Transforming Your Prayer Life with "PASSION"

As a disciple of Jesus, I’m called to abide in Christ. It’s impossible to be a disciple of Jesus who makes more disciples in the image of Jesus, if we aren’t abiding in Him. When I think about abiding in Christ I think specifically of daily quiet time with Him. Daily time in Scripture and prayer. There’s no substitute in all of the world for being able to follow Jesus if you aren’t daily in Scripture and prayer. There just isn’t.

Speaking honestly, in my normal rhythm of life, my quiet time was at a place of 1-3 minutes a day. Scramble to get ready. Get the kids out the door to school. Actually make it to work or a meeting with all my gear. If I found time to thank God for the day and read YouVersion’s verse of the day, I considered it a success. At my absolute worst, I worked at ministry through my own strength. The idea of pausing to pray or read Scripture seemed like I wasn’t getting after it enough. Maybe you’re currently living one of those two realities in your relationship with Jesus.

Recently God crossed my path with someone who has shattered all my thoughts about discipleship and opened my heart and eyes to the mission in a whole new way. He spoke of abiding in Christ as if he actually knew Jesus. As a 15-year veteran pastor, even I was a little weirded out. That’s when he blew me away…

“If you aren’t abiding in Christ and are trying to make disciples simultaneously, what type of disciples will you be making? Disciples in Christ’s image or yours?”

This was one of the most powerful and thought-provoking questions I’ve been asked and it transformed how I view my quiet time. He shared with me a tool he uses to abide in Christ and I immediately jumped on it. If you’re at a place where what you reproduce in others looks more like you and less like Jesus, you might not be abiding as well as you think you are. Maybe PASSION is what you need to spark a transformed walk with Jesus. It has turned my world upside down in the best way possible.

PASSION has transformed my quiet time with Christ from a weak, few minutes at best, to over an hour of time that I can’t live without. In the last two months I have only missed one day using this tool and I was grumpy about it. I purchased a small notebook and on seven pages put each letter from this tool across the top. As I pray each day I write down what I’m praying about and what the Spirit convicts me of while I pray.

None of this is to brag or to point fingers at myself. It’s to walk alongside you and say, “I don’t have it all figured out. Here is something I’m working on and you might find it helpful also.” God is working and has much work to do making me more like Him.

All that said, let’s walk through PASSION together.

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P - praise

God is worthy of all praise and glory. I can’t give him enough. My prayers begin by praying through some of the Psalms about the glory and majesty of God.

  • Psalm 19 - the heavens tell of Your glory

  • Psalm 24 - the earth is God’s and everyone in it

  • Psalm 29 - everything in His temple shouts “Glory”

I simply focus my heart and mind on the glory of God. He is so massive that I can’t possibly fathom. And the minute I think I have Him figured out, He gets bigger somehow. Who am I that God even considers me. This is where to start your prayer. Putting God in His rightful place on His throne over all.

A - ask

This is not where I start asking for stuff. This is where I pray big prayers. I ask God for big things that I think are too big and that I’m not worthy to accomplish. My big prayer right now is…

  • 500 lost people being discipled in my network!

I’m discipling a few to reach a few more and as that effort multiplies, I’m praying for 500 lost people to be in relationships that are introducing them to the person of Jesus. There are more than 500 lost people where I live. God wants them to know Him more than I do. God wants this to happen and so I’m praying big. At least big for me where I’m at currently. I’m praying Acts 11:17 almost everyday that I would get out of God’s way so that He can do big things.

Ask a big God for big things!

S - sentimental

This is my “remember when” time. I am listing out times when God showed up in big ways. Almost like a family reunion. I relive theses time for a moment or two. Here are a couple of examples…

  • Our campus relaunch in 2014

  • Eddie Lowen and Blake Carter enter my life

  • God spoke through me to a person of peace (wait til I tell you that story)

These are a few moments in my life where God showed up in big ways. I see things going very differently in my life without these moments. So I simply relive them with God like a family reunion. “Remember when we relaunched the campus, God? I couldn’t have done that without You. How fun was that!”

S - sins of the flesh

This one is pretty obvious. These are the things that we all struggle with to some degree. The list here never really changes. It’s your standard…

  • Pride

  • Lust

  • Ego

  • Selfishness

The difference is I pray them in terms of confession. I confess (agree with God) that these sins put Jesus on the cross. That my sin is responsible for His death. My prayer is that God get these things out of my way in the coming day so that I can be fully effective and to abide with Christ fully.

I - insightful confession

This differs from the previous point in that this is where I go silent. I pray Psalm 139 here and ask God that if there by anything in me that offends Him, that He points it out to me. Is there something I’m missing? What don’t I see? Where have I fallen or hurt people and didn’t even notice? Holy Spirit, convict me, show me what I can’t see.

To be honest, this one might have been the strangest part for me to get used to. Initially I began writing things that seemed good to me. I would jot something down and it would be roughly right, but I was trying to listen to the Spirit. Over time, God began using this time to actually show me things. In my silence, moments would come to mind that I really needed to wrestle with. I won't go into details with this one, but will give you a rough idea to help you see how this is meant to work.

As I was listening one morning, a name came into my mind. A name I hadn’t really thought of for a couple of months. I actually ignored the name for about a week until finally it just kept coming to mind during this moment of insightful confession and silence. I wrote down the name. I asked God for wisdom about what I was supposed to do with this information. I was convicted simply to reach out to them and make sure that things had ended well with them from nearly a year ago. I reached out, we had coffee the next week and I walked in a restored relationship with this person and a clear conscience.

If you’re praying and listening earnestly, expect the Spirit of God to show up here. When He does, it’s time to obey!

O - others

Time to make intercession for other people in my life. I pray for my wife and each of my children daily. I pray for the church and campus I lead daily. I pray for my staff team and the men I’m discipling daily. And then along the way I add names for a week or so at a time depending on what’s happening with that individual person.

I intercede to God on their behalf and ask God to show up, to heal people, to soften hearts, to move in ministries, whatever the thing might be. I even pray for the names of the people that my disciples are praying for. I want to be aware of what’s happening three, four and five generations away from me.

Then I pray for persons of peace to come into my life. God might have in mind for me to do some fishing that day or He has ordained for them to come to me. Regardless, this is where I do my best to focus on others and what God is up to in their lives.

N - notice

As days and weeks pass, I begin to write down moments where I’m seeing God show up. It can be small or big ways. Moments that wouldn’t happen without His sovereignty. It might be as small as victory over a temptation where God was present with me or it might be as big as a life transformed because of a disciple-making conversation that is ongoing.

No matter how big or small, I pause at the end of my prayers to simply thank God for showing up. God, thank You for all this stuff You’re doing. Opening with the glory and worth of God and ending with gratitude that God shows up seems a good way to book end prayer.

PASSION is an extremely powerful prayer tool that has transformed my prayer life and quiet time in the mornings. If you are a disciple of Jesus and are seeking to make more disciples, this tool might be exactly what you need to help you abide in Christ daily. As you see God moving and changing things around you, it won’t be hard to wake up and go after it again. It fulfills a deep longing in me to see God at work. I’m grateful for those who shared this tool with me and who are discipling me in this way. My hope and prayer is it does the same for you.

What are other prayer tools you use to abide in Christ daily?