Spiritual Disciplines Course.
Introduction to the Discipline of Prayer.
- Prayer is the chief point of contact in a living relationship with God. It
is the communion of our whole being with God.
- It is not only one way communication, and it is also not simply
talking. Prayer involves talking, listening, and sometimes just
enjoying the company of God without words.
- Richard Foster says that, "Real prayer is life creating and life
changing.", It is, "the central avenue God uses to transform us." We begin to
see things as God sees them as we change through our prayers. Sometimes our
inability to pray is a resistance to change.
- Prayer is something we learn to do. We cannot simply become "giants of
prayer" overnight. We need to practice, train, spend time and effort, and we
will develop a deep life of intimacy in prayer with God. Remember Jesus had to
teach His disciples to pray (Luke 11:1). Even though they had probably prayed
all their lives, their was something different about the way Jesus prayed. So
don't be scared to experiment, even if it seems as if you "fail".
- When we pray for others, we need to first get in contact with God, so that
His life and power can flow through us. "We begin praying for others by first
quieting our fleshly activity and listening to the silent thunder of the Lord
of hosts...Listening to God is the necessary prelude to intercession." The
Holy Spirit will guide us as to what we should pray. It is not only for the
big things we must pray, but also the little things.
- Sometimes we feel we don't have enough faith to pray for others, or we
feel afraid. If you feel the Spirit is guiding you to pray for someone, do it.
The simple act of praying shows faith.
- We need compassion when we pray for others. "We do not pray for people as
'things', but as 'persons' whom we love" or who God loves through us.
- We mustn't make prayer too complicated. We should always bear in mind the
Biblical analogy that we are God's children, and He is our Parent. Our
communication should be open, honest, and built on trust. We should never be
afraid of laughter, and joy in our prayers. We need also to remember to pray
with confidence. When a child goes to it's parents for lunch, they never fear
they will not receive (except in unusual circumstances, which can't really be
compared to our Heavenly Parent).
- Another thing we can learn from children, is their use of imagination.
Imagination can be a powerful aid to pray, it "opens the door to faith". If we
imagine Jesus actually doing what we ask, it can be strengthening to our
faith. It is not that we are conjuring something up, or manipulating God if we
do this under the guidance of the Spirit. It is God who is telling us what to
- We must not wait until we feel like praying, but like everything else we
must do so that we feel like doing (imagine if we only worked when we felt
like it, we'd never get anything done). As we 'exercise', the 'blood' begins
to flow, the 'muscles' begin to loosen up, and we begin to feel like
- Prayer should not be seen as taking up valuable time, it should enfold our
time, and our work. Pray and action should be interwoven.
Exercises:During the week set aside specific time to spend in prayer.
You may only feel ready to spend 10 mins, 4 times during the week., or you may
want to spend 30 mins, 3 times a day, every day, it's up to you. Remember don't
try to run a marathon unless you are fit enough, and have been training for a
long time. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you.
During these times you may want to use some of the exercises. You don't
have to use all the exercises, they are simply there as examples in case you
need something. Do try and use at least one though.
You could also use the following Bible readings and pray in response to what
they evoke in you. Again, you may use them in any order you want, and spend as
long as you need on each one:
Matthew 6: 5-15
James 5: 13-18
Mark 9: 14-29
The pattern of prayer.
The prayer of worship.
The prayer of
The prayer of thanksgiving.
The prayer of
The prayer of faith.
The prayer of command.
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