Have you ever tried telling your kids something, but they are too rowdy or silly-acting to listen? In order to help them focus you tell them to “Get serious!” so you can talk to them. The reason you say this is because you want to communicate something important to them, and you want them to hear you. A serious attitude improves our listening skills. A serious approach to prayer clears the mind for communion with God.
Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. 1 Peter 4:7 HCSB
Get serious and pay attention when you pray! This is what Peter is saying in 1 Peter 4:7. Thirty years back Peter had not taken prayer seriously enough when His Savior had begged him to stay awake and pray. Oh, and he suffered the consequences for it, too.
It is the same kind of seriousness that King Solomon was talking about in Ecclesiastes 7:2 when he said that it is better to go to a house of mourning than to a house of feasting.
Oh really? Who would rather go to the funeral home over feasting with friends? Why would the wisest man say something like that? It’s all about attitude. Solomon knew that when we go to a house of mourning it unspoils us from all of the running, doing and playing that we do for the majority of our lives. We live toward the house of feasting don’t we? We constantly think about what restaurant we will eat at this weekend, what movie we will see next, where we will spend vacation, and on and on and on…But in the house of mourning we begin to think about others – about their pain, their suffering, eternal things and less about ourselves.
So how do you enter your house of mourning? I mean, what clears your mind of worldly things so you can pray? When I get to the place in my structured prayer journal where I pray over my prayer list – a list of precious people and delicate issues – I start with my house of mourning – abused and neglected children.
Even though I am called to minister to women, I have this HUGE heart for children. They are who I weep and intercede for at night. If you knew me you would be shocked at this revelation because believe me when I say that I am not on anyone’s list at church as a possible VBS worker for next year. I am really not good with kids, and they really don’t seem to care for me either. But, I LOVE them, and I can’t stand the thought of them being mistreated in any way. So they are where I start.
What about you? What or who takes you to your house of mourning? Pinpoint it and go to it. I find that when I start praying over my prayer list, praying for abused and neglected children clears my mind so I can pray through my remaining precious prayer petitions.
(Scripture references: Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:31, Luke 22:52-64, Ecclesiastes 7:2)
Tomorrow, I will be sharing more from my experiences in prayer journaling.
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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.
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