What makes you pray? What is the purpose behind your prayers? What are you hoping happens when you pray? The only way to answer these questions is to do the work of sorting our motivations and desires. By defining what we want opens our eyes to what we need to surrender. In order for this to happen, we must be persistent in our prayers to God and engage in the grueling process of submission. Prayer allows us to get to the places that are hard to reach, those areas of our heart and mind we tend to ignore. It requires us to not only be vulnerable, but also to be willing to let go of our agenda and our will for His own. Surrender is not just giving things up; it’s learning to trust God in different ways. When we come to Him we are often desperate for answers, but in His presence we find that access is enough.
Small Talk: Part 2
Prayer as a Process
August 21, 2016 • Mike Ashcraft
Small Talk: Part 1
Conversation Starter • August 14, 2016 • Mike Ashcraft
It has been said that small talk is the most important unimportant conversations you’ll have. Why? Because these building block exchanges are where intimacy, vulnerability and trust begin to grow. The only way to move towards an authentic prayer life is embracing the awkwardness of exposing our heart to God. Small talk prayers are starting points where we connect with God and explore our relationship with Him. They help us gain a proper perspective where we see the purpose of prayer being more about the relationship than the requests. However, if we want to pray all the time, we must first learn to pray some time, some where. A simple prayer always precedes continual prayer.
Small Talk: Part 3
The Hard Work of Simple Prayers • August 28, 2016 • Mike Ashcraft
If we are not careful, our prayer requests can morph into strict demands. We stand our ground and pester God for insight. We insist He change our circumstances according to our time frame and in the way we see fit. We dictate our faith and our obedience comes with strings attached. In the midst of this pleading and posturing, God waits for us to stop leaning on our own understanding and simply trust that He is in control. Often, the roadblock preventing a breakthrough is unwillingness on our part to surrender our need to know. True peace will always be out of our reach if we allow it to be contingent upon our level of understanding. It is impossible to be anxious about nothing when we are making ourselves sick attempting to understand everything. We don’t pray so we can better understand our world, we pray so we can connect with our Creator.
Small Talk: Part 4
From Talk to Action • September 4, 2016 • Mike Ashcraft
We will not surrender if we don’t trust and we don’t trust what we don’t know. Trust is found in knowing WHO God is and HOW God is. This is why we must turn our attention to God’s Word. It reveals His ways. Transforming our prayer life begins by looking intently at His Word. We have to handle God’s Word in such a way that it becomes authoritative in our lives. This requires us to slow down and listen. The discipline of prayer teaches us the patience to remain. The goal of prayer isn’t answers, but alignment. We begin to understand God’s ways when we align our heart and mind with His peace.