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Anne Graham Lotz Draws Near to God in Prayer

Struggles and Solutions

“Prayer has been one of the greatest challenges of my Christian life,” Anne freely admits. She sums up her struggles with prayer with three “C’s”: concentration, consistency, and content, and asked God to show her solutions for each struggle. In terms of concentration, she says it’s easy for her mind to wander when trying to focus on the Lord and the many things she genuinely wants to pray about. “Instead of truly communicating with God, I think about what I need to fix for supper, or what I’m going to wear to a special event, or when I can schedule coffee with a friend. Or I’m so tired that I simply doze in the quietness of the hour.” She found that writing her prayers down helped greatly with both concentration and content. By forming a book from forty of those written prayers, her hope is to help refresh our conversations with God, and draw us nearer to Him. 

Another aspect of prayer that Anne found difficult is having consistent, daily time with the Lord. “How often I have been distracted by my chirping phone, or interrupted by my dog needing to go out, or so busy I jump out of bed at the last minute and into my day without any real prayer at all.” The solution was simply setting her alarm earlier so she had time with the Lord before starting her day. It’s made all the difference.  
   
The Purpose and Elements of Prayer

“Remember, the purpose of prayer is not just to get answers,” Anne reminds us. “The purpose is to develop an intimate, personal relationship with the One who loves you, gave Himself for you, and longs for you to live in the light of His presence,” she exhorts. Anne has lived what she preaches, more in recent years than ever before. In 2015, she was faced with the sudden death of her beloved husband of nearly 50 years, Danny. Just a few years later, in 2018, she and all the world, mourned the death of her beloved father, Reverend Billy Graham. Only six months later, Anne began an exhausting battle with cancer. Despite the deep sorrow and pain, she testifies, “I never once lost my joy, or my inner peace, or the steadfast hope that God was in control and would work out all things for my good. I have ‘seen’ His glory...His character in the dark cloud.” In order to build intimacy with the Lord, Anne says she bases her prayers on four basic elements: worship, confession, thanksgiving, and petitions. “I have made a habit of beginning my prayers by worshipping God for who He is, because as I focus on Him, it’s amazing how my own needs and problems are reduced in size compared with who He is,” she says. “Then I look at myself and confess the sin that now seems obvious, revealed by the light of His holiness and glory. God has used a list of sins to effectively guide me deeper into confession. I do not beat myself up over my sin, but instead, once I have named it for what it is, I move into thanksgiving to the One who has forgiven and cleansed me. At this point, I am ready to present my requests and intercede for others.”

Prayer in this Difficult Year 

In these incredibly difficult days of the coronavirus pandemic, isolation from one another, social upheaval, deadly riots, and a bitterly divided country, Anne reminds us that Christ hasn’t left His throne. She exhorts us not to despair, but to look to Him for our every need. “It’s time to turn from our sin, self-centeredness, and secularism,” she says, “and turn to God in faith and trust. Now. Could the silver lining in the black cloud of the coronavirus be this? That it causes America to look up and listen to what God has to say, and therefore becomes the trigger for a national spiritual revival? May it be so!”  

Anne’s written prayers come from her own prayer journal, and cover all manner of needs, such as weariness, hard times, loneliness, national cleansing and revival, true security and prosperity, and God’s peace and protection, which concludes with these words: “I ask that You bless our beloved nation. Protect us. Defend us. Heal us. Unite us. Please continue to use us as a force for good in the world. Keep us steadfast in our commitment to be a friend to Your people. You are a great prayer-hearing, prayer-answering, covenant-keeping, miracle-working God. Hear my prayer and bless this nation with the peace that only the power of the gospel can bring to our hearts and lives. For the glory of Your great name—Jesus, Amen.” 

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