How to Pray with Intention

Try this three-step approach to make the most of your time with God excerpted from Mornings with Jesus.

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How to Pray with Intention

“If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

I confess that sometimes I treat the Lord like a heavenly ATM. I come to Him with a list of requests and expect Him to fulfill my needs in the same way I punch my PIN number into my bank’s ATM and anticipate the cash I want to mysteriously appear. I neglect to talk to Him when things are going well, but I come running to Jesus when things go wrong and blurt out my requests.

I’m getting it all backward, am I not? I must learn to praise Him first, to tell Him how much I love Him. I don’t say it nearly often enough. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and He cares about me!

This is astounding. I’m a sinner. I’ve done things that don’t please Him. I need to confess them to Him—both the things I did and the things I didn’t do, the sins of commission and those of omission. I usually thank Jesus for the good things in my life but neglect to thank Him for the troubles I have.

It seems counterintuitive to be grateful for losing a job, for illness or distress, but Christ has His hand on that as well. He is able to redeem every situation and convert what is troubling into something positive. He asks me to trust Him and to give thanks in every circumstance.

First I will praise. Then I will give thanks and confess my sins. Only then will I come to the Lord with my appeals and entreaties. He is able to make my prayers less about myself and more about others, deepen my prayer life and bless the time I spend with Him.

Faith Step: Organize your prayer with intention today. Praise Him first. Thank Him second. Confess. Then bring your appeals to Him.

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