I received a lovely email from Tamela, whose blog is called Tamela's Place. She had a message from Max Lucado about prayer. I sent this respoonse and wanted to share this with you too. I consider this instructions for a better new year.
Prayer is the most fantastic, powerful asset we have as Christians. I really don't know why, but it pleases God that we plead with Him, struggle with Him, bless His Holy Name, Praise Him, and listen to Him. Prayer changes things. I know this, really know this.
God will do all the blessings and directing as He had done so in the past. However, I can assure you that He will not do it exactly as He did it in the past, nor will He answer prayers as you expect. His answers will be better, more appropriate, and will always show great creativity.
The first value of prayer is not to have things turn out the way we want. It is to peel off our sinful selves and to find ourselves in the center of God's vast Kingdom. When we see ourselves herein, we see the prayers answered even before the perfomance. It is the best place to be.
What makes prayers powerful and to be able to be located inside God's Kingdom? Forgiveness of sins, a desire to be crucified with Christ, read your Bible everyday, and spend most of your prayer time listening instead of dictating.
Blessings to all who read this.