Prayer and Fasting (Part 2)

Bob Bouwer

Read: Acts 13:1-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said . . . (v. 2) People diet for various reasons but mainly to lose weight. In contrast, when Christians fast, one of the reasons they do it is to gain God. When I have used fasting and prayer as a spiritual discipline, I experience the wonderful benefit of a deeper relationship with God. When I fast and pray, I discover how dependent I am upon …

Prayer and Fasting (Part 1)

Bob Bouwer

Read: Matthew 6:5-18 And when you pray . . . And when you fast . . . (vv. 7, 16) I grew up in a Christian home that deeply valued prayer. In addition to praying in church and Sunday school, we prayed as a family at meals and before bedtime, and we often prayed the Lord’s Prayer. While most would agree that prayer is necessary in a Christian’s life, many believers have never been taught about fasting. Fasting is a …

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Bob Bouwer

Read: Psalm 100 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! (v. 4) Last summer, my wife and I had the privilege of attending a Chicago Cubs baseball game. When we got to Wrigley Field, we waited in a long line to go through the gate guarded by metal detectors and bag checkers. I remember feeling excited and even impatient as I anticipated getting through that gate. I couldn’t wait to …

Disciplined to Pray

Bob Bouwer

Read: 1 Peter 4:7-11 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. (v. 7) According to a Baptist Board discussion about a Barna study some years ago, the average Christian prays about one minute a day, whereas the average pastor prays about five to ten minutes a day. Whatever the actual time is that we spend praying, what would happen if we prayed more than we do? Whenever you …

A Disciple’s Prayer

Bob Bouwer

Read: Nehemiah 1:1-11 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. (v. 4 NIV) E. M. Bounds once said, “The church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.” There are plenty of how-to guides out there on prayer, but in the Bible God gives us his servant Nehemiah whose life and prayers challenge us to be people who pray. When …

Praying Long (Part 3)

Bob Bouwer

Read: Psalm 141 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! (v. 2) Would you ever consider offering to God an “evening sacrifice” of prayer? I wonder if the psalmist regularly prayed his evenings away. What if we were to find a way to encourage ourselves to linger before God in prayer with greater focus and intensity? We busy ourselves with many activities, yet what about praying? Here …