I know the importance of communicating with God through prayer and fellowship. I've always been aware of that, so it has absolutely nothing to do with my upbringing. Now that I'm older, I genuinely yearn for an intimate relationship with God but my passion for spiritual activities is almost 0. What should I do?
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Prayer is the underlying power to effectively wield any weapon of the whole armour of God (Eph 6:13-18). Therefore the devil does all that's possible to weaken our knees or divert our mind. Here's how you can defeat his mind-oriented strategy. Apart from maintaining a spirit of prayer "always" and "without ceasing," choose that hour for prayer when you are really fresh. Prayer involves mind, spirit, soul and all. Jesus often chose the early hours of the day for His secret communion with the Father (Mk 1:35). Hudson Taylor (1832-1905), the pioneer missionary to China, spent several hours in private devotion each morning before the sun rose. When we are physically and mentally exhausted, concentration in prayer is rather difficult. Prayer means going to the Throne of Grace. We have access to the same by the blood of Christ. A conscious acknowledgement of the power and the merits of the Blood gives us a strong footing against the enemy. Satan trembles when we appropriate the blessings of Christ's blood and make positive confessions (Heb 4:14-16; Rev 12:11). Our prayers must be wrapped up in praise and thanksgiving. God inhabits the praises of His people (Psa 22:3). When the presence of God becomes more and more real, we get absorbed in the spirit of prayer, and distraction is overcome (Phil 4:6). I have found switching over to praying or praising in tongues with the Spirit's enablement quite helpful, because I thus byepass the mind (1 Cor 14:14). When there is no focus in prayer, your mind will begin to wander. Be definite and specific about your requests. Keeping a prayer list and praying over the items one by one is effective. There is no command in the Bible to close our eyes in prayer! Dr. Oswald J. Smith (1889-1986), a great missionary statesman of Canada, used to walk up and down in his prayer closet with his eyes open and praying aloud. He testified that he had walked several miles inside his prayer room! As far as possible one must choose a place where there is least disturbance and noise from the outside world. Jesus has taught us to shut the door of our room before we begin to pray! (Mt 6:6). If you cannot afford to have a room in your house for prayer, choose a corner! In any case, don't forget to disengage the telephone and switch off your mobile! Prayer is a conversation. I have found praying with an open Bible extremely helpful. Reading and praying and reading and praying... (Dan 9:1-3). In spite of following all these guidelines, you still may have the problem of distraction in prayer. Yes, prayer is a battle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual powers of the demonic kingdom. The moment you get a distracting thought, arrest it at once. Give no time to meditate it. Keep resisting the devil and he will flee from you (Js 4:7). In-the-Name-of-Jesus is not a phrase to begin or end a prayer. It is our very authority and foundation for prayer (Jn 14:13). Pray with this consciousness throughout. While Christ is up there in Heaven by the right hand of the Father to pray for us, we have the Holy Spirit within us helping us and interceding for us (Rom 8:26,34). We are to be sincere and persistent and God will take care of the rest. Pray when you feel like praying; pray when you don't feel like praying; pray until you feel like praying!
When you first learned what the Bible really teaches, did you find that your heart began to burn with joy, zeal, and love for God? No doubt you did! Many have felt the same way. (Matthew 22:37-40; Jeremiah 15:16) The challenge now is to keep that intense love alive and to help it grow. We do not want to follow the trend of today’s world. Jesus foretold: “The love of the greater number will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) How can you prevent your love for God and for Bible truths from cooling off? Continue to learn about God and Jesus Christ. (John 17:3) Think deeply, on what you learn from God’s Word, asking yourself: ‘What does this teach me about God? What further reason does it give me to love him with my whole heart, mind, and soul?’ (Read 1 Timothy 4:15.) Such meditation will keep your love burning brightly. Another very important way to keep your love for LORD burning brightly is to pray regularily. (1Thessalonians 5:17; Rom. 12:12) 1Thessalonians 5:17 - In Chapter 17 of this book, we learned that prayer is a precious gift from God. Just as human relationships thrive on regular, open communication, so our relationship with God stays warm and alive when we pray to him regularly. It is vital that we never let our prayers become mechanical—mere routine words that we repeat over and over without real feeling or meaning. We need to speak to our LORD as a child would talk to a beloved father. We want to speak with respect, of course, but openly, honestly, and from the heart. (Psalm 62:8) Personal Bible study and heartfelt prayer are vital aspects of our worship, and they help us to remain in God’s love. Find joy in your worship, think what God had already done for you to make your life joyful! Personal Bible study and prayer are acts of worship that we may carry out in private. Now, however, let us consider an aspect of worship that we carry out publicly: speaking to others about our beliefs. Have you already shared some Bible truths with others? If so, you have enjoyed a wonderful privilege. (Luke 1:74) When we share the truths we have learned about God, we are taking up a very important assignment given to all true Christians—that of preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom.—Read Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20. The apostle Paul viewed his ministry as something precious, calling it a treasure. (2 Corinthians 4:7) Talking to people about God and his purposes is the best work you could do. It is service to the best Master, and it brings the best benefits possible. By engaging in this activity, you are helping honest-hearted people to draw close to our heavenly Father and to get on the road to everlasting life! What work could be more satisfying? Furthermore, witnessing about God and his Word increases your own faith and strengthens your love for him. And our Almighty Father appreciates your efforts. (Hebrews 6:10) Staying busy in such work helps you to remain in God’s love.—Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. As we associate with other worshipers, we strengthen the bonds of love and friendship in the congregation. It is important that we look for the good in one another, as our Almighty Father looks for the good in us. Do not expect perfection from your fellow believers. Remember that all are at different stages of spiritual growth and that everyone of us makes mistakes. (Read Colossians 3:13.) Seek to build close friendships with those who love our heavenly Father intensely, and you will find yourself growing spiritually. Yes, worshipping our Almighty Father with your spiritual brothers and sisters will help you to remain in God’s love. Ask help from elders when you deal with problems, fears, and perplexities because good communication can ensue, Scriptural counsel can be shared, and a strengthening of faith can result. (James 5:14, 15) Remember, we all need strengthening now more than ever.—2 Timothy 3:1.
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