Over the coming weeks I'll share four ways (i.e., Prayer, Bible Reading, Small Groups, and Service) that can help us make a great start to 2015. They may not seem revolutionary, but they are the foundational behaviours for a completely transformed life in Christ. First and foremost, we begin with prayer. Prayer is foundational to who we are as a church and what we are on about individually and corporately. There's lots of ways we pray as a church together, however, your individual prayer life is also critical. Despite this, Christians commonly find it challenging to have a consistent rhythm of personal prayer. There’s numerous reasons for this, e.g., difficulty in finding time, not knowing how to pray, lack of discipline, and sometimes just not viewing prayer as a priority. As we all seek to grow our prayer lives, here’s five simple ways to get going:
- Set aside time everyday. Start small, specify a place and amount of time that you would like to spend in prayer (perhaps even just 5 minutes to begin with) – and then guard it as a really important appointment.
- Keeping a prayer journal or list can be really helpful in focusing your prayer life and remembering everyone you have promised to pray for. Apps like “prayer mate” are very handy in this regard.
- Remember that prayer is a conversation! Include some time of silence in order to listen to God. If you're doing all the talking, it doesn't leave much space to hear God speaking :-)
- Use the Bible. I’ll have more to say on this next week, but praying with the Scriptures is a great way to give shape and depth to prayer. The Psalms are a brilliant place to go to. You might also like to check out Tom Wright's book on rediscovering the Psalms.
- Use a pattern of prayer and keep it simple. There are many models of prayer. Using a simple pattern such as ‘ACTS’ (i.e., Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) or ‘Thank You’, ‘Sorry’, ‘Please’ can really provide some shape to your prayer life and can help prevent you from not knowing what to pray about (or simply getting distracted).
Don’t forget to ask for help from other people in our church (you can even pray for one another’s prayer life!). You might like to let them know how often you intend praying, and then be accountable with them for encouragement.
Resources for Prayer
- Book: “Prayer” by Timothy Keller. Available at Koorong and Book Depository.
- Book: “The Lord and His Prayer” by Tom Wright. Available at Koorong and Book Depository.
- Phone App: Prayer Mate. Available for iOS (iPhone/iPad) and Android.
- Tool: “My Little Prayer Cards”: These are a fantastic way to pray with young children. Available at Koorong and Book Depository.
- Book of Common Prayer (BCP) or the Anglican Prayer Book for Australia. Patterns for prayer with a depth and beauty that have stood the test of time. Download the BCP iOS or Android apps.
- Next week I’ll mention a range of devotionals that are helpful for prayer and Bible Reading.