Michael Vick just signed a six-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles for 100 million dollars -- but he still needs a coach! Why? Because coaches help us get better. This is one of the reasons why I appreciate Jim Nicodem, the author of Prayer Coach. He helps me to "get better" at prayer.A while back I sat under Jim's tutelage. He provided some helpful tools for tackling prayer. Then, like a good coach, he asked a very penetrating question.
First the tools. Jim suggested the acronym C.H.A.T. as a prayer guide.
CONFESS: Acknowledge sin and ask the Lord for his forgiveness.HONOR: Give God the praise he is due.ASK: Boldly lay out our needs before the Lord.THANK: Appreciate God for his goodness and for his work in our lives.
In addition to C.H.A.T., Jim recommended praising God using the alphabet. Just start with "A" and find a word that will launch you into praising God. "God, I praise you that you are ABLE, able to take care of my problem with . . . ." Next, go to "B" and pick a word that will launch you into another chorus of thanksgiving or praise. "God, I praise you that you are BIGGER than anything that is coming my way today." You get the point.
Those were a couple of the tools. Now for his penetrating question. Jim asked, "When it comes to praying for others, if you are not praying for them, who is?" Think about that. If you are not praying for your kids, who is? If you are not praying for your co-workers, who is? If you are not praying for your neighbors, who is?
This question has particular relevance for our church. We have been challenging each other to pray for our neighbors -- at least every Wednesday at noon. We are asking God to help us get to know them, to serve them, and to build the kind of friendships that honor Christ and win the right to be heard. Jim's question is a fresh reminder for me that I must intercede on behalf of others. God calls me to it. Besides, if I am not praying for them, who is?
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. James 5:16-18 ESV