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Topic: Prayer

teens

12 Things to Pray for the Teens You Know

Being a teenager is hard. Being a Christian teenager is harder. We are walking through turbulent years, carrying pressing burdens, feelings, temptations, desires and fears. As teenagers, we wrestle with living through growing pains—as Christ-followers, with living out our faith. We need your help. More specifically, we need your prayer. […]

Bible resources

Key Connections (March 22, 2017)

8 Prayers You Should Regularly Pray for Your Pastor (Stephen Altrogge, The Blazing Center) Pastoral ministry is a business unlike any other. It is a dangerous business. A sacred business. A business where the souls of people are at stake. Should I Give Up Something for Lent? (Denise Loock, Unlocking the Bible) […]

fear of the Lord

Five Prayers to Grow in the Fear of the Lord

As believers, we know we are to honor and fear the Lord, but our culture doesn’t lend itself to a reverential disposition. Instead, our culture does us the further disservice of not having much appreciation for the truth. To acquire both—reverence and truth—we have to search the Scriptures and combat […]

Bible resources

Key Connections (March 15, 2017)

The Secret to Job Satisfaction (Marshall Segal, Desiring God) Another paycheck may feel like our most immediate need, but it is another grain of sand compared with all God will give us in eternity. Does God Just Tolerate Me? (Ryan Higginbottom, Unlocking the Bible) I can be persuaded that [God] loves me […]

president's day

10 Prayers to Pray This President’s Day

It’s President’s Day. Workers rest from their labors and schools temporarily close. This is a day of honor, a national holiday to remember the forty-five men who’ve served our country in the prestigious role of President of the United States. Regardless of what the title POTUS evokes for you, President’s […]

Bible resources

Key Connections (February 8, 2017)

Do I Really Need To Suffer? (Tim Challies, Challies dot Com) Should I hope for pain or even seek out suffering if I want to continue to grow up in the Lord? A Prayer For When Your Faith Feels Weak (Caitlin Williams, Unlocking the Bible) Sometimes my faith feels too small…when that happens, […]

heart

Cultivate a Prayerfully Expectant Heart

Do you expect God to answer prayer? Or do you, like me, struggle to maintain a prayerfully expectant heart? For years, maybe even decades, Simeon had been waiting for God to fulfill a promise. Was he weary of waiting? I don’t think so. Simeon was a man of faith, “righteous […]

weak faith

A Prayer For When Your Faith Feels Weak

Sometimes my faith feels too small. Or maybe I allow the things of life to become too big. Regardless, when that happens, prayer becomes a struggle. So it’s helpful for me to write out my prayers, allowing Scripture to inform them more deeply and reign in my rampant thoughts. This […]

Uncomfortable Bible Verses

What to Do with Uncomfortable Bible Verses in the Psalms

The scene in my life is familiar. Something weighs on my heart: a fear, a temptation, or a thought-battle. Seeking comfort, I naturally go to the Psalms. I want to be on the path that is straight and narrow; Psalm 5 is my pick for prayer against temptation today. This […]

Bible resources

Key Connections (January 11, 2017)

7 Ways Smartphones Can Enhance Your Spiritual Life (Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition) Christians must therefore think critically about how smartphones affect us…Yet in watching out for the pitfalls of technology we should not overlook the ways that smartphones can be useful for spiritual formation. We Read the Bible Together…You Can, […]

prayer life

Fresh Fuel for Your Prayer Life

One of the joys I have as a pastor is to talk with people about their spiritual lives. Often, people have a pressing issue they want to discuss, but when that is not the case, I sometimes bring out the “envelopes.” Some time ago, I developed a series of questions […]

Bible resources

Key Connections (January 4, 2017)

Bible Reading Plans for 2017 (Nathan W. Bingham, Ligonier Ministries) Many Christians take the beginning of a new year to evaluate their Bible reading habits, and then change or begin a Bible reading plan….For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of Bible reading plans for you to choose from. Do We Expect More […]

Eight Free Ways You Can Support Unlocking the Bible

Unlocking the Bible runs on God’s faithfulness showcased through your generosity, prayers, and support. Perhaps you’re unable to financially support the ministry, but you’d like to help us in another way. If that’s the case, we thank you and would love to stir your creativity with eight ways you can […]

Bible resources

Key Connections (November 16, 2016)

Walking with Our Children through Suffering (Sarah Walton, Set Apart) What do we do when suffering strikes in our kid’s lives? How do we prepare our children for a world that involves disappointment, pain, and loss? 3 Motivations to Hate Sin (Erik Raymond, The Gospel Coalition) Until sin is actually hated […]

Bible reading

22 Prayers for Your Bible Reading

Reading the Bible before praying is like putting the cart before the horse. The proverbial horse is the Holy Spirit of God, who empowers and enlightens our Bible reading as we mine the depths of his Word. The proverbial cart makes up our willing eyes and hungry hearts, the Spirit-led […]

hope in Christ

The Two Sides of Hope in Christ

I was talking with a young girl who is facing what could be the most difficult trial of her life. She expressed her biggest fear is that it will never come to an end, that she won’t get through it. In that moment, I wanted to be able to promise […]

small group

Three Ways to Encourage Earnest Prayer Requests in Your Small Group

We sat around the warm fireplace, journals open, pens ready, and eyes eagerly awaiting the wisdom of our women’s ministry director. A group of small group leaders from our church had gathered for a night of reflection, learning, and sharing. The first semester of small group had flown by, and now […]

Bible resources

Key Connections (October 5, 2016)

How to Sabotage Your Pastor’s Sermons (Erik Raymond, The Gospel Coalition) Hearing a sermon is not an automatic sanctification pill. Sadly, many times the sermon gets undermined by other factors….With that, here are five ways to sabotage your pastor’s sermons. Is God Tired of Listening to Me? (Denise Loock, Unlocking the Bible) Do […]

Is God tired of listening

Is God Tired of Listening to Me?

“I’m tired of praying about it.” My frustration spilled out in those six words. Yes, the statement wobbled on the border between whining and honesty. But I sat among friends in the women’s small-group Bible study; no one would judge me there. In fact, several of them nodded. One said, […]

contentment

A Prayer for Contentment

Oh Lord, you are my shepherd and I should not be in want, but so often I struggle to be content and do want; forgetting that you have graciously provided me with every spiritual blessing in Christ and everything I need for life and godliness. Thank you for often not […]

pray with faith

What Does It Mean to Pray with Faith?

God’s Word provides a rich catalog of amazing promises of what prayer can do. One such Bible verse is James 5:14-15, which says, Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of […]

prayer

Three Biblical Practices for Prayer

According to the Pew Research Center, 55 percent of Americans say that they pray every day. However, their prayers may not be the kind of prayers that Jesus taught the disciples to pray. From the Expositor’s Bible: Colossians and Philemon written in 1902: Many people’s notion is that prayer is […]

scared to pray

For People Who Are Scared to Pray

I used to think I was bad at prayer. It may sound funny to say it like that; after all, is prayer some kind of accomplishment? Do they hand out trophies for praying? Nevertheless, that’s how I felt. If I was in a small group, and someone needed to read […]

effective prayer

Five Keys to Effective Prayer

“Watson, come here! I want to see you!” With these famous words, Alexander Graham Bell catapulted himself into instant historic notoriety as the inventor of the first practical telephone. During a June 2, 1875 experiment by Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson, the telephone as we know it was born. […]

journaling

Four Reasons to Start Journaling

About four years ago, I started journaling my prayers. I didn’t follow a certain devotional or guide. I just began to jot down my thoughts as I meditated on Scripture. I would also write down the things I was asking of the Lord. And almost without my conscious knowledge, journaling […]

Five Steps to Meditating on the Bible

Not long ago, I asked Pastor Colin about the difference between meditation and prayer, as the two can be hard to distinguish, and understandably so. His reply: “In Scripture, God speaks to us. In prayer we speak to him. What God says to us prompts what we say to him.” […]

Three Keys to Enliven Your Prayers

As a teacher at a private Christian school, I am required to (and I desire to) teach my students how to pray. How do I pray? If you Google the phrase “how to pray,” over 130 million hits come up with everything from videos, to tips, to podcasts, to online […]

How to Pray in the Position of a Servant

Learning the art of prayer involves taking the position of a servant. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us. […]

“Prayer” Twitter Party Highlights

Thank you to everyone who joined us this week at our #AskPastorCol Twitter Party! We discussed the topic of prayer through a question and answer session, and Pastor Colin ended the party by praying over the participants. He also included some helpful tweets about his favorite books on prayer: New […]

prayers for the new school year

Four Prayers for the New School Year

Our youngest left for college a few weeks ago. For the first time, my husband and I have no one to wake for school, help with homework, or share the car keys. I’m not sure when ABCs became SATs—overnight, it seems. Too quickly, we moved from Play-Doh, training wheels, and […]

spiritual disciplines

Don’t Lose Spiritual Disciplines for Fear of Legalism

This past year, I was given the incredible opportunity of participating in a 16-week course taught by Colin Smith alongside of a few other guest speakers. During one of these sessions, I was struck by a statement made by Pastor Colin. He said, Don’t let the fear of legalism rob you […]

Praying in the Spirit

Romans 8:26-27 might be the most comforting passage in Scripture. It reads, Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts […]

Join Our #AskPastorCol Twitter Party and Giveaway on September 16!

If you could ask any question about prayer, what would it be? Bring this question and others to a Twitter Party all about the topic of prayer! On Wednesday, September 16 at 3pm CT, Pastor Colin will be on Twitter answering your toughest questions, like: Who do we pray to? […]

Spirit's prayers

Use the Spirit’s Prayers

The Bible contains some marvelous prayers that were breathed out directly by the Spirit of God. You find them in the Psalms. Using these Psalms to shape your prayers is a great way to discover the help of the Holy Spirit. The whole Bible was written as men were carried […]

keep praying

Keep Praying, Keep Believing

Prioritizing prayer is hard, among the endless other activities that fill our days. The fears, doubts, and struggles of life abound, so we get discouraged in prayer and lose heart. For a lot of us, prayer can also become a point of shame in our Christian lives. We know that […]

prayers from the Bible

15 Powerful Prayers from the Bible

How do you pray? Prayers that are rooted in Scripture are guaranteed to be aligned with the heart of God. Here is a list of 15 powerful prayers from the Bible that you can use word-for-word or to spur on your own prayers: Romans 5:1-11 Father God, we thank you […]

stressed out

How to Persevere in Prayer When You’re Really Stressed Out

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can’t shake your anxiety? No matter what you do, you can’t get your mind off of what is bothering you. You try to pray, but the only words that come out are short, anxiety-soaked cries for help. Right after […]

prayer: experiencing awe and intimacy with god

Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

What is prayer? In my work as a youth ministries pastor, our team of leaders recently took our students through some of the core spiritual disciplines of the Christian life. When it came time for our group of groggy middle schoolers to define prayer on a Sunday morning, it didn’t […]

fall wallpaper

What to Do When You’re Not Being Persecuted

“There is a fellowship with Christ found in suffering that is greater than you will find anywhere else.” In light of the recent persecutions in the Middle East, Pastor Colin Smith shares biblical truths of great comfort and strength. Christians are reminded of the importance of dwelling on the gospel […]

fall wallpaper

A Devotional for Your Friday

Take some time this morning to pour over this devotional, brought to you by LifeKEYS Daily. We’ve all gone through tough spiritual seasons when we were tempted to give up. “My feet almost slipped!” we think, as we reflect on that particular season of struggle. If that was you, or […]

prayer wisdom

Need Wisdom? Number Your Days

Friends, in order to gain the wisdom that we long for, we must pray. See, prayer is the fountain of wisdom. Wisdom is tightly tied to prayer in the Scriptures. Wisdom is asked for in prayer. Wisdom is often received during prayer. And wisdom is the result of prayer. We […]

Four Marks That Define Humbleness

I don’t know what your spiritual temperature is like right now. Maybe you’re red hot for the Lord, you’re just a super nova ready to explode in praises. If that’s you, God be praised! But maybe you’re reading this today, and you’ve been lukewarm now for what feels like ages. […]

purpose of the bible

The Purpose of the Bible and Our Proper Response

Imagine you are very highly respected in your field. People often come to you for insights and leadership and have for a very long time. You believe you are honoring God and truly helping people know and follow Him. Then one day, a new guy shows up on the scene […]

Three Weapons Against Anxiety

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 Paul uses three words to describe the way we’re to fight anxiety—prayer, petition, and thanksgiving. 1. Prayer That word “prayer”will cause some readers to lose interest, because […]

11 Inspirational Quotes About Prayer

It is easy to find excuses not to pray. The busyness of life, a short attention span, or a lack of desire might keep you off your knees and cause you to be dependent on yourself instead of dependent on God. It is our hope and prayer that the following […]

prayers

Eight Characteristics of Faith-Filled Prayers

The Prayer of faith, like some plant rooted in a fruitful soil, draws its virtue from a disposition which has been brought into conformity with the mind of Christ. (David McIntyre) Here are eight characteristics of faith-filled prayers, from David McIntyre’s book The Hidden Life of Prayer: 1. It is subject […]

A Prayer for Those Battling Sin

Puritan theologian John Owen wrote the classic work The Mortification of Sin in 1656 to analyze and apply what Paul meant in Romans 8:13 when he said, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you “put to death the deeds of the body, […]

Unforgivable Sin

How to Discern Promptings from the Holy Spirit

Question: I wanted to ask you a question, I will sometimes get woken up and i will get prompted to pray for someone. I was last month prompted to pray something very confusing for someone I know. What exactly does this mean, and how can I best discern promptings from the […]

The Six P’s of Effective Prayer

Elijah… prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain. James 5:17 Here are six observations about Elijah’s prayer: Privately pray what God has promised with precision, passion and persistence.1. Private: Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. 1 […]

Three Prayers to Focus on the Giver, Not the Gift

There are three simple prayers that you can use on your journey from a gift-centered to a God-centered life.  They will help you to appreciate God’s gifts and submit to His providence as you tear down the idols that lurk in your heart.1.  “Lord, help me to receive Your gifts […]

Pumped Up About Prayer

A confession: Over the years I’ve found much of what I’ve read about prayer to be unhelpful. Last week I worked out why. Prayer is usually considered under the heading of ‘spiritual disciplines’ which makes it the spiritual equivalent of running on a treadmill or flossing your teeth. Viewing prayer […]