Aligning Prayer

by Myron Heckman on February 27, 2013

 It ws suggested to me that I post a message on "Aligning Prayer" for GGOCC goodgle group. In the meantime two posts touched on what I am thinking. I have a quote from each of them that relates to my message.

"Many people have realized in order for us to know God, in order for us to have a desire to be with Him, we will listen intently to His Word to us. It means listening every day. We would allow that Word of God to dwell deeply in our hearts and we’d allow the life of Jesus, the presence of Jesus, to transform our own lives. His life in us would change the way we think and the way we make decisions. We would embrace the process of allowing Jesus to live His life through us and we’d enjoy the presence of Jesus." 
                        - Ed de la Cour, Jr.
"If we avoid prayer, or if we make it a time only of intercession for others or of presenting our needs, we are not creating an environment in which the Lord can whisper as an intimate lover to our innermost being.  The result is that these unrevealed attachments remain in place because only the Lord can enable us both to see them and to let go of them.  So we may have an intention of being men and women of God in our time and in our region, but apart from the Lord's grace within a space--in time, in privacy, in our hearts--that we have intentionally set aside for his grace to be received, we will fall short.  Praying for grace to create and to sustain this space may be the first step in receiving it, because the enemy hates our intimacy with the Lord, an eternal intimacy he traded for a temporary authority, and he will provide many distractions from it."
                      - Gayle Heaslip
So in accord with those thoughts I look at an example of Jesus' praying.
  - Myron Heckman, Pastor, Cape Cod Bible Alliance Church
Aligning Prayer

Picture what God could do with a congregation fully submitted to His will.

Picture what God could do with churches across Cape Cod fully submitted to His will.
It’s what we long for in the Glory of God on Cape Cod.


And it must begin with us individually aligning our wills with God’s will, aligning our hearts with God’s desires and affections. Then a holy virus of selfless Spirit-empowered living and service can infect one another with a contagious godliness.


One of the unique challenges to living according to our God-given purpose in our day is the things that insidiously compete for our attention. We live with more existing distractions than any generation in history. In August of 2012 Apple Corporation became the highest valued company in the world. The iphone, ipad, and ipod are symbols of powerful instruments that bring greater ease to our lives, yet easily divert our focus. Sit down for a half hour for reading emails, researching a product and browsing a few article, and it can easily morph into a marathon session. And almost unknown to us, God gets squeezed out. Put that on top of usual stresses and typical  discouragements and we can lose our way.


We don’t want to waste our lives. We don’t want to waste even a day, nor waste the opportunity we have as strategically placed ambassadors for Christ in this spiritually needy peninsula.


A story about Jesus gives us guidance for staying true to our God-given purpose in the midst of distractions. The background of the story is this: Jesus had a very full Sabbath day. He preached in the synagogue, cast out a demon, healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and he was just getting started. When the sun went down, the whole town of Capernaum gathered at his door, and he healed many, and cast out many demons. (Mark 1:32-34) 

If you or I have that kind of day, we know what we’re supposed to do the next day – more of the same, right there near our hometown, where we can be so useful. But Jesus didn’t jump to that conclusion. Here’s what He did next:
Mark 1:35
35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
After a wonderful day full of significance Jesus got up early – a long while before daylight. Silently he slipped away to a deserted place, and there he prayed. He is an example for us. He was the Son of God, bringing the kingdom of God to this earth, with authority over sickness and demons, and yet He too remained in close fellowship with his heavenly Father. We aren’t told what He prayed about, but what happens next is our clue.
36 And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”
If everyone is looking for you because they have seen you heal and cast out demons (v 32-33) then you know what to do. You respond and go spend time with those people. You do all the good you can do.


But Jesus surprisingly said “no” to that.

38 But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”
In order to keep on target, to keep the focus of His mission – His purpose -  Jesus prayed.


Jesus had come to bring his message of the Gospel of the Kingdom to all of Israel, and He needed to get on with that. He could spend a lifetime healing and casting out demons, and do wonderful earthly good, but he would have missed the eternal good and wasted the opportunity. So even the Son of God, who had all authority given to him, needed to seek His Heavenly Father in prayer in order to keep on course.  By prayer, Jesus aligned His heart to His Father’s purpose.


There was another time when Jesus did this – in the Garden of Gethsemane.  There Jesus fought a battle over the anticipated physical pain of the cross, its emotional humiliation, and even more the spiritual pain of carrying all our sins upon Himself, and bearing His Father’s wrath against sin. What did He do in that Garden? He got on His knees and prayed. The pain is seen in His prayer “Father, if it possible let this cup pass from me.” But in prayer He aligned Himself with the Father’s eternal purpose. “Not my will, but Yours be done.”


If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, prayed through His choices, then it follows that you and I certainly need to be people of prayer as well. If God the Son needed to pray in order to keep the focus of his purpose on this earth – then too we must pray in order to keep on our God-given purpose.

We need time before our Heavenly Father, to keep our focus straight, to remember our purpose, to keep our love for God first.

Think of Nehemiah, the Old Testament story of a Jew in exile, serving in the King’s court who heard of the broken down condition of the city of Jerusalem. When he heard that, he sat down and wept and mourned for many days, and was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.  He confessed the sins of Israel, and took hold of God’s promises to keep Israel in the land if they obeyed God, and he wanted to be used by God in his unique position as cupbearer to the emperor of the world. And he was in fact used by God to lead in restoring the walls of Jerusalem and lay the groundwork for the Messiah to be born in Israel centuries later. It began with his aligning prayer in Nehemiah 1.
Pray in order to keep on your course with God. Listening, responsive prayer is essential to a godly life.


As an illustration, here’s a list of perspectives and things that we can so easily get out of order. It’s titled “Funny”.

Funny how $100 "looks" so big when you take it to church, but so small when you take it to the mall.

Funny how long it takes to serve God for an hour, but how quickly a team plays 60 minutes of basketball.

Funny how long a couple of hours spent at church are, but how short they are when watching a movie.


Funny how we can't think of anything to say when we pray, but don't have difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend.


Funny how we get enthralled when a football game goes into overtime, but we complain when a sermon is longer than the regular time.


Funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the Bible, but how easy it is to read pages of emails.


Funny how we need two or three weeks advance notice to fit a church event into our schedule, but can adjust our schedule for other events at the last moment.


Funny how hard it is for people to learn a simple gospel well enough to tell others, but how simple it is for the same people to understand and repeat gossip.


Funny how we believe what the newspaper says, but question what the Bible says.


We need help, don’t we? We must live in continuous dependence upon God’ guidance.  

If we don’t pray we will drift. Prayer is a vital part of our Christian life. Sort out before God what is important in the Lord’s eyes.
Here’s a help in remembering what to include in prayer that aligns your heart with God’s heart. It uses the word P.R.A.Y. as an acronym.


P – Praise. Declare the wonders of the Lord.

R – Repent. Turn from any wicked ways.
A – Ask. Along with intercessory (asking for others) and petitioning (asking for our needs) prayer, ask for guidance – and be quiet before the Lord.
Y – Yield. Turn your will over to God each day.


It is saying: “God, today I want to do your will. I want your will to be done on this earth, and in my life, as it is in heaven. Glorify Yourself, and give me the grace to trust You, to thank You, and to obey your moral will each step of the way. And give me the courage to walk through any doors you open to me.”


There's an insight from A.B. Simpson, from “Days of Heaven on Earth.” He crossed the Atlantic Ocean as a passenger on a ship. There was no shore to be seen ahead or behind, and no path was marked out on the sea. Yet when they came within twenty miles of land, it was as if they had followed a great chalk line upon the water.  How had they measured and marked their course?  Day by day the captain had taken his instruments and, looking up to the sky, had fixed his course by the sun and the stars at night.  He was sailing by the heavenly, not the earthly lights.


Set the course of your life by heaven’s North Star. Be a listener in prayer. Part of this involves what is called “Christian mysticism.” It means that you are in communion with God, and by His Holy Spirit He prompts and guides you. This should never replace or in any way displace the Word of God, His revelation of Himself and clear moral direction for you. Personal leadings are always to be under the Word of God and in accord with the Word of God. The Holy Spirit who inspired that Word will convince you, convict you, prompt you, and clarify your priorities according to His Word. He can lead you to minister to someone, to bless someone by word or deed, to serve in some place.

We are about 30 days out from Good Friday and Easter. This is a good time to develop and deepen godly patterns. Let’s follow our Lord by devoting ourselves to daily aligning prayer in these weeks.


Be renewed in your purpose, and re-tuned to godly priorities by spending time with God to talk to Him, and listen to Him, and to submit yourself afresh to His direction. Align yourself with God’s purpose for you by listening, yielding prayer.