Does anyone remember dial-up?
Do you struggle with internet speed or connection at your house?
I am honestly grateful to have DSL even though I live a mile out of a small town in rural Missouri. One thing that helps me stay grateful is that I remember working via dial-up.
For those of you too young to remember, dial-up was the initial internet connection option. It required using a telephone line and literally dialing a number to connect to your internet service provider (ISP). We had to have a phone line just for that because I worked from home 2-3 days a week. I was definitely on the cutting edge of telecommuting in 1997!
I have no idea how many megabytes I was able to upload and download back then. But I know some days at my house it doesn’t seem much better.
What’s your connection speed in prayer?
Have you ever run a speed test to check your connection and the speed of your downloads and uploads? As I did it one day working with my ISP, I thought about how there is a strong parallel to our communication with God.
As you can see in the graphic, there are three components to a speed test. And each test is done in this order, which provides a great illustration of a powerful prayer life.
PING SPEED: the time it takes to connect
It is so interesting that this is first. And it should be in our prayer life as well.
Are you struggling to feel like you can even make a connection with God in prayer?
The Lord is good to show us in His Word the behaviors and attitudes that will negatively impact our ability to connect with Him in effective prayer.
If I regard wickedness in my heart,The Lord will not hear; Psalms 66:18
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” Matthew 6:5-7
Sin and a lack of desire for God’s will thwart the power of prayer in our life.
Also, Jesus taught that asking IN HIS NAME is needed for effective prayer.
“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” John 14:13-14
What did He mean by asking in His name?
- We must know Him personally and intimately. So unless we claim His name; unless we’ve surrendered our life to Him for salvation, this is going to be a struggle.
Do you know Christ? If not, I’d love to introduce you. Reach out!
- What we ask must be consistent with His character
The prayer guide acronym ACTS is designed to maximize optimal speed.
A - Adoration. Praise God for HIS CHARACTER – WHO HE IS. Just as Jesus taught us in the Model Prayer.
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name." Matthew 6:9
There are so many attributes of God we find in scripture - either specifically mentioned or implied. Creator, Sovereign, All-powerful; King of Kings, Alpha and Omega, etc. As you study His Word, you’ll discover more. Watch my blog for more guidance on this.
C – Confession. Confess (agree with God about) YOUR SINS to remove that barrier. 1 John 1:9 gives us the great promise of God’s forgiveness when we confess our sins.
T - Thanksgiving. Thank God for WHAT HE HAS DONE.
S – Supplication. After adoration, confession and thanksgiving, you are ready to begin seeking the Lord to reveal Himself to you and surrendering your needs and others’ to Him.
After the connection has been made in the internet connection speed test, it measures the rate at which you can download content.
DOWNLOAD SPEED: The time it takes to receive information
As children, we learn that prayer is talking to God. I wish I had never taught that myself because it makes it sound like a one-way communication plan. And, frankly, having that perspective leaves many of us as babes in Christ much longer than necessary.
Think of the Model Prayer in Matthew 6.
May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10
Jesus taught us Himself to not only pray for our needs but to pray for God’s will to be done. How will we know God’s will unless we are listening for Him to reveal it to us?
Of course, “listening” to God includes being in His Word. So it may not actually include an audible component. But it is having a heart open to receiving God’s word to us.
Whether you have a Read Through the Bible plan or a devotional book or you use the verse of the day in YouVersion, don’t just read the passage! Spend some time learning about God and His plan for us. Dig in a little bit. If you need some ideas on how to get more out of your time in God’s word, check out this post.
UPLOAD SPEED: The speed at which you can send information to the internet
Now that you’ve maximized your connection speed and your download speed, you’re ready to begin lifting your needs to God.
Of course, the Model Prayer gives us guidance here, as well.
Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:11-13
To optimize our prayer life, we will want to be praying daily for our needs. God wants us to be DEPENDENT on Him.
We will want to forgive because we have been forgiven (note we already have confessed our sins and asked for forgiveness).
And we will want to ask to be delivered from temptation. He will empower us to resist as we surrender to Him.
Another key scripture that teaches us how to pray so that our uploads are effective is in Romans 8:26-27.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. Romans 8:26-27
Isn’t it comforting to know we don’t even have to know the words? But even if we have words, we want the Holy Spirit guiding them so they are aligned with God’s will.
How’s your prayer life? I am praying that every reader takes away something that encourages her to magnify her interactions with the Father. Praise Him for His power to provide all that we need according to His riches in glory!