Thursday, January 12, 2006

Lessons from the School of Prayer

This is the title of Chapter 1 of D.A. Carson's book A Call to Spiritual Reformation.
Let me briefly list the eight lessons he gives to shape a successful prayer life.
1) Much praying is not done because we do not plan to pray.
- Wise planning will ensure that we devote ourselves to prayer often, even if for brief periods: it is better to pray often with brevity than rarely but at length.

2) Adopt practical ways to impede mental drift.
- You can do many things to stamp out daydreaming, to stifle reveries. One of the most useful things is to vocalize your prayers....It simply means you articulate your prayers, moving your lips perhaps; the energy devoted to expressing your thoughts in words and sentences will order and discipline your mind and help deter meandering.

3)At various periods in your life, develop, if possible, a prayer-partner relationship.
- ...Praying is an immensely intimate business--and intimacy in one area leads to intimacy in other areas, [so choose an appropriate partner]. Prayer partners are as valuable for the discipline, accountablity, and regularity they engender as for the lessons that are shared.

4)Choose models--but choose them well.
-Most of us can improve our praying by carefully, thoughtfully listening to others pray. All[good models] are characterized by a wonderful mixture of contrition and boldness in prayer.

5) Develop a system for your prayer lists.
- Many Christians who give themselves to prayer, however find that in addition to such published information[i.e. Operation World], it is wise and fruitful to prepare their own lists.

6) Mingle praise, confession, and intercession; but when you intercede, try to tie as many requests as possible to Scripture.
-This rich mixture is nothing more than a reflection of the many different components of the kind of relationship we ought to have with the God of the Bible.

7)If you are in any form of spiritual leadership, work at your public prayers.
- It is not a question of pleasing our human hearers, but of instructing them and edifying them. Good praying is more easily caught than taught.

8) Pray until you pray.
-We are especially prone to such feelings when we pray for only a few minutes, rushing to be done with mere duty. To enter the spirit of prayer, we must stick to it for a while. If we "pray until we pray", eventually we come to delight in God's presence, to rest in His love, to cherish His will.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I enjoy reading your comments and try to reply as much as I can. Thanks for reading here.