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
- 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 do.
- 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 praying.
- Prayer should not be seen as taking up valuable time, it should enfold our time, and our work. Pray
and action should be interwoven.
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
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
Matthew 26: 36-46
James 5: 13-18
Mark 9: 14-29
The pattern of prayer.
The prayer of worship.
The prayer of repentance.
The prayer of thanksgiving.
The prayer of guidance.
The prayer of faith.
The prayer of command.
Some xtra thoughts on prayer
Prayer & Meditation for Good Friday
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