the people who did pray aloud were always eloquently long-winded. This may or may not have been your experience. As an adult, I struggled with what prayer should really be or look like.

What does the Bible say about prayer? We see Jesus rising early in the morning to be with his Father in prayer (Mark 1:35). We see Him consistently lifting up the people around him to the Father. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to "pray without ceasing." Colossians 4:2 (NIV) tells us, "Devote yourselves to prayer." Psalms 145:18 notes, "The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth." 1 John 5:14-15 gives us the assurance that He hears us if we ask according to His will. Jesus also teaches us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 and that we should not use vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7).

Some principles I see from these Scriptures and the life of Jesus include:

  • God wants a relationship with us, not us praying at Him. That involves talking and listening.
  • When we pray for others as Paul is asking the believers in Rome to do for him, we remove the focus from ourselves and our own desires and focus on loving others (Matthew 22:36-40). What better way can we love our neighbors as ourselves than interceding to the Lord on their behalf?
  • Finally, prayer creates intimacy among believers. The more I pray for believers in my life, the more I have a deeper understanding and concern for their needs.

I'm praying right now that you will have a deep concern for others around you and faithfully lift them up to our Father.

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Discussion Questions

1. Have you ever prayed like you are talking to your best friend? This is an interesting exercise that I've done before praying in a group. We looked at each other (instead of with head bowed and eyes closed) and tried to speak to God as if He were sitting right next to us. I challenge you to try this and discuss your experience with a friend or community group.

2. What are some other areas for which Scripture commands us to pray (try 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Hebrews 13:3)? How can you be faithful to consistently pray for one of these areas? 

3. How do you know you are praying God's will as stated in 1 John 5:14-15? has a great answer to this question that you can find HERE.

8 Comments available

Rita Satagaj 6 months ago

What a wonderful devo Meredith. I love the idea of praying “like you are talking to your best friend.” God loves us so deeply and I surely love God with my whole heart that I do love him even more than my best friend so I can do that! I actually do this many times while praying. Before retiring, I spoke with a high school student about prayer. He was asking lots of questions. I told him to talk to God like he was a close friend, that he didn’t need to sound full of knowledge, just genuine. This hit home to me today. This is also a good reminder to me personally to not be concerned that others may pray more eloquently than myself as God looks at my heart and not my eloquent words.

greg jones 6 months ago

God, this is what I’m thinking about___. Be in those thoughts and reveal yourself in them. Thank you.

Jonathan Steele 6 months ago

This is great encouragement! A strengthened prayer life is something I very much need.

Michael Scaman 6 months ago

This is one of five Amen’s in the book of Romans. Most of them related directly to God’s glory.

Romans 1:25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Romans 9:5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 15:33 May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Romans 16:27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Sue Bohlin 6 months ago

Thanks, Meredith. I’ve had several game changing moments in my Christian life when it comes to prayer. Probably the biggest was the image of sitting at the control panel of a nuclear power plant. Those engineers flip switches and turn dials to make power flow; that’s what happens when we pray. God‘s power flows from heaven to earth, and we get to be a part of it. I love not just flipping switches but cranking up the dial and asking for a WHOLE LOT of power to flow!

Hope Harris 6 months ago

I love your suggestion to gather and pray with a group with our eyes open and actively listen to one one anothers prayers.

It reminds me of the Jewish passover tradition of sitting a place at the table for Elijah. What a concept to have a seat for Jesus in our prayer circle.

Lindsey Driscoll 6 months ago

Thanks for the devo Meredith! I love that Paul asks for payers for action to: be rescued (15:31), be acceptable (15:31), and to come to Rome and be refreshed (15:32). Paul desires that all his actions follow God’s will so that God would be glorified and his peace be made known to many. I’m pondering today what actions do I need to pray for for myself and others? Sure, I’ve said my fair share of prayers for healing; but what about boldness, and acting in the way of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-25)? This passage is a great example to look at along with how Jesus tells us to pray in Matthew 6.

Hugh Stephenson 6 months ago

…so that…

So what?

Paul asks for prayers “SO THAT by God’s will I may come to you with joy”.

More telling, in the preceding passage Paul’s prayer is totally oriented to aid in His service for Jesus. Got it. Service to others on behalf of Christ brings joy.

A friend had a recent epiphany and was asked this question (paraphrasing) – “When making a decision, which choice leads to dependence, service and humility and which choice leads to independence, self-service and pride.


So what?

It’s about joy. Dying to self is about joy (Luke 9:23). Obedience is about joy (Luke 22:42), (John 15:10-11). Prayer is about joy (John 16:24)

A friend asks, “Are you a Jesus follower or a Jesus stalker?”

Are my prayers rote and a checked box?

Or are they a beautiful conversation as Meredith suggests?

Too often I don’t like my answers.

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