BAK­ING PRAY­ERS

A recipe

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - BY MARIE STORY

PRAYER OF­TEN WORKS LIKE BAK­ING A LOAF OF BREAD: You’ve got to mix the in­gre­di­ents, knead the dough, proof the dough, then bake the fin­ished loaf.

Step one: mix the in­gre­di­ents. When bak­ing bread, you can’t just throw a bunch of ran­dom stuff in a bowl and ex­pect to get a loaf of bread. If you ex­pect to get some­thing ed­i­ble, you have to use spe­cific in­gre­di­ents.

God hears ev­ery type and style of prayer, and He loves to an­swer prayer even if we don’t re­ally know how or what to pray for. But know­ing what “in­gre­di­ents” usu­ally go into prayer gives you faith that you’ve done your part and the rest is up to God. Here are a few im­por­tant in­gre­di­ents:

1) Pray in Je­sus’ name. In John 14:14 Je­sus said, “You may ask me for any­thing in my name, and I will do it.”

1 2) Be def­i­nite and spe­cific. Tell Je­sus your needs and how you’d like Him to sup­ply for you. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” In or­der to “seek” in the

2 right places and “knock” on the right doors, it helps to know what you’re af­ter and what you’re look­ing for.

3) Claim God’s prom­ises. When Je­sus was talk­ing to His Fa­ther, He said, “Your Word is true.” God’s

3 Word and His prom­ises are real and authen­tic.

4) Have faith for the an­swer. James 1:6–7 says, “When you ask, you must be­lieve and not doubt, be­cause the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That per­son should not ex­pect to re­ceive any­thing from the Lord.”

4

5) Sur­round your prayer with praise and thanks­giv­ing. Paul wrote, “Do not be anx­ious about any­thing, but in ev­ery sit­u­a­tion, by prayer and pe­ti­tion, with thanks­giv­ing, present your re­quests to God.”

5 These are some ba­sic in­gre­di­ents of prayer, just as flour, salt, wa­ter, and yeast are the ba­sic in­gre­di­ents for bread.

Step two: knead your dough. Once your in­gre­di­ents are mixed, it’s time

to knead the dough. It can be hard work. When bak­ing bread, you’ve got to roll your dough over and over, fold­ing and com­press­ing it for a good amount of time.

We don’t al­ways look at prayer as real work—it’s of­ten the last thing we turn to af­ter we’ve worked at a prob­lem on our own for a while—but some­times God ex­pects us to keep pray­ing un­til we re­ceive the an­swer. Luke 18:1 says, “Men ought al­ways to pray, and not to faint.”

6 Step three: proof the bread. The fi­nal step in mak­ing a loaf of bread, right be­fore it goes into the oven to be baked, is the prov­ing or proof­ing pe­riod. It’s when you leave the bread to rise. There’s not much you can do to it at this point to make it rise any faster. You just have to walk away and trust that it’s go­ing to work. Pa­tience is like the “proof­ing” of your prayer.

7 Some­times the dough even has to be punched down af­ter you’ve waited a while, and then you have to let it rise again. This too is of­ten how prayer works. You’ve done your part in prayer, you’ve had faith, you’ve prayed reg­u­larly, you’ve been patient, yet along comes a blow that seems like a big “no” or a “wait.” Faith en­ables you to keep trust­ing even when it seems that all the air has been knocked out of your pray­ers. Faith is like the yeast that will make your dough rise even af­ter it’s been punched down. He­brews 11:1 says, “Faith is the sub­stance”—the proof or guar­an­tee—“of things hoped for, the ev­i­dence of things not seen.”

Step four: bake the bread. Once you put the bread in the oven, you have to wait some more. This can some­times be the hard­est part of the prayer process—wait­ing for the an­swer. You can smell the bread bak­ing—you feel that God is work­ing—but it takes time, and the big­ger your re­quest, of­ten the longer it takes for you to see the an­swer. Lit­tle bread rolls bake in min­utes, whereas a full-size loaf can take nearly an hour. The de­lay doesn’t mean that no bread is com­ing; it just means you’ve got to be patient a lit­tle longer. Once it’s in the oven, you have to trust that it’s go­ing to bake. You can keep open­ing the oven and pok­ing at it, but it’s not go­ing to bake any faster. He­brews 11:6 says that when you come to God with a re­quest you have to be­lieve “that he re­wards those who sin­cerely seek him.” You’ve just got to leave it there

8 and wait till God’s timer “dings.”

Some bread takes longer to cook than oth­ers. Some bread just needs a few in­gre­di­ents, while other types re­quire a larger va­ri­ety of el­e­ments. Some bread is quick to make, while oth­ers de­mand a longer prov­ing process—even a day or two—be­fore they’re ready to bake. So it is with our pray­ers. Put your prayer in­gre­di­ents to­gether, “prove” them with your faith, and trust God for the re­sults.

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