Learning To Pray Creatively

By Dr. Richard D. Dobbins

For many Christians, praying is simply a way of giving God His orders for the day. Petitionary prayer is important (see Philippians 4:6,7) but, prayer should not be a way of getting what we want from God so much as putting ourselves in a place where He is able to get from our lives the glory we were created to bring Him.

There are many kinds of prayer: meditation and reflection, praise, thanksgiving, intercession and petitionary prayer. All these types of prayer are just categories of our conversations with God. A very common way to look at prayer and a very practical understanding is to view prayer as an ongoing conversation with God.

Creative praying is a way of discovering how to apply the creative power of eternal life to the practical needs of your daily life. God not only knows our needs, He has practical solutions for them that He communicates to us through eternal life.

Eternal life is the term the New Testament uses to define the creative power from which God’s kingdom functions. I use this “operational” definition for eternal life: “Eternal life is an invisible power to which the unregenerate are insensitive. It impacts on the mind of the regenerate person to stimulate the brain to think in terms of urges, fantasies and ideas that enhance and develop one’s divine potential.”

When we pray creatively, we apply the same power of God that created the universe to our everyday problems. You and I cannot begin to fathom that power. We catch glimpses of it in the Scriptures–the great Flood, the parting of the Red Sea, Elijah calling fire down from heaven, for example, and we know that the spiritual power that sustained the great men and women of God in Scripture is the same spiritual power sustaining us today. Through creative praying, we have the opportunity to access the mind of Christ.

We can access that divine dimension of life and creatively approach the decision-making and problem-solving tasks we face. For example, in parenting situations, as parents visualize their child’s needs and lift them to God in creative prayer, He often speaks wisdom to parents prompting them in plain, practical ways.

I once was struggling with a relationship with our oldest child. One day, as I was interceding before God, He prompted me to write a letter and told me what to say. It was so obviously from the Lord, that the letter fumed that child’s life around.

Living the Christian life without tapping into the invisible resources of eternal life is like trying to live the Christian life with nothing to depend upon but the strength of your will.

Paul says, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:9,10). And that is what creative praying is all about–discovering the miraculous power of God to change your life.

All of us have histories, and creative praying can help you discover new ways of looking at those events. Some time ago a respected professional person and a leader in his church broke down in my office and confessed that for over 20 years he had been in bondage to pornography. I remember him saying, Only God knows how many times I tried to break this habit through my own will power..

I explained to him what eternal life was all about, that this is an invisible power that emanates from Jesus Christ and is greater than any power of the enemy. That power in the presence of Christ can penetrate our thought processes and give us new urges, new ideas, new fantasies, plans for overthrowing the enemy’s crippling habits.

I shared with him a model we use (see offer at end) for practical application of eternal life to problems like these. It is called Putting Off the Old Self, Putting On the New Self… He sobbed and cried for Joy God’s power helped him.

There are practical steps you must take to engage effectively in creative prayer.

1. Begin committing portions of Scripture to memory. It is important to memorize God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will bring things to our remembrance, but He cannot help us recall what we have not first committed to memory. Scripture hidden in our hearts not only prevents us from sinning but becomes a creative resource the Holy Spirit can use to guide us and give us wisdom for decision making and problem solving.

2. Develop the vital habit of reaming to listen to God when you pray. Divide your prayer time in half. Spend the first half talking to God, the second |half listening for God to speak to you. How does God speak? Many people complain that when they are through talking to God, He never speaks to them. Learn to reflect on your thought processes in
prayer. What are the Scriptures that surface when you are silently listening to God? What memories surface? If they are comforting memories, you know they are coming from the Lord. By reflecting on our thought processes once we have poured our hearts out to God, we learn how to discern His voice.

3. Learn how to be quiet before God and shut out the noise and distractions of dally living. That quiet moment
before God allows Him to speak to you about the past, the present and the future. Take a look at the times throughout the day when you fin your mind with the noise of me radio or television; these could be times when you shut off the noise and listen for God to talk to you. Eternal life that we have in Christ and tap into through creative
prayer stimulates a new dimension of creativity in the mind of the Christian physicist, Christian teacher, Christian businessperson, Christian parent, and Christian homemaker–and on and on.

Remember the story of Peter, how God found him on a rooftop one day and lowered a blanket to him. He intervened in Peter’s life through his fantasy, calling him to preach to the Gentiles, a people that Peter considered to be unclean (Acts 10:9-48). In my own experience, I was struggling with how to prepare a pre marital counseling course for
people facing second and third marriages. One day, as I was getting my exercise in a hotel and just meditating on God’s goodness, He all of a sudden gave me the whole program. By the time I had finished walking I had the five sessions for the “remarital counseling” program.

Six Simple Steps for Decision Making

1. Define those options that are obvious to you and be sure you have defined all that come to your mind. Your decision will come from those options mat God helps you define.

2. Put yourself in a position of spiritual neutrality. That is, be willing to pursue any of the options you have defined, providing that you know it is the will of God for you. Do not be personally biased or committed to any one of the options.

3. Beginning with the first option, meditate upon where your life would be a year, 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years from now if you took that particular option. Ask yourself, “Is this where I want to be? Is this where I believe God wants me to be?” Do this for all options.

d. Tell God you are willing to pursue any one of these options provided you know it is His will for your life.

5. Define the time period you will need to hold these options before God in prayer before making a decision. With major decisions, I suggest 6 weeks to 3 months. You do not want to make a major decision quickly.

6. Ask the Lord to disenchant you with those options that are not His will for you. And ask Him to give you a growing fascination with and a growing urge to act upon the option that represents His will for you.