Dave Butts is the leader of Harvest Prayer Ministries. I have learned a great deal from him, and his wife, Kim, about prayer. Dave is a past-president of the International Conference on Missions (I.C.O.M.) In recent years, he has fought his own battle with cancer. Here is another insightful post from Dave Butts:
I’m often asked about my own prayer life. It’s always embarrassing to answer because I don’t feel like a great man of prayer. But the opposite is true also. I hate to answer because it looks like I’ve got it all together. So can I just say that I’ve learned a lot through the years and am praying better than I used to, but still feel like I’m on a journey with a long way to go?
With that as an understanding, I’d like to share some prayers that I pray every day, or almost every day. The purpose for sharing them is to encourage others in their prayer lives. Sometimes it seems that we just get overwhelmed with life and our prayer life shuts down. There are, though, some simple ways to pray that allow us to keep going even when things are tough. Having a good biblical pattern for prayer keeps us on the path to intimacy with the Lord and prevents a crash and burn lifestyle.
The following ways to pray do not keep us from sin. I wish they did! But they do keep us closer to the Lord and cause us to turn from sin and back toward Him. These prayers also keep the fire of the Holy Spirit burning within us regardless of what is going on around us. Prayer ultimately keeps us connected to God and that is the place of growth, protection, and provision.
Fixing Your Eyes on Jesus
I rarely begin my prayer time without spending time in worship. Acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus over not just my life, but over every part of the universe is critical to keeping everything in perspective. The typical prayer that opens and leads to worship is based on the command of God’s Word to “fix our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2). As I pray, “Lord Jesus, today I choose to fix my eyes on you,” it almost invariably leads into a time of worship as I begin to recognize the awesomeness of who Jesus is.
I begin every day with a “Thank You” prayer. Gratitude is huge for us spiritually. When we realize that everything we have and are comes from the Lord, it should create a continual flow of gratitude. Simply thinking through the many blessings we have been given can spark a torrent of thankfulness within us! Sometimes it’s just standing in the shower and thanking Him for hot, clean, water. There have been times when, overwhelmed by gratitude, I find myself simply repeating “thank You”, over and over. What better way to place ourselves before the Lord than in bowing before Him with gratefulness welling up within us? Some good Scriptures for cultivating gratefulness are found in: Psalm 136:1-3, Lamentations 3:22-24, Psalm 118:28-29 and 2 Corinthians 2:14-16.
Dwelling with the Lord
Every day I pray Psalm 27:4, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, gazing on his beauty, seeking him in his temple.” Dwelling in the house of the Lord is a place of intimacy, provision, and protection. David’s great prayer is a simple way for us to keep before us the simplicity of dwelling with the Lord.
Closely tied to this is my prayer of drawing near to the Lord. It is based on James 4:8, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” How simple, yet how powerful to simply draw near in prayer, knowing that the Lord has promised that He then, would draw near to us in response.
Putting on Your Armor
An important part of every morning prayer for me is putting on the armor of God. In obedience to Eph.6:10, I include this as a part of my prayers each day. It can be as simple as saying, “Lord, today I put on your armor by faith.” Of course some days I expand on that and go over every part of the armor in prayer. The important thing is that we do this. It helps us walk in awareness of the battle going on around us and of the Lord’s provision for our victory.
These are my normal, daily prayers. I offer them to you as a way to begin a life of prayer that honors the Lord and invites Him into your life in power and according to His purpose. There is, of course, much more for us to pray about, but this is my “Good morning, Lord Jesus” sort of praying that awakens my soul to the day and prepares my heart for the Lord to have His way.