5 Days of Spiritual Disciplines: Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of the Spiritual Disciplines Challenge!

How did Day 1 go?

Day 2: Prayer

I’m very excited about today’s discipline, Prayer. My excitement comes because this is one of those aspects of our spiritual life that can either flourish or feel like we’re just going through the motions. I’ve often envied those people who are known as “prayer warriors” because prayer seems so easy and fruitful for them. It hasn’t always been so for me.

But prayer can be learned and we can develop our prayer life to a place of greater maturity and deeper intimacy with God. We can develop patterns and techniques that show us new things about God and ourselves as well as giving us a new perspective on the role of God in the world around us. Ready to dive in?

Are you a prayer optimist or a prayer pessimist? Do you pray out of obligation and social pressure or do you see prayer as an opportunity to see the grace and mercy of God? It can be difficult to be honest about how we approach prayer. A dull prayer life is one of those secret and oh-so-common discouragements in our walk with God.

Why? If prayer is so important why does it sometimes feel like slogging through spiritual mud? Maybe it’s because we pray but don’t ever feel closer to God. Maybe we don’t feel like anything will actually happen if we pray. Maybe we don’t pray except in a crisis and forget about God in our everyday self-sufficiency.

But…what if every 60 seconds one of our prayers were answered? What if we felt close to God every time we prayed? What if…what if?

What if we stopped looking at prayer as a drive thru and started looking at it as a way to connect with God. What if we listened just as much as we spoke? What if we could start seeing prayer as a way of participating in what God is already doing in our world?

Maybe it’s our mindset about prayer that needs to change. Prayer is always and ever an opportunity to spend time with the Holy God of the universe. To listen and be listened to by the one who loves us more than we could ever imagine. It’s a place of absolute freedom, where we don’t have to be anything other than who we are. All our frustrations, triumphs, hopes and dreams laid bare before him in a safe and loving place. Where else in our lives to we have this opportunity?

So how do we start to have this kind of prayer life that is intentional and vibrant, hopeful and purposeful? It starts with being intentional, as so many things do. Setting apart time to be with God and making it an unbreakable priority. Because those things in our lives, our to do lists, are only manageable if God is at the head and focus of it all. And this season more than most, with the joys and tensions, we need that time spent with God.

Prayer Challenge

Choose at least 2 of the 3 kinds of prayer talked about below and practice the challenges.

Let me know how it goes!

Prayer type #1: Meditative Prayer

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12

Choose a passage of Scripture, your choice. Maybe it’s something from your reading or a verse that is meaningful to you.
Meditate on it, asking yourself the following questions
What does this tell me about God?
What does this tell me about how God thinks of me?
What does this say about how God views the world and what he cares about?
Transition into Prayer. Tell God what you’ve learned. Tell him what you think about it.
Is this new or the reminder of something that you’ve known for a long time?
How does this resonate with your soul?
What do you think God has to say to you in this passage?
End by thanking God for the illumination and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer type #2: Intercessory Prayer

“…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16b

This is the prayer that I associate, right or wrong, with the prayer warriors in my life.
What cause or injustice are you passionate about? Where would you like to see change in the world?
Spend time meditating on this topic. Listen intently for where God’s heart is on this issue. Does what you’re hearing align with what the Bible says?
Take this issue before God in Prayer. Intercede for people who cannot intercede for themselves. Take it before the Throne of God with the assurance that God hears the cries of his people and seeks the restoration of our world.

Prayer type #3: Flash Prayer

“Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This one is fun and strangely addictive.

Flash prayers are short 5-10 second prayers that you pray for people you encounter during the course of your day.

At work, or any of your daily activities, take 10 minutes-1/2 hour and as you go about your daily business, flash pray for any people you encounter.
Imagine Jesus walking through your day with you. What would he wish for the people you meet?
If you know them and know some of their struggles, pray for those.
If you do not know them, Pray that God’s presence will be abundant to them.
Pray that if they do not know God that he will make himself known to them, through you and others.
Pray that they will feel the Joy of the Lord

 

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12 thoughts on “5 Days of Spiritual Disciplines: Day 2

  1. This is a great line “What if we stopped looking at prayer as a drive thru and started looking at it as a way to connect with God.” As parents we love it when our children turn to us for help, although at some stages the mommy mommy mommy can I…., when repeated 42 times a minute is tiresome. We teach our children to ask nicely and to listen to us as we respond to their requests. As a parent of adult children (who called me daddy, I used mommy as an example) their requests are understood better when we have spent time together and because we know and love each other. Our Father loves to hear our requests, and wants us to grow and mature and how/why we ask as we develop our relationship with Him. The relationship with my adult children is different than when they were small, I do love how we can connect now and enjoy one another. I think the Father craves and enjoys when we mature in faith and can engage with Him.

    Over the years of my faith journey the Flash Prayer has been a way to develop that ongoing sense of God’s presence in every part of my day. Practicing the presence of God is strengthened by the discipline of flash prayers. When I think of it I try especially to pray for store clerks, emergency workers when I pass them by, bank tellers, annoying people in the bank line…

    • I love your analogy about how our asking changes as we mature but God’s desire to hear from us doesn’t. And you’re right, flash prayer helps us keep calm in the face of so many frustrations in life, including bad drivers, double parkers, etc.

  2. Sometimes i feel that i can pray for others and he will hear me as where i pray for myself i’m not worthy. I also get angry at times when i pray and nothing happens. I think i am pretty real with God, but sometimes i wonder if i don’t have enough faith and that is why my prayers aren’t being answered. I am not by any means a “pray warrior” in my eyes i’m not one to remembers verses word for word or even know where they are located yet can still remember what is in the bible. I guess i’m just trying to say is sometimes i get frustrated if i can’t hear him or it seems my prayer isn’t getting answered.

  3. Had a wonderful time in prayer today! I did the meditative and intercessory prayers. I am only beginning to understand how powerful prayer is and what God can do. Hearings and miracles were not just in biblical times but also for today. As I hear of and experience headings and miracles it makes my God come alive😀. I am experiencing a desire to spend time in prayer knowing that it is the most important thing I can do!

  4. Well… today has not gone according to how I planned & that is not necessarily a bad thing. It was like the day itself had an attention deficit going on & took me along for the ride. I read through the 3 types of prayer and THOUGHT I would try the first 2 as this is where I have been inattentive & lacking in exercise. The end result has been slightly different.

    Meditative prayer: I chose today’s scripture in the Advent Booklet Colossians 1:9-23 and immediately chuckled as it starts with “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you…”. God often shows me I am on track by aligning things in my life (that normally would having nothing planned to do with each other) and today it was the planned scripture and your topic of prayer meshing. And can you do meditative prayer in 2 parts? Well I did. To settle in my spirit, after having my first attempt interrupted, I reread the passage out loud and inserted my own name and, wow, did it ever jump off the page! I am still pondering on it.

    Flash prayer: I didn’t plan to do this one as I didn’t plan to go out and see or talk to anyone (excluding my dear husband) but God had other ideas in mind. Today’s first “interruption”? A visit with one of the men who was one of the elders in our very first church. From there on I zigged & zagged and now plan to compile a list of those that I actually spoke with/saw and make sure I didn’t forget to pray for them. I have flash-prayed for years sometimes intentionally or as if a continuous conversation with God throughout my day. I have called it Insta-prayer.

    Looking forward to tomorrow.

    • I love how you went with the flow of the day and incorporated the discipline into it. I find days like that are when God sets the agenda and I learn more and differently than I thought I would.

      • When I sat down to make that list of people to pray for it just kept getting longer & longer. I even added a few more today. I have always thought I was fairly aware of who I cross paths with but after this I sit here amazed at how many people I actually saw or interacted with. THAT alone is worthy of waking me up to the moments & opportunities I may miss on those days I allow myself to introvert and be tunnel-visioned. I am also sure that I have missed people in the periphery and that blows my mind all on it’s own. Never under estimate your sphere of influence! Wow!

  5. my heart was blessed by a young woman”s story, who worked at one of the stores that shoeboxes were given out. She shared with me how she packed her first shoe box in honour of her dad. LAter in the day I took my boys to see their specialist, it is so wonderful to see your kids talk freely about their faith. The nurse share how nice it was to have gotten up dates of Nathan’s adventures with YWAM last year.It was a joy being able to be a blessing to Nicole today.

  6. Did the flash prayer today … Pretty cool!! Changes how you see people and I love that!! Going to keep going with this one for sure! Want to try the meditative one , maybe tonight yet 🙂

  7. I’m late to the response on this, but enjoyed Flash Prayers throughout the day with all those I encountered in my office. I’ve done this before while riding transit – praying for the people around me whom I know nothing about, but asking God to reveal himself to them in significant ways. I’ve often wondered if anyone else in their lives has prayed for them. Prayer is an amazing connection to God and to others.

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