The Four Focus Areas
Time with God works best when these four areas are in balance. Each area intentionally builds on another.
The four areas are:
- Thanksgiving: Giving thanks to the Lord based on what He has done.
- Adoration: Meditating on who God is.
- Repentance: Changing the way we think and aligning our hearts with His. Repenting to know His thoughts and obeying to do His will.
- Intercession: Discovering and praying what is on His heart for yourself and others.
Thanksgiving and adoration have a more vertical focus. These focus on thanking and discovering God.
Repentance and intercession have a more horizontal focus. These focus on keeping our lives in line with God’s heart and will by going after both our personal needs and the needs of others.
Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!”
From the place of thanksgiving and adoration we should be reminded of just how much He loves us. Thanksgiving and adoration are so crucial in moving us into both repentance and intercession.
So many people feel the Lord is constantly displeased with them. This isn’t true. God will never love us any more or any less than He does right now. His love is unconditionally devoted and eternally constant.
So from the truth of God’s great love for us, allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and speak to you.
Repentance means to change the way we think and behave. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that you might be thinking or doing that you need to repent from and repent to.
Anytime we repent from something we are repenting to something. Repenting from something might include unforgiveness toward someone. If so, you will be repenting to forgiving and blessing them.
Repentance renews our mind and helps us be more like Jesus, which is the goal of the Christian life (Romans 8:29 NKJV).
But repentance is not complete without obedience.
Acts 26:20 “…I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”
Repentance requires obedience and obedience requires some kind of adjustment on our end. We have to intentionally do something in order to obey what the Lord is requiring from us. When we make the adjustments to obey then repentance is complete.
I’m using intercession to include praying for oneself and praying for others.
Praying for Yourself
Go ahead now and bring out the list of things that are on your heart. You don’t have to actually have a paper or digital list but we all carry one in our mind. Bring what’s on your heart before the Lord.
Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”
Prayers of supplication involve drawing near to God for personal aid. Be open and honest with the Lord when you bring your needs to him.
Praying for Others
The act of intercession is about intervention. To intercede is to stand in the gap and pray on behalf of someone or something. For example prayer for family, friends, justice issues like abortion all fall into the area of intercession.
As we intercede we literally stand between heaven and earth shaping the coarse of history with our prayers. This is how powerful intercession is.
Ezekiel 22:30 “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”
As you enter into intercession it is important to ask the Lord, the Great Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25), what is on His heart regarding the things you are praying for. When you do this, you are aligning your prayers with His heart and interceding in agreement with heaven.
Intercession is the difference-maker.
1 Tim. 2:1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.
Find Balance, Enjoy Prayer, Know God
By intentionally having these four areas of focus (thanksgiving, adoration, repentance and intercession) in your daily time with God you will have the balance you need, enjoy prayer far more and come to know God intimately.
I recommend intentionally spending more time on thanksgiving and adoration. This will probably be the most difficult ones to do on the front-end but it is the doorway to moving your prayer time past discipline and onto passion.
Give it a try.
This short series is not the final word on prayer, not even close. Bible reading (among other things) is a huge part of our daily time with God. Maybe I’ll hit these other areas in the future.
Which of the four areas mentioned in the post is hardest for you to do? Which one is easiest? Or just share your thoughts about this post? Add your comments below.