Warmth in Giving

Most evangelical Christians today pray the way sailors use their pumps—only when their ship is leaking. When that happens, they work at prayer furiously. The rest of the time they don’t want to know about the discipline of prayer. This type of prayer is called need-driven prayer.

We must take prayer seriously. Here are a few simple directions on the “how” of praying.

Give prayer adequate time. Can you imagine two people in love with each other but who talk only if they need something? No relationship will grow if you get on the phone, give the person a list of requests, then hang up. Yet five minutes is—on average—how long most evangelical Christians spend in daily prayer. Five minutes! Be warned: You will reap exactly what you sow.

Give prayer adequate space. To pray properly, we need to go into a place where we can concentrate without being disturbed. You may think you are the kind of person who can pray at the ironing board, with the television and stereo going, and with a telephone jammed against one ear, but that’s not likely true. When Jesus advised, “[W]hen you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father” (Matthew 6:6), He meant for us to find a place where we can focus on God and not be distracted.

Give prayer adequate attention. To pray effectively, you will have to prioritize your prayer time. This does not tend to be welcome news to people with demanding jobs and small children, but there is no way around it. Prayer should be marked on your calendar.

Consider following Jesus’ example of rising early in the morning for prayer. There is no Scriptural command for this, but it will allow you to offer the firstfruits of your day to God. Of course, early morning prayer does not allow us to switch off afterward. We should pray in every situation because prayer is both a discipline and a lifestyle. It is the most important part of every day.

Prayer: Father, help me to take prayer seriously and to give You the time, space, and attention You deserve. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon series The Prayer That God Answers: LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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