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Entries in A Better Way to Pray (3)


The Package Is on Its Way!

My son was supposed to have been born on September 27, 1998. But that day came and went. As the nurses were monitoring him every couple days after his due date, I remember my doctor saying, “We see the package and it looks fine.” Then he laughed and said, “When he’s being delivered,
you’ll know.”

As my son grew, I would pray for the bumps and bruises he’d encounter. In the fourth grade, he began having problems in math. I prayed for him to succeed and not fail. By the end of the fourth grade, he had improved a lot. When that year’s report card came in the mail, I held the evidence of answered prayer in my hands (he earned a B!).

When we pray, there is sometimes a temptation to believe that God the Father is like the unjust judge in Luke 18. In Andrew’s book, A Better Way to Pray, he uses this example. When we see God this way, we are believing that we have to be persistent—as if we are wrestling an answer away from Him that He doesn’t want to give. And if we “trouble” Him enough, He’ll “avenge” (answer) us, just to get us off His back (Luke 18:5).

As Andrew says, “That’s not what this passage is saying. God is not like the unjust judge” (pp. 67-68). Andrew explains how Jesus uses this example because He is pointing out a wrong attitude about prayer. “This parable is a contrast showing us the absurdity of such thinking.” Then Andrew says that in Luke 18:8, Jesus basically straightens them out: “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily [meaning when His children pray] . Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (brackets added). In other words, the delay is connected to our lack of faith. It never comes from the Father who answered all things in His Son on the cross in anticipation of our needs—over 2,000 years ago!

Andrew explains that if you see God as an unjust judge when you pray, “…you’re approaching God in an adversarial relationship…and believing what Christ did wasn’t enough” (p. 70). Wow! You might just have to let that sink in. How can you and I pray in faith while seeing Him that way?

Imagine that you call your sister and tell her you are leaving the post office, and you had just mailed her a gift. Then an hour goes by, and she calls you up, crying, “You lied! I went to the mailbox and it wasn’t there.” What would you think? Would you be angry? Then she calls you the next afternoon, but this time she’s angry. “I just went for the mail and the package is still not there! Are you sure you really mailed it?”

This is how we sometimes act toward God when His promises don’t show up right away. I know our Father is not angry with us when we do not understand Him or the wonderful gift He’s given us in prayer. In fact, because of what Jesus did for us, He invites us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of
(Heb. 4:16).

If you’ve ever been unsure about how God responds when you pray, Andrew’s book A Better Way to Pray can help you grow in confidence toward Him. It’s available in CD, DVD, book, and study guide formats. It’s available in Spanish as well. I also encourage you to watch Andrew as he teaches A Better Way to Pray on the Gospel

If this has blessed you, post a comment below.


El Pípila—A Lesson on Prayer

As I was thinking about my prayer life, I remembered the story of El Pípila.

The drum of war resounded throughout the land. It was 1810, and Mexico was fighting for its independence from Spain. Insurgent troops were threatening to take over the city of Guanajuato. Several Spanish troops and loyalist leaders had barricaded themselves in the old grain storage building, the Alhóndiga de Granaditas. Tall walls and big wooden doors made it a good fortress for the loyalists.

To break into this building, the insurgents decided to burn down the eastern door. Juan José Martínez—a local miner renowned for his physical strength—was chosen for the task. He was known as El Pípila. It is said that he tied a large, flat stone to his back to protect himself from the bullets and made his way through the enemy’s fire to get to the door. Once there, he set the door on fire, and as it burned to the ground, the insurgent troops marched right in and took the spoil that was inside the building.

At times I’ve felt like “El Pípila” in my prayer life. Praying for others has felt like a heavy load on my back. What I should have identified as simply a burden to intercede turned into a false responsibility for the salvation, spiritual growth, and safety of the people around me. I’d mistakenly thought that if I didn’t carry this load on my back, the Enemy would win. Can
you relate?

Weariness can set in if, after praying for healing or financial provision for a long time, you don’t see the desired results, or if you engage in spiritual warfare but your problem only gets worse. Maybe you’re feeling like you’re not connecting spiritually in your prayer time. The truth is, when we think we’re praying, sometimes we’re actually doing religious works to obtain favor from God. But God has a better way to pray!

Andrew’s teaching helped me see that God wants us to be believers, not heroes in our own strength.

In his book A Better Way to Pray, Andrew says, “Prayer is communion and fellowship with God. It’s saying, ‘Father, I love You’ and hearing Him answer, ‘I love you too!’ It’s listening to Him in your heart and feeling His pleasure as you spend time with Him. If you did that, you wouldn’t have to spend much time asking for things because they’d just supernaturally show up” (p. 105).

Andrew has also said, “Two thousand years ago, Jesus purchased everything that you [or your loved ones] will ever need, so the New Testament person comes and stands in the finished work of Christ. You aren’t trying to get Christ to finish His work. He’s already done it” (brackets added).

This is liberating! Realize that asking for things is not the purpose of prayer. Change your focus to use prayer to love God and fellowship with Him—abide in the light of His glory and grace. Drop that heavy load from your back. Free yourself to worship God, and the fire of His Spirit will burn down the door to the Enemy’s camp so you can walk right in and take the spoil!

In his teaching A Better Way to Pray, Andrew shares principles that will improve your prayer life and help you experience the freedom and joy that come only through knowing God in spirit and in truth. You can order this teaching as a CD or DVD series as well as a book (English or Spanish) or a study guide. Your prayer life will never be
the same!

Please leave a comment below if this has blessed you!


Amidst Everyday Life

How do you know that God hears your prayers? I remember a time in my life when I didn’t know the answer.

A few years ago, I listened to a teaching about how Christians must follow the format of the Lord’s Prayer while praying or else their words won’t make it to heaven. Around that same time, I would babysit for one of my neighbors on a regular basis. While getting ready to babysit one evening, I asked God if He heard me when I prayed and if my prayers had any effect. Confusion over how to pray and doubt that He was listening had stifled my communication with Him. In response to my questions, I was impressed to start talking to Him like a friend. I didn’t realize that I had slipped into a formula. But a subtle nudge from the Holy Spirit reminded me to stop my formulas and just talk
to Him.

This reminds me of something Andrew says in his book A Better Way to Pray:

“In the Bible, people knelt, raised their hands, and even looked up into heaven at times, but don’t make a religious form out of these things and require their presence in order to consider something ‘prayer.’ You can pray with your eyes open or closed, hands raised or down, standing, kneeling, or prostrate. Since meditation is prayer (Ps. 5:1), you don’t even have to talk out loud! Your communion with God should be constant” (p. 19).

God was showing me how to relate to Him in normal, everyday life. I didn’t have to follow a method; I could just be myself with Him. So, I talked to God about everything—my family, friends, dog, dreams, the past, the future—and then I asked Him to work in other people’s lives. I then wrapped it up by praying for the Christian family I was going to babysit for, whose house I was about to enter.

As I walked through my neighbor’s front door, I saw the dad preparing dinner for his two young daughters. He and I chatted for a bit, and while he was setting down full dinner plates for his girls, he blurted out, “I feel like someone has been praying for us.” He turned around and looked at me. Oh my gosh! I shrieked in my mind as I stared back at him in silence. It had just been a normal conversation with God.

In A Better Way to Pray, Andrew says,

“You just need to learn how to fellowship with God in the midst of everyday life. Do you know how to appreciate Him in the small things? Are you always trying to do something earthshaking or monumental to build your intimacy with Him? You can’t sustain your relationship that way! Adam and Eve walked in the cool of the Garden with God. I’m sure their conversations consisted of: ‘Father, I saw a flower today that I’ve never seen before. You did a great job!’ That’s prayer” (p. 47).

I realized that God Almighty was hearing my voice! Heaven was using my prayer to bless the people in my life! And it definitely made an impact. Knowing this may sound like a baby step of faith in prayer, and that’s probably true. But if babies never take that first step, they’ll never learn how to walk. John 10:27 says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” The line to heaven is always open, and He’s always listening. Now I just need to let God get some words in edgewise!

Are you confused or frustrated about your prayer life? Do you feel like you’re not “doing it right”? You can learn how to transform your prayer life into an intimate friendship with God. Check out Andrew’s teaching A Better Way to Pray. It’s available in CD, DVD, book, or study guide format. You can also watch Andrew teach this topic on the Gospel

Post a comment below if this has encouraged you!