If You Pray Well, You Live Well?

If you pray well, you live well.

I Ain’t Scared

I get uncomfortable. Anxious. Sometimes scared.

It’s nothing new. Through the years I’ve resisted it. I’ve accepted it. I’ve worked on it.

And I’ve prayed about it. A lot.

So when the pastor was asking for a public recitation of prayer one Sunday after preaching on Isaiah 54:17, I wanted to repeat his phrase with everybody else:

“I ain’t scared.”

He was using slang to give us attitude. He was using our togetherness to give us courage. And he was using it as prayer to give us faith.

But would it be true for me to say it? And if so, why don’t I say it more often?

I read another statement of affirmation on Monday:

“If you pray well, you live well.”

It was written by the Puritan author Richard Rogers in the 1500s in his Holy Helps for a Godly Life.

I want to believe it also is true. But is it? And if it is, why don’t we pray more often?

The Pains of Praying

Sometimes we just forget to pray. We get in doing-mode instead of pausing to talk things over with God first.

Other times we find it boring to pray. So we shut it off prematurely. We don’t have time for that.

And then there’s the biggie: Sometimes we don’t pray because we don’t think it works.

We haven’t seen God answer everything, so we stop praying for anything.

But Prayer…

In Holy Helps, Rogers addresses these pains. He suggests we need to recall more frequently the benefits we already have seen from prayer. To pray for the blessings still promised to come.

He encourages us to talk up God’s goodness to him, to ourselves, to others. To verbalize what we know. To see by God’s light in the dark.

And he reminds us that we are being heard. Indeed. God is listening. Our words aren’t trapped in our own heads. They go straight through to the heart of the Father.

Get the Gift

And when we do pray? We are changed. Maybe not dramatically. But we come out different on the other side of prayer than how we entered it.

  • We have more grace to accept and give forgiveness.
  • We have more determination to fight off the bad.
  • We have more hope to pursue the good.

And we’re more acquainted with God.

That Sunday morning I did choose to say this aloud with the congregation:

“I ain’t scared.”

I looked around at my fellow brothers and sisters also saying it. My husband beside me. My friend Tara in front of me. Her husband (also named Jeff) saying it, “I ain’t scared.”

In that moment, seeing big Jeff—a tall, strong man with his hands raised to the ceiling in praise the Father—I knew it:

Yes, we really are safe.

And in that moment, I wasn’t scared either.

Pray Well

I will likely continue to grapple with a certain level of anxiety and fear as long as I’m in the flesh. But I can also have great moments of peace in the midst of it.

I know that I’m surrounded by protection.

  • God hears me.
  • God loves me.
  • God is for me.

And he wants me to live well.

If you pray well, you live well, so they say.

Here’s to praying better.

* * *

Is prayer your first option in crisis? In times of peace? Please share in the comments.

We’re almost finished reading Holy Helps for a Godly Life at Tim Challies’ blog.
More thoughts from it:

30 thoughts on “If You Pray Well, You Live Well?

  1. Liz

    LOVE!!! So good! Remembering how God has answered past prayers does give us a boldness to come before Him. We also have to learn to acknowledge the ways He’s answered even when it wasn’t how we wished He would. And that is HUGE!! Blessings! I ain’t sacred!!!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Glad this hit home with you, too, Liz. I used to keep an answered prayer journal. I probably should pick that back up! It’s always encouraging to look back over answered prayers.

  2. blankPam Ecrement

    Great post, Lisa! I think the Lord just wants us to risk being real in prayer a lot more often than we do. We hear a lot of teaching on prayer and it’s great, but it can also sometimes result in us feeling there is only a right way to do it. We miss that what He most wants is a fellowship/communion communication with us. Our pastor is teaching through the book of Revelation currently (Great stuff!) and was on chapter 8 this past Sunday. He talked about prayer being a sacrifice because what we offer to Him in prayer is laying it on the altar. He also talked about the power of prayer and used the censer the chapter talks about as an example. That censer was filled with the prayers of the saints and God used it and threw it to earth for judgment. So many times I would tell you that prayer is one of my weakest spiritual disciplines. Sometimes my best prayers are a dialogue between me and Jesus written in my journal.

    Have a blessed day and stay cool!
    Hugs,
    Pam

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I love thinking about prayer as laying it all down at the altar. Thanks for sharing that visual, Pam! Lots of good stuff in your insights here. I agree that journaling prayer is often my best prayers too.

      Trying to stay cool here, but it’s hard. ha. Blessings to you!

  3. blankDonna Reidland

    I love that quote by Rogers. Seeing it in your title caught my eye. I appreciate your thoughts on this elusive thing called prayer. I, too, often wonder why if I believe in prayer, why I don’t pray more. Sadly, I realize it’s for many of the reasons you mentioned here.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I’m sure many of us feel this same way, Donna. Unfortunately. We know that prayer is a wonderful gift, yet we often fail to utilize it as much as the Father would want us to. I need reminders often to pray more.

  4. blankKelly Basham

    Love this! Prayer has been on my heart lately. In a crisis I can say that I pray immediately. But lately in the day to day I find there are times when I let business get in the way of having a regular prayer time with God. I really do need to start intentially setting aside time to pray again.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I relate to what you’re saying, Kelly. When I get in a jam, I quickly turn to the Lord to help me with it. But sometimes in the ordinariness of life I can forget that I still need to stay in contact with him just as much. He is a refreshment, not a chore.

  5. blankJune

    The lesson I’m learning when it comes to prayer is that it looks different for everyone. Our relationship with God and the way we interact and relate to Him is as individual as we are. I don’t think I will ever feel like I pray enough, and that’s okay. Personally, I don’t ever want to feel like I’ve got it all together when it comes to spiritual things. This side of heaven, it’s a work in progress! Blessings on your summer, Lisa!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Such positive encouragement, June. You’re right that prayer (and any of the spiritual disciplines!) look differently for each of us. God made us unique and thus we respond to him in our own unique ways. I’m glad there’s no cookie cutter formula that we have to follow, but that we can each be ourselves. I’m glad you are you!

  6. blankJill

    Oh, Lisa–can you send me this about once a week? (Just kidding . . . maybe!) Prayer is so simple, yet so profound. It’s so necessary, yet so elusive. Maybe I think I have a hard time praying because I don´t have it figured out yet. But I’ll NEVER have it figured out! I’ve just got to do it. (So maybe I’ll bookmark this so I see it every day, as a reminder!)

    Thanks!

  7. blankLaura Thomas

    Thanks for sharing this, Lisa— prayer is so precious. And yet I know I don’t talk with my Father nearly enough… I’m not so bad with the quick snippets throughout the day but I have distraction issues with the long and deep. Work in progress right here! Thanks for sharing, friend… Stopping by from #momentsofhope

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      We’re all still a work in progress. So grateful that God is okay with that. 🙂 He knows and understands us better than we do. Glad to have you visit here, Laura.

  8. blankDavid

    Dear Lisa, I tend to pray at the end of the day, not so much in the midst of life, but I do turn to pray when I feel up against it. I don’t expect an answer, or a lifting of my burden — I think of Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 26:39 (and the ridiculous pretentiousness of my putting myself in Jesus’ shoes lightens my mood too). I always say thank you for the good times at my bedtime prayer, but I should say thanks in the moment (like I seek help in the moment). I don’t pray about the things I’m really ashamed about – so I’m editting and managing my relationship with like like I do with my relationships with people :/. You write movingly of praying in a group. Perhaps the way(s) we pray characterises our relationship with God generally. Really nice post 🙂 David

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I’m always interested to hear where you are on your spiritual journey, David. We all have fits and starts along the way, and sometimes we jump ahead and other times lag behind. Thankfully the only thing that really matters is who we are journeying with…with Jesus we know we’re being guided and loved, regardless of how our prayers go and how our Bible study goes, etc. Thanks for sharing.

  9. blankLori Schumaker

    Amen to the power of prayer! I am so guilty of seasons of getting so busy in the business of getting things done, I don’t stop to pray. It’s something I have to monitor closely! Yet, it amazes me because I KNOW the power of prayer. I know the life-giving resource it is. It brings near to Jesus and gives us opportunity to tangibly at times, FEEL the presence of the Holy Spirit. Yikes! How can I miss out on that?

    Love this, my friend! Blessings to you!

    Lori

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      “How can I miss out on that?” I ask myself the same question, Lori. It would be one thing if we didn’t know the power of God through prayer, but by God’s grace we do know. So I have to monitor it closely as well and not forget to pray more often. Grace to you!

  10. blank~ linda @ Being Woven

    I am scared! But God is not and He tells me over and again not to fear, be not anxious, be not afraid. So this is a challenge and always had been. Yet I see the wonders of God and Who He is more and more every day. He is my All so how can I be scared? I cannot when I believe Him. He is Who He says He is. I ain’t scared! He is my Strength and my Stronghold. I just have to remind myself that I am His and He loves me, He made me, He protects me, and He … is … my … everything! As you read, Lisa, you can sense some persuasion having to happen here! : ) Looks like an old book I may need to search for too!
    Your post was so fine! Speical for me tonight. loving you, ~ linda

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      And God in his wisdom is speaking to me through your words tonight, Linda. As I prepare for bed, I have felt a spirit of fear wanting to creep into me based on a nightmare I had last night. But God does not want us to be afraid, but rather to throw ourselves into his hands and rest there. I can’t imagine all that you are going through after losing your soulmate. 🙁 My prayer is that the Lord will continue to give you that spirit of “I ain’t scared” as you get through one day at a time. Yes, we are his, he loves us, he made us, he protects us, and he is our everything. Thank you, sweet friend, for sharing these words with me! Love you too.

  11. blankCrystal Twaddell

    I don’t know where to start with how much I needed to read this today! The depth of understanding it takes to keep prayer at the forefront of our spiritual disciplines and to keep it in proper perspective is worth the effort. I am bookmarking and sharing!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      “the depth of understanding it takes” – That hits home with me, Crystal. I love to understand things, and the more we understand prayer, the more we know to value it! Thanks.

  12. blankfloyd samons

    Loved this post!

    I’m with you, Lisa; the fear and anxiety is always going to be with us while we’re kicking up dust down here, but in our weakness we seek Him and bring our Father and us honor.

    I love that phrase; “I ain’t scared”. And indeed we shouldn’t be, we just need a reminder of the One who is sovereign over all of His creation.

    And lastly, that line, “I ain’t scared”, which is used in the song Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, is now playing in my head.

    “I ain’t scared, brakes are good, tires are fair… (beep – beep – beep – beeeeeeeep)

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I had to look up Hot Rod Lincoln; listening now. Not sounding familiar. But it’s an interesting song. ha. The song I kept thinking about is “I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts.” But that’s a different story. 🙂

      “In our weakness we seek Him” – yep, that’s where I have to keep my eyes focused too.

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