THE HEART of PRAYER (Day 7)

Prayer as a Lifestyle

By Samantha Rodriguez

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”—Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
With lifestyle influencers on nearly every social media platform, the word “lifestyle” carries much more weight in today’s society. From travel blogs to health and fitness channels to fashion pages, these “lifestyles” seem to encompass one’s passion and purpose. In view of this, let’s revisit the title of today’s devotional: Prayer as a Lifestyle
Although today’s scripture tends to be overlooked, it contains a vital message relating to the spiritual warfare Paul writes about beforehand. After urging his audience to equip themselves with the armor of God, he implores them to pray consistently. Some believe that prayer itself is another piece of the armor! As Priscilla Shirer wrote in her Bible study: The Armor of God, “Prayer is the mechanism that brings down the power of heaven into your experience. It is the divinely authorized method that activates your spiritual armor and makes it effective.”
Essentially, Paul was telling his readers that prayer should be a lifestyle! In one verse, he emphasizes the following 4 elements of a prayerful life:
1. Prayer involves the Spirit. 
Praying in the Spirit simply means that we pray with an attitude of submission and a desire to remain in God’s will even when we feel weak and confused. This is the fruit of the Spirit working in our hearts according to Romans 8:26-27!
2. Prayer is not bound by time, situation, or nature.Paul specifically calls us to pray “on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” which means that there is nothing too big nor too small, too simple or too messy, too broad or too specific, to bring before God in prayer! He is always available to hear and speak to us! When you wake up, as you drive, before you enter a meeting, before a meal, during a meal, after a meal, in the middle of a conversation. At any time, at all times, in anything, in everything, with everything. These prayers can be as simple as “Thank You, Lord” or “Help me, Lord” or “Bless them, Lord” or as deep as getting on your knees or laying hands on a friend and praying over them. Prayer is not reserved for meals, bedtime, and church; it should be a constant, ever-present, open dialogue with the Father, as if you were living every waking moment on the phone line with God, never hanging up or disconnecting the line.
3. Prayer is a strategy.Paul stresses and uses prayer in so many of his letters because he knows prayer is a strategy God specifically equipped us with to combat the enemy’s deceitful schemes while also drawing us closer to himself! In fact, God gave us about 650 prayers in the Bible to learn from and follow!
4. Prayer requires intentionality. Lastly, Paul’s wording towards the end of the verse where he says “With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying” compels us to keep the truth about prayer’s importance and power at the forefront of our minds so that we can make prayer a conscious decision and, eventually, a healthy habit!
Therefore, may we strive to live a lifestyle of prayer because it is only when we acknowledge prayer’s power, understand its necessity, and value it as a gift from our gracious Father, that we will be able to draw closer to him and truly live in our God-given purpose. 

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