When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray,
just as John taught his disciples.”
I wish I could say, after 40+ years of walking with the Lord that I have mastered the discipline of prayer but I am still learning, still growing. At times prayer has been an absolutely wonderful experience; the conversation with my Lord flows easily and the sense of fellowship is indescribable. But there have been other times when it has been much more difficult to lay hold of God in prayer; times when I have been casual and complacent about prayer, or easily distracted or simply tired. It's in these times that I call on the disciplines and practices that have helped me recalibrate my heart.
Over the years I have introduced into my spiritual development some disciplines and practices that have proven to be helpful as I continue to learn to pray. One such practice is 'my prayer list' which I have used for many years. It's a very simple tool; I take a blank sheet of paper and fold it into 8 sections, one for each day of the week and one as my daily list. By using this tool, I am able to 'manage' what has become a very long list.
I keep Monday's page blank; it is reminder for me to spend time alone with my Lord and to allow Him to direct my prayers. It is amazing how often, when I'm quiet and listening, how many times God brings to mind those for whom I should be praying. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I pray for ministry friends and colleagues; what used to be one day is now two days as that list has grown over the years and continues to be added to regularly. On Thursday I pray for Hockey Ministry friends; a list that is 30+ years in the making. On Friday, I pray for our friends we have know through the years; my list now includes children and grandchildren. On Saturday, I pray for Valley, often using our directory and bringing every name before the Lord. On Sunday I pray for 'the church', for our Worship Gathering -- my Sunday list is intentionally brief. Daily I pray for my family and the Lord and I talk about whatever is on my heart and, if I'm really listening, those things that are on His heart, that He wants to share with me.
My list has evolved over the year but it is still a simple resource to help me seek to be faithful in praying for those for whom I have the privilege of interceding. In the past I have sometimes written out my prayers or kept a prayer journal. I have sometimes gone on a 'prayer walk' or scheduled time just to be alone with the Lord. I have been blessed and encouraged by reading the prayers of great men and women of the faith and by reading the thoughts and reflections of their writings.
At the end of the day, each of us is responsible our own spiritual development; to find and embrace the disciplines and practices that work for us. What works for you, may not work for me and conversely, what you have found helpful just might prove to me beneficial to me. So, I'm curious, what are those practises and disciplines that have encouraged you in your journey of faith? Use the reply form below to share your thoughts with us!
Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)