EDITOR’S NOTE: Thursday, May 2, is the National Day of Prayer.
NASHVILLE (BP) — Ronnie Floyd is transparent about prayer as foundational and monumental in his life and ministry.
A passion for prayer marks his personal conversations and his preaching and, now, it fills “How to Pray: Developing an Intimate Relationship with God.”
“When we pray, we are depending on God. When we do not pray, we are depending on ourselves,” Floyd told Baptist Press upon the book’s April release from Thomas Nelson — a 20th anniversary revised and expanded edition of his earlier book also titled “How to Pray.”
“Learning how to pray is never-ending. We need to become students in prayer,” he said. The new edition has been rewritten from cover to cover and includes several new chapters, such as “How to Pray for the Sick,” “How to Pray for Your Family,” “How to Pray for Your Pastor and Church” and “How to Pray for America.”
“This book is different because I am different,” Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas and president/CEO-elect of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, writes. “I am not the same man I was twenty years ago. God has taught me so much more about prayer,” fueling his intent to help others join in a deepened walk with God.
“Prayer is vital to my life,” he told BP. “God’s Word speaks to me and prayer is my response to God’s Word in my life. When we pray, God moves powerfully — personally and in the church of Jesus Christ.
“Joy occurs in your prayer life,” he added, “when you know you have connected with God effectively and when you know God has answered your prayer.”
Floyd, who also serves as president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, conveys personal experiences and practical counsel across five sections in the book encompassing 19 chapters:
— Part One: An Introduction to Prayer, with chapters on What Prayer Is All About, Why Christians Do Not Pray” and “How to Have a Meaningful Time with God.”
— Part Two: Keys to a Powerful Prayer Life, setting forth How to Pray According to God’s Will, How to Pray in Jesus’ Name and How to Pray in the Spirit.
— Part Three: Moving to a New Level in Prayer — How to Call Upon the Lord, How to Pray It Through, How to Pray for One Another, How to Do Warfare Praying and How to Empower Your Prayers.
— Part Four: Barriers to Prayer — The Wall of Strained Relationships, The Wall of Improper Motives and The Wall of an Unrepentant Heart.
Part Five: Prayer for Others — How to Pray for the Sick, How to Pray for Your Family, How to Pray for Your Pastor and Church, How to Pray for America and How Prayer Influences Others.
The book concludes with a section titled “A Personal Prayer Plan for Your Life.”
A crisp definition of prayer anchors the book: “Effective prayer occurs when you talk to God and listen to what God is saying to you. Prayer involves listening to God as much as it involves talking to God. Prayer is a relationship, a fellowship that occurs between you and God. Prayer is the vehicle that takes you into the privilege of experiencing fellowship with God.”
“The last thing Satan wants us to do is pray,” Floyd told BP. “Obstacle after obstacle will show up when you pray. But victory in the Christian life is possible when we learn to pray and do so upon the authority of the Bible, God’s powerful Word. … This is why if a person is a rookie in prayer or a seasoned veteran in prayer, there is something in this book for you.”
Prayer first became pivotal to Floyd as a young adult in 1975.
“God poured the need to be a praying Christian into my life back in my collegiate days,” he told BP, recounting in the book “a defining moment” toward the end of his freshman year at Howard Payne University in Texas.
“I was open and willing to do the will of God in my life,” Floyd writes. “I came to college not knowing one soul. Yet I was on fire for God. My passion was alive, and His calling was clear to me. … I met fellow students who were in love with God just like I was. We wanted to please God. We wanted to grow. Our personal passion for God was great.”
In accompanying a friend to a Bible conference in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where the friend’s father was one of the speakers, he writes, “Little did I know that God had designed this experience to shape my entire life and ministry.”
Late one evening with his friend, they spent time with “a godly man” at a restaurant that left Floyd “even more encouraged to go deeper with God. Before we left … I asked him something like ‘Sir, if there is one thing we need to know as young preachers, what is it?’ His penetrating eyes looked into mine, and he said, ‘Ronnie, if you will learn to spend one hour a day with God, there is no telling what God may choose to do with you.'”
He took the counsel to heart, Floyd writes. “Even though I did not know then what I know today about the subject, I wanted to be a man of prayer. That night, God began to define who I was to be as a man of God.”
Floyd told BP, “Through the years God has taught me and continues to mature me in prayer. As a Christian leader, it is imperative I am a man of prayer. I have led thousands of people in prayer gatherings across America as well as gatherings with hundreds of pastors. I have served as the president of the National Day of Prayer Task Force for two years and this privilege would have never been afforded to me if I had not developed the ministry of prayer in my life.
“When we pray, we walk in faith upon the Word of God,” Floyd said. “This helps in my life, family and ministry. God can do more in a moment than I can do in a lifetime.”