• Mike Hansen

30 Days of Prayer: Start Here

To my Newday Family:

I am privileged to serve as our new prayer coordinator! What does that even mean? The way I see it, it’s simply another way to serve God by serving his people through the inspiration of a deeper prayer life, which ultimately means more of Jesus.

It’s profoundly simple and wonderfully subtle at the same time. There is an underlying mystery to prayer because we do not see to whom we pray. How do our words (or better yet the thoughts and deepest desires – more on that in another blog) get carried to the glorious realms of the Heavenly Zion, the inner sanctuary and the very throne of the Most High God?

I do not pretend to even remotely understand the how. I partly understand the why and definitely understand the need. I hope you do as well.

We have needs, and we talk to God about them. We need to know we are loved. We need to know we are not alone or forsaken. We need to know why we are here and surely must need to know when we are gone, we will be missed.

Before all of those fundamental needs we have as humans, we need Jesus. We need his life-giving Spirit to be inside us in order to simply exist. We need his redemptive intercession on our behalf, or our prayers have no power. We need more of Jesus and less of us.

This, I believe is where all prayer starts: we get out of the way. I meditate on him first – his life, his sacrifice and his grace, and as I shrink down to the right size, then I can pray in confidence because it’s not about me. It’s about HIM.

In order to set the tone for this focused time of prayer during the month of June in 2019, the best place to start is, of course, the Bible. In light of what I said above, spend a few minutes on these three verses, in this order:

  1. John 3:30

  2. Luke 9:23-24

  3. Galatians 2:20

The common theme found in these places is that we die to self. And only as we die to self can Jesus truly live and reign in our hearts and the inner lives no one sees. Our small and insignificant needs are swallowed up by his living presence in our hearts where he can then accomplish more than we could possibly imagine. Our prayers take on a limitless quality because he is limitless. And, don’t think for one minute this happens instantly or without a cost.

Return to the verses above and ask these questions:

  • What part of me needs to decrease and/or die?

  • When that happens, what does it look like? Feel like?

  • What might my prayer life look like with less of me in it?

With all of these in mind, here are the specifics we are working on during this focused prayer in June:

  • Space concerns and a possible new location for the Parker site

  • The outpouring of the Holy Spirit

  • How the body of Christ within Newday can more fully live into serving our community

The challenge we have is how to not be so self-focused but still seek answers to these prayer needs. And the answer is simple: pray them in light of how we can serve someone else. When we pray about space concerns and a possible new location for the Parker site, pray something like,

“God we want to be the best place a person can go to and feel welcome and loved. I pray for the seeking person who walks into our space to be able to find not just a smile from me, not just a warm welcome from a friend but also the opportunity to find a spot where your presence can best meet them. I pray for the family that comes in hoping they can easily find a place to sit together and enjoy being in your presence.”

More of Jesus and less of me. More ways for Jesus to do what he will do with his wisdom and timing, not something I seek which tends to be shortsighted and has inherent limits.

Some Prayer Counsel from Ellen G. White

We have a rich treasure trove of inspired wisdom from God’s messenger of yesteryear in one of our church’s founders, Ellen White. And as an Adventist audience, I would be remise if I didn’t include some her wonderful words on prayer for us that are seemingly timeless in their application these 100 plus years since her death.

No, this will not be a “compilation”-type of communication! Those of you who’ve interacted with them know what I mean. Instead, I will share some powerful insights I’ve found and a few words after, but that’s it. I would definitely recommend reading the book Prayer published in the 90s to find some of those yourself, along with the chapter “The Privilege of Prayer” in the classic, Steps to Christ, like this gem on page 93:

Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary, in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him

For anyone who says, “I don’t know what to say when I pray” this passage offers help. Our approach is simply to talk to God as we would a friend! And keeping that in mind, most if not all of the perceived formalities are removed. Jesus examples this for us as he calls God his Father and even “Abba” which is a very informal way of addressing someone, like, “daddy” for us.

When I talk to God, I can literally talk to him as he sits in a chair across from me. Consider these words, also from Steps to Christ, page 103:

Our God is a tender, merciful Father. His service should not be looked upon as a heart-saddening, distressing exercise. It should be a pleasure to worship the Lord and to take part in His work. God would not have His children, for whom so great salvation has been provided, act as if He were a hard, exacting taskmaster. He is their best friend; and when they worship Him, He expects to be with them, to bless and comfort them, filling their hearts with joy and love. The Lord desires his children to take comfort in his service, and to find more pleasure than hardship in his work. He desires that those who come to worship Him shell carry away with them precious thoughts of his care and love, that they may be cheered in all the employments of daily life, that they may have grace to deal honestly and faithfully in all things.

Take in these words from that paragraph: pleasure, best friend, bless, comfort, joy, love, precious, care, love, cheered, grace.

Are these words I associate with my prayer life? Especially in light of not just the specifics we have to pray about but also as an overall theme for my everyday living – more of Jesus, less of me.

My challenge for all of us during this month of June 2019 is simply pray, “Jesus, more of you. Less of me.” And then leave in his hands all the results after we pray about them.