Prayer Is Not a Monologue

April 17, 2017 at 11:12 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Prayer | Leave a comment

When The Circle Maker book by Mark Batterson was popular, I thought, from descriptions I saw, that it came from the “Name It and Claim It” camp.  But when a service I have that sends out reviews of books, included it recently, I found out that my assumption was completely wrong.

I have often passed on thoughts about praying the Bible.  As many of you know, that discipline has transformed my prayer life completely.  So I had to show you this quote.

What I’m about to share has the power to revolutionize the way you pray and the way you read the Bible.  We often view prayer and Scripture reading as two distinct spiritual disciplines without much overlap, but what if they were meant to be hyperlinked?  What if reading became a form of praying and praying became a form of reading?

One of the primary reasons we don’t pray through is because we run out of things to say.  Our lack of persistence is really a lack of conversation pieces.  Like an awkward conversation, we don’t know what to say.  Or like a conversation on its last leg, we run out of things to talk about.  That’s when our prayers turn into a bunch of overused and misapplied clichés.  So instead of praying hard about a big dream, we’re left with small talk.  Our prayers are meaningless as a conversation about the weather.

The solution?  Pray through the Bible.

Prayer was never meant to be a monologue; it was meant to be a dialogue.  Think of Scripture as God’s part of the script; prayer is our part.  Scripture is God’s way of initiating a conversation; prayer is our response.  The paradigm shift happens when you realize that the Bible wasn’t meant to be read through; the Bible was meant to be prayed through.  And if you pray through it, you’ll never run out of things to talk about.

From Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

Learn to Pray the Bible

August 12, 2015 at 9:19 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Prayer | Leave a comment

In recent years, I have used my devotions to pray from the Bible, or I should say, to let the Bible guide my prayers; and, as our congregation knows, I have tried to make all my public praying utilize prayers and passages straight from the Bible.  Not only do I believe this is a better way to pray according to God’s will, but I believe it will help others learn to pray as well.

If you want to learn more about praying the scriptures, here is a link that has an article from Don Whitney’s book, Praying the Bible.  Dr. Whitney is a professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  There is also on that page a way to sign up for five video lessons on how to pray the Psalms.  I haven’t read the book yet, but the video lessons are short and insightful.  I think you will find them helpful.

Here is the article.    Here is the book.    Here is the video lesson sign up.

Grocery List Prayer

June 30, 2014 at 9:29 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, It's All About God, Prayer | Leave a comment

I have always believed in praying the scriptures, and have tried to learn more about that practice in recent days.  I have been using scripture-based prayer in all of our church prayer sessions since I took over that area of ministry a few months ago.  Daniel Henderson, prayer pastor at Mission Hills Church here in Colorado, has had a positive impact on my thinking in this regard.  Here is a great quote from an article he wrote n the “Prayer First” Newsletter from Converge Worldwide (June 2014).  It talks about “grocery list” prayer, coming to God only with a list of my requests.

Grocery list prayer, while very common, is an approach to God that stems from our persuasion that prayer exists for us to inform Him about our problems, hoping He will order the universe according to our expectations.  These expectations are usually rooted in our desire to avoid suffering or difficulty.  God is reduced to a heavenly vending machine that exists for our temporal satisfaction.

Prayer is so much more than our list.  Praying through the Psalms has been a huge help to me.  Don’t just read the Bible, pray it back to God as you read.  It might just transform your thinking about prayer, about yourself, about life, about God.

If you are interested in a conference on scripture-based prayer, check out the 64 Fellowship website.  Cathy and I are attending the conference in Denver on July 30-31.

Four Prayers from Philippians

May 5, 2009 at 11:02 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Prayer | Leave a comment

Here are some prayers from my quiet time today

1:3-6  I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  This prayer was for the staff, Deacons and Elders at Village Baptist.  I do thank God with joy for partners in this ministry.  We have a great group of leaders here.  Those who are Elders now were all on the Board when I was called to Village, so they have been partners with me from the first day until now.  I pray that God would complete the good work he started both in the individual lives of these men and in this corporate body under their leadership.

3:12  I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  I believe Christ called me to teach and preach his word, so I must take hold of that thing.  When I hear of people struggling with midlife or burnout issues, I must remind myself of this truth – lay hold of the very thing for which you were created and pursue it with excellence.  At the same time, I must ask if that is all.  I love what I do and can be very comfortable with just that, but has God taken hold of me for more?  Does he want me to expand this ministry?  All of us who are comfortable with our ministries and station in life should ask this question.  God help me lay hold of the very thing for which you’ve created and called me.  Open the doors of ministry that you desire me to have and use me for your glory.

4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  I prayed that peace which surpasses understanding for some people I’ve recently talked to in troubling and anxious situations (though I can’t write about them here).  In the midst of those circumstances, Lord, offer your amazing, mind-transcending peace.

4:11-13  I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  Lord, I have known times of lean, but currently you have me in a time of plenty.  In spite of the hard financial times, I have seen a nice increase in income the past two years and am enjoying the fruit of that now.  Help me to be faithful and wise in my stewardship of this blessing – whether it is for my daughter’s college, our retirement, greater generosity, or some other reasons.  At the same time, allow me to be content, for it is often the case that the more one has, the less content he becomes, and I don’t want to go there.  I will rely on your strength for contentment, because all I need I have in you.

Praying Paul’s Prayer

November 19, 2008 at 11:39 am | Posted in It's All About God, Prayer, Worship | Leave a comment

Colossians 1:9-12.  For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”  I haven’t written many devotional journal entries lately.  In part this is due to busyness and in part due to having very few profound thoughts in my devotions and study.  However, I have had some great prayer times, as I’ve used Paul’s prayers for the churches as patterns to follow in my own prayers for others.  Praying the Bible – God’s own words back to him – is a great devotional tool for many who, like me, are not prayer warriors.  I especially like the Psalms for this exercise – like my prayer for the election winners.  But this week, I used this Colossians prayer for my family and our church staff.  One might notice, in it, the theme of our ministry to others coming from God’s ministry to us.  (Their “bearing fruit in every good work” is a result of God’s filling his people with “knowledge of his will through spiritual wisdom and understanding.”)  That is the same theme I’ve emphasized with our staff and in these pages in recent weeks.  I also noticed that this prayer is a God-centered prayer.  It recognizes that life is all about God and makes no greedy self-centered requests.  It’s a great prayer.  Try using it as a prayer guide for your friends, family and church leaders.

Later in the day I read this passage and put this note in my journal:  
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17.  Here is another of Paul’s prayers to emulate in our prayer lives.  “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 

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