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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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Girls magazine covers the "need to knows"

Wed, 23 Jan 2013 - 3:31 PM CST

Peristeria
Peristeria is a free, online quarterly magazine for teen girls.

Role models, dating, coping with loss, fashion, etiquette, self-image, bullies, health - all from a Christian perspective - makes the national Girls Ministries free quarterly online magazine, Peristeria, not only popular with Christian teen girls, but with their parents as well.

"Teen girls have questions," states Katie Mattiuzzo, creator and editor of Peristeria. "Peristeria offers answers to those questions - and to questions that some girls don't realize they should be asking."

Mattiuzzo says that today's teen girls are hit with a barrage of "popular" messages from magazines, television and the Internet that may be politically correct, but have little to do with being a secure, godly young woman.

"The focus of Peristeria is to provide teens with commonsense, biblically-aligned responses to some of their most pressing questions, but allow them to have some fun as well," Mattiuzzo says. "The goal is to help teens develop into well-rounded, informed, secure, Spirit-filled young women who influence their culture positively rather than allowing culture to influence them negatively."

Candy Tolbert, director of National Girls Ministries, says the response to Peristeria, which premiered in fall 2011, has been overwhelmingly positive as both teens and parents have expressed their love for the magazine.

"We've also heard from leaders in Teen Girl Ministries who regularly use the magazine articles for discussion points and opening up conversations with their girls," Tolbert says. "It really is a wonderful magazine for teen girls, filled with advice you can trust."

To view and download the latest edition - as well as past editions - of the 36-page Peristeria magazine for free, click here.

Authors: Dan Van Veen

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