In this episode, Keith describes practical tools to build an exciting and robust prayer life.
Intro (Keith): Welcome to the Kanakuk Institute podcast, where we continue to equip leaders with biblical skills for a lifetime of ministry.
Chad (00:13) Welcome back into the Kanakuk Institute Podcast here in studio, Keith Chancey and Chad Hampsch, we’re working through the book of Ephesians. We’ve touched on the fact that the book of Ephesians is really broken into two major categories, chapters one through three being calling and four through six being conduct. We are in the midst of chapter 1, and today’s episode is going to focus on chapter 1 verse 18 and really an emphasis on prayer. In this particular passage, Paul is talking about praying for the church at Ephesus. Keith, break down for us, what’s going on here in the context of the passage and then we’ll get into the practical of how do I actually go about improving in my prayer life?
Keith (00:54): Oh man, I am pumped. I mean I just can’t tell you how excited I am about today. Verse 18, it tells us, and I want you guys to look at this verse. It says, Paul says, “Pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you’ll know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power towards us who believe.” You know Chad, there’s four things that I see there that are so powerful to me. Pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. Paul shows me something here about prayer is that I want to pray that the eyes of the world would be enlightened. They would be opened up to see God. That they would understand the truths of God, and we would quit resisting God. And if that happens, he says, “So that you will know what is the hope of his calling.” And I love that term, “the hope of his calling.” You know, I think that’s probably misunderstood so often in that we don’t know what is the hope of God’s calling. Paul was praying that believers would understand Godly knowledge and insight as we’ve talked about. That they would understand that they are redeemed through the blood of Christ. They would live a life of peace and patience and goodness, and we would just have this incredible euphoric understanding of God. Not that everything goes good for me, but that God is good. And because of him, it’s an unbelievable world to live in, but we’ve got to make a difference. And so he tells me that (1) the eyes of my heart would be enlightened, (2) that I would know the hope of his calling, that I could make a difference in this world for Jesus Christ, and I would understand the riches of his glorious inheritance for the saints that one day, I’m going to be in heaven and that’s what’s going to be all good, but not until I get there. And until that day that I see him eye to eye, I’m going to make his name known on this earth and what he’s done because that is the hope of the calling that I received into my life. I pray that the rest of the world’s eyes would be opened, and I would exercise his power to tell everyone on the planet that Jesus Christ is the one that can separate you from this earth, save you from Hell, and place you in heaven. Yay God!
Chad (03:27): Verse 19 you touch on it there, the latter part, the idea of power, and really the power in our intimacy with God coming through prayer, right, that we can actually talk to God. I’ve heard you Keith, share about prayer through the years, and remind me, but I think you use an acronym to kind of help people navigate, you know, “How do I actually practically walk out a daily prayer life?” Can you kind of walk the audience through that just so they have a tool in their toolbox?
Keith (03:55): You know, I can’t think of anything that is more powerful than prayer, and when I am, by God’s grace, I am able to get up in the morning an go to my place, my prayer closet so to speak, which I sit before my fireplace, and I open my Bible, and I open up my prayer journal, and I just have an acronym: ACTS, which I learned a long time ago, and I know you guys probably know this, but I think it’s always a good refresher just to think, “How do I use the A and Adore God?” Adoration is praising God. And just taking the opportunity during that time to praise God for all the things that he’s given to me and the things I’m so thankful for… praiseworthy of. Such as: I adore God of the A, I praise him that I can abide in Him. For B, I praise him for his Blessedness. I praise him for the body that he gives to me. C, I praise him for conviction that he bestows upon me. By the time I get through praising God of giving him his adorations, now I move to confession, and I now start confessing my sins. After I praise him for who He is and what He’s done, now I take the C and I can confess to God, “God I have lusted, I have thought things, I’ve been greedy, I’ve been prideful, will you please take those from me,” and I pray those. And guys, I get on my knees, and I cry before the Lord, and I want to really challenge all of you, if you’ve never really cried before the Lord, to ask him to open the floodgates of your heart. To open the floodgates of your eyes. To confess your sin before the Almighty God that you are a sinner. And then the T, after you’ve done the adoration, praising God for who He is and what He’s done, confessed your sin to him, and then moving into Thanksgiving. “God, I thank you for giving me the wife, the kids that I have, the job that I have, the car that I drive, the home that I live in. I thank you for these things. The church that I have, thank you God.” By this time guys, I don’t know about you guys, but I’m now moved into several minutes into my prayer life. And now the last area is the supplication, the S. So often, I don’t have time because I’ve spent too much time praising God, confessing my sins. Many times I don’t have even time to thank God, but now I’m on to supplications. This is when you ask things specifically of what you need. And you may say, “Lord I’m about to make a change of venue, what I need to do with my life. Should I be in the marketplace ministry, or should I be in full-time ministry? I don’t where I’m supposed to go. I’m thinking about buying this new home. I’m thinking about buying a new suit. I’m thinking about getting a new pair of shoes.” Everything we need to be in prayer about. And when you do that, I’m going to tell you something. I used to think it was almost a penalty when people would say, “Chancey, you need to go pray by yourself.” And I go, after two or three minutes I was looking for something else to do. I just didn’t know how. And by understanding this ACTS, it helps me a lot to be able to understand how to pray. It’s interesting in Luke 11:1, it says that the only thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to do was “teach us to pray.” Of all the things that Jesus did on this earth, it wasn’t, “teach us to do this or do that.” It was “teach us to pray.” And I know that it’s because they saw him doing it with such repetition that they go, “I want to be that type of man because I see how it leads us to do what we do.” So, Prayer, I cannot tell you how much I get excited about it because I’ve seen it change my life. I’ve seen it change the disciples’ lives, and I can see it changing our world if we pray on it, and pray for it that God that God would do… bring our world to repentance. Why are we going through a pandemic? It’s not to be angry at people. I’m not a republican or a democrat, I’m a Christian that prays for republicans and democrats, and I pray that we come together in the unity of Christ Jesus and that our world would be brought back to what we know is truth. In the beginning, God created. And with that I go, I get excited about what my prayer life can do for the world.
Chad (08:16) That’s so good. One of my favorite church historians always said, “Prayer doesn’t bring about revival. When God’s people are moved to pray, it is revival.” And praying today that we would all have a revival of our own hearts to be moved to ask God and to do just as you said in that acronym ACTS. Keith, we talk a lot through the years about helping people be set up to have a prayer journal. And, as kind of a practical tool for folks to take what you just said and go, “How do I actually do this on a daily basis?” Give us four or five just little things, just practical… How do I start? What kind of notebook do I need? Give us some of those nuts and bolts.
Keith (09:03): You know, it’s really good. I feel like, one, it’s important that you have your own prayer journal. Because what’s really fun about a prayer journal is that you have this notebook and you divide it. And I don’t care how big your notebook is, how many pages you have. You divide that notebook into seven sections. And so, what I like to do, is I like to just dog-ear, meaning I just bend over a page, and where that page has been dog-eared, I write, “Sunday.” And then I flip seven, eight, ten pages later, and I bend it, and I go, “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ,Thursday, Friday.” And then I label the sections. Like, for instance, Sunday “churches”, Monday “family”, Tuesday “friends and bible studies”, Wednesdays “ministries”, Thursdays “the lost”, Fridays “missions and schools”, Saturday, “country, President, and world.” And so, I divide my journal just like that. And so what I do, on my church, is I pray, like here in Branson I go to First Baptist Church, so I pray for our pastor, pastors, ministries within the church, youth ministry, junior high ministry, elementary school ministry, children’s ministry, and pray for all aspects of that church. But I don’t just pray for that, but I have other churches in Branson that I am praying for also. And then I don’t just pray for that, but now I think outside of Branson, so I go to my Jerusalem, to my Judea, my Samaria, and the outermost parts of the world, where now I start thinking about Dallas, Oklahoma, churches there that I’m praying for. So I do that. And then I move to Monday. Now, let me back up. So what I do when I start praying for first Baptist, I date it. And I want to be very specific of what I’m praying for. I’m praying for our pastor to guide our church, if we’re doing a building project, I date some of the things we’re trying to get the money on to be able to support that ministry, to be able to… whatever we’re trying to in our church on missions, I’m praying that we get a certain amount of money for missions. And then when that happens, I circle it, and I date it of the date that it got circled. So, when I look back on my prayer journal, I see these circles. All I can do is weep because of what God has done. I get so excited about what God has done. So then on Monday, this one takes me a little bit more time, because I pray for my family. I’m very intentional with my son, my daughter, my wife, my grandkids, my brother, my sister, my mom, my dad, everybody that I’ve had in my family. I’ve been very specific about certain things. And I date it, and so when I look back on that, I’m overwhelmed by the circles that I see in that and the dates of when God did that. It’s so much fun to do that. So, for instance, if I was praying for my Dad to come to Christ, which I did, and I saw him come to Christ. It was so fun to see that circled and dated. And so, that’s what I’m talking about, what I want you to see in your prayer journal that you are dating specifically. Now, on Tuesday, friends and Bible studies. I just have those. And then on Wednesday, ministries. Ministries are those things that you… campus crusade, young life, K-life, it’s ministries that you… are in your area that you are praying specifically for that you get to know the leaders. Have them over to your house. Pray for them specifically. Ask them their specific needs. Thursday, the lost. I love to go through my neighborhood in my little area that I live in and I just walk up and knock on the door with my prayer journal and say, “Hey,” you know, “Keith Chancey, I’m one of your neighbors and I just wanted to let you know, I’ve just been praying for you. And I want to know is there anything specifically I can pray for you?” Well those people, you think, “Oh they’re going to think I’m evil.” No! I’ve never had one person turn me down. It’s amazing how they go, “Oh my gosh! I love that!” And so when I see them, every time I see them, they go, “Hey,” you know, “thank you,” and they, you know, now are very kind even if they don’t know Jesus. They are very kind to someone that went to them. So it’s an evangelical tool also. Fridays, “Missions, schools.” Saturdays, “country, president, world.” You guys know what I’m talking about, and I think that helps, and what I do is I love to see this where I see the dates, I see the prayers, I see the answered prayers and what it does in my own prayer life. It exalts Jesus. And for me, I’m personally blessed and I go, “Are you kidding me? I have never experienced this type of joy.” So it gives me a reason tomorrow morning that I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do tomorrow morning in my prayer life. Let me give you an example. I was praying just the other day for God to give me an opportunity to share the gospel. Well, it was at lunch that day that a guy literally walks up and says, “Hey, are you Keith Chancey? Someone told me about you.” And he said, “Hey I want to ask you some questions.” The next thing I’m doing, I’m sharing Christ with him. I mean, it’s that amazing. But you know what? I might think that’s a coincidence if I didn’t have it prayed for in my journal. So it makes it really fun to see God do these things and even to see him do miracles within the ministry that we’re involved in. So, I hope that helps, Chad.
Chad (14:07): That’s so practical. Again, verse 18 said, “I pray that your.. the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” And we hope that you have been encouraged and enlightened today from God’s Word on the importance of prayer and the practicality of prayer using the acronym ACTs, building a prayer journal that you can use every single day that will guide you, just a tool that will guide you into intimacy with God. So thanks for joining us here on the Kanakuk Institute Podcast, we’ll see you next time.