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Americans tend to be self-focused in their prayer life, asking God for personal desires more often than people in crisis or the unsaved, according to a recent survey from Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay Research.

"Most people pray when they need the red phone for help," says Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. "But their prayer life isn't a habit rooted in a relationship with God."

John Maempa, director of the AG Office of Prayer and Spiritual Care, says, "While for many people praying tends to be a pragmatic means to an end, according to Scripture we are invited to ask for things we need and perhaps even want (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 6:33; 7:7; etc.). However, the key to effective prayer is relationship — drawing close to God so He can draw close to us."

In the online survey, Americans spend the most time focusing on friends and family (82 percent of all respondents) as well as their own problems (74 percent). Just over half (54 percent) pray for good things to happen in their life, while more than one third (36 percent) ask God to bless them with future prosperity.

"James Nicodem, in his book 'Prayer Coach,' states that Jesus readily responds to our prayers when we 'start to value our relationship more than our requests; until we want more of Him than we want from Him.'" Maempa observes. "When we're in proper alignment with God's relationally, we are more inclined to pray His will than focus on things we want."

But not all prayers are self-centered. Americans say they also spend time petitioning God about their own sin (42 percent), those in natural disasters (38 percent), people of other religions or no faith (20 percent), and government leaders (12 percent).

And as Jesus' taught, 41 percent say they have prayed for those who mistreat them while 37 percent acknowledge praying for enemies.

On the other hand, 21 percent admit to asking God to win a lottery, 13 percent have sought the Almighty's help for their favorite team to win a game, and 7 percent have wanted God's favor in finding a good parking space.

About half of Americans (48 percent) say they pray at least every day, while a third (31 percent) say they pray repeatedly during the day.

Authors: Pentecostal Evangel and AG News


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AG issues call to prayer for release of imprisoned American pastor

Wed, 19 Dec 2012 - 1:31 PM CST

Imprisoned pastor Saeed Abedini
Pastor Saeed Abedini with his two children.

An international call to prayer has gone out from Dr. George O. Wood, general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, for the release of Saeed Abedini, who is imprisoned in Iran for his faith in Christ.

In June 2012, Saeed and his wife, Naghmeh, spent time with Dr. Wood and related Saeed's plans to return to Iran to visit family and continue his humanitarian work in developing a non-sectarian orphanage. He was nearing the end of that visit when he was detained by Iran authorities and imprisoned.

During these months of incarceration, Dr. Wood has been in constant contact with Naghmeh, who has provided updates on Saeed's status.

"This is a deeply devout couple who are committed to Jesus," said Dr. Wood, "and are the parents of two young children."  

Dr. Wood called upon Christians around the world to pray for Saeed while he is in prison, for Naghmeh and their children. He also asked prayer that governmental authorities in Iran would release Saeed, who is an American citizen.

"The imprisonment in Iran of an American Christian pastor is just as unacceptable as it would be to imprison in America an Imam because of the Imam's faith," said Dr. Wood. "This is a precious young couple who should not have to face years of separation because of Saeed's faith nor should Naghmeh face the possibility of her husband being executed for his faith and leaving their two young children fatherless."

Dr. Wood is calling for millions of Christians throughout the world to pray mightily for the Abedini family and for all those facing persecution because of their faith in Christ.

He also encourages the Christian community to support the efforts of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) to bring worldwide focus on the plight of Saeed Abedini. The ACLJ today provided the following news release (click here). To read the Fox News article, which broke the story, click this link.

 

Authors: AG News

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