CHAT With The Author ~ Phil Miglioratti @ The Reimagine.Newtwork Interviewed Penny Cooke of "Pursuing Prayer"
PENNY >>> Pursuing Prayer is a call to prayer, to fervent prayer, to consider the parts of prayer Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer. I’m not talking about reciting the Lord’s Prayer, but recognizing the elements Jesus included that we may overlook when we recite it. Might there be more to the Lord’s Prayer than reciting it? Could our prayers be more effective?
Our lives are busy and seldom quiet, so we need to be intentional about times of prayer that include the elements Jesus taught, as well as taking time in quiet to hear His voice, in addition to the short prayers we may pray throughout our day.
PHIL >>> The format of your book is based on "an acrostic for prayer." How has this acrostic [P-R-A-Y-E-R] helped you in your work as a biblical-life-coach to equip Christians who are pursuing prayer?
PENNY >>> In the book, I coach the reader through the Lord’s Prayer using an acrostic for prayer which coincides with each element of the Lord’s Prayer. The purpose is to help the reader understand Jesus’ prayer better and how they can personalize those elements in their own prayers, beyond reciting it. For example: What does it mean for me to hallow His name? What is His will for my life, and what does it look like for His kingdom to come in my life? Why does forgiveness mean in my life? What evil might I need to be delivered from? As a coach, I encourage the reader to consider what part of the Lord’s Prayer they need to focus on, what action they need to take, and how their prayers can be more effective as a result.
PHIL >>> Talk with us, teach us, about each of these daily prayer directives...
•P - Pursue Prayer Proactively
PENNY >>> Again, Pursuing Prayer is about being intentional, or “proactive” about praying to Our Father. Jesus proactively invites us to a relationship in prayer. Intentionality breeds habit. We schedule everything else in our life, why not prayer? Perhaps if we make time for it first, we won’t eliminate it when life gets too busy. Isn’t that just what the enemy wants? He knows how important prayer is, and he is certainly intentional about distracting us.
•R - Remember God's Righteous Deeds
PENNY >>> This is the “hallowed be Your name” part of the Lord’s Prayer. When we remember what God has done in the past, in the Bible or in our lives or the lives of people we know, it gives us cause to praise Him. So we begin with remembering and worshipping Him. This gets our spiritual perspective right and builds our faith before we go on to the rest of our praying.
•A - Acknowledge Sin and Ask Forgiveness
PENNY >>> This is the “forgive us our debts” piece of the Lord’s Prayer. This helps us keep short accounts, which gives us the peace and confidence to come to him. Otherwise, we can be like Adam and Eve hiding from God. If His mercies are new every morning, why not come to Him every morning for those mercies, for a clean slate and a fresh start.
•Y - Yield to God's Will
PENNY >>> “Thy will be done.” In the R, we focused on who God is. Considering He is all He says He is, all knowing and all powerful, and we are limited, why would we want to run our lives without seeking Him first? We can’t see into the next minute, why wouldn’t we want to follow His plan and will for the moments only He sees? But that takes being proactive about prayer.
•E - Enjoy God's Daily Bread
PENNY >>> “Give us this day our daily bread” is about trusting Him to meet our needs, relying on Him for everything. This is the part of prayer we pray the most, praying for needs such as a health or financial situation. We bring Him our “prayer list” because He said to bring Him our burdens and to pray about everything. But, I encourage the reader to go beyond that. Might there be more to our daily bread than our tangible needs? (Hint: He is the Bread of Life.)
•R - Rest in God
PENNY >>> Part of prayer is being still to hear His voice. Jesus was intentional about going off by Himself to spend time with the Father. I believe that when we pray as Jesus modeled and taught, including all of the above, our soul will have rest—no anxiety about anything and a peace that surpasses understanding. That’s trust. That’s faith. That’s rest.
"True repentance means we make whatever adjustments need to be made and it produces an earnest desire to do better."
"Real repentance is a radical change of heart that leads to...taking responsibility (for) our own decisions and actions."
PHIL >>> How essential is true repentance in the heart of the believer if that believer is to reimagine how the Spirit wants to transform them by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2)?
PENNY >>> Let’s turn your question around: True repentance is essential if the believer’s mind is to be transformed. Repentance opens the door to renewing our mind. So we must understand what true repentance is and what it means to the effectiveness of our prayers. David said in Psalm 66:18, “If I cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Might something hinder our prayers? Might there be something hindering the renewing of our mind?
Once we have repented, cleaned the slate so to speak, then we must put something else on that slate, and that is the Word of God. We must be as intentional about God’s Word as we are about prayer.
"Hallowed be Thy names."
"Remember to raise God's names in praise."
PHIL >>> What do God's names in scripture reveal to us and how should we incorporate them in our praying?
PENNY >>> The beginning of knowing someone is knowing their name. In the Bible, names had deep meaning and significance. When we realize who God is through His many names (one name could never adequately describe Him) we will have more faith when we come to Him, and we will worship more deeply. He wants us to know Him. And there’s so much to know about His love, His care, His mercy. How can we truly worship Him (hallow His name) if we don’t really know Him?
One of the names God is called repeatedly in the Bible is God of Hosts, or God of Heaven’s Armies. We don’t always see prayer as the spiritual warfare that it is. We can’t see the spiritual battles going on, how the enemy’s armies advance when we do not call out to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Perhaps if we considered this name of God and what it means, we would put on our armor and wield our “Sword of the Sprit” with more fervency. Perhaps prayer would become so vital to us that we would not cease to pray for our families, our nation, and our world. For we do not battle against humans but spiritual enemies. When we are, not just a member of, but in active military duty in Heaven’s army, praying fervently in spiritual warfare, perhaps then we will change our world.
PHIL >>> How would you coach a Pastor or Prayer Leader to reimagine/reshape the culture of prayer in their congregation?
PENNY >>> Many people struggle with prayer. It should be a joy, but instead they feel lacking. People are always wondering how to pray. It doesn’t have to be confusing or deeply theological—that’s when we lose the average person. So, I would say, teach the elements of the Lord’s Prayer as how to pray: worship, confession, seeking His will, praying against temptation to be delivered from evil, and being still to hear His voice. And when in a spiritual battle, teach them to pray scripture, the Sword of the Spirit. That’s what Jesus used to be delivered from the evil one’s attacks. I believe if we prayed this way, we would have more confidence and motivation to pray, resulting in more peace and less anxiety and fear…and a more effective prayer life.
I say this from experience. I prayed for 13 years for my son to be delivered from drugs. I used many scriptures to pray for him, wielding my spiritual sword to fight for him. Praise God he was not only delivered, but God did “exceedingly abundantly above all I asked or imagined.” He is a pastor now.
"Pursuing Prayer is your invitation to chase the kingdom of God here on earth."
PHIL >>> Unpack the idea of chasing the kingdom of God and how that insight gives us a deeper-and-wider perspective of the purpose and patterns of praying.
PENNY >>> We chase what we love. We chase what we desire. Chasing is pursuing. Chasing is being proactive. What does our level of chasing the Kingdom say about our desire for the things of the Kingdom? Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind. Our society, and even sometimes the church, has gotten so far away from this that we think being so Kingdom minded is radical, a Jesus freak. But that’s what we were supposed to be. Has our praying become watered down? Are our churches houses of prayer? We can think fervent praying is for the pastor and maybe a few “prayer warriors.” But it’s for all of us. Fervent prayers = fervent answers.
PHIL >>> One more thing you'd like to say ...
PENNY >>> Have I always seen my prayers answered? Of course not. I doubt any of us have had 100% of our prayers answered the way we prayed them. But I’ve seen God move through prayer. I’ve especially seen God move in my own heart through prayer. I think the greater miracle is what He does “in” us, not around us. And if that is all I ever experienced because of prayer, it would be enough.
This is what prayer is really about—relationship. It’s that sweet fellowship with the Holy Spirit we are privileged to have…the peace, strength, comfort. Oh, don’t miss out! If you’d like a more effective prayer life and a deeper relationship with Our Father, I invite you to Pursuing Prayer – Being Effective in a Busy World.
PHIL >>> Penny, please write a prayer we can pray with you in our desire to pursue an effective prayer life in a much-too-busy world.
PENNY >>> Father, help us to be convinced that the busier we are, the more we need prayer, not less. Help us to know You and Your Word so well that we can rightly hallow Your name. Remind us to keep short accounts with You and to confess often, to draw upon Your lovingkindness and mercies that are there for us each new day. Help us to make Your will a priority as we bring You our requests. We need Your Kingdom on earth and in our lives, Lord. We need Your help and power to overcome the temptations in this world. We need You to deliver us from the evil one and his attacks in our lives. Our families need our prayers; our nation needs our prayers; our world needs our prayers. We need Your power that is released when confessed believers pray fervent prayers of faith to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Thank you for your love and that you offer this kind of relationship with You. Thank You for the privilege of prayer! In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.
Penny Cooke is a Certified Biblical Life Coach, writer, and avid pray-er. She has been a leader in women’s ministry for more than thirty years and has taught numerous Bible studies. Whether coaching, teaching, or writing, Penny seeks to encourage and equip believers with the Word of God and see them empowered by His Spirit for this battle we call life.
Pursuing Prayer group page
Complement the Pursuing PRAYER book with the Pursuing PRAYER Bible study plan. Learn more HERE.