I have been writing for several days now on my spiritual disciplines to give a glimpse into what it looks like to grow in Christ. I am not speaking of gaining knowledge though growing in Christ requires us to know more information about Him. I have talked about a number of components mentioned in my article HERE. You can follow the threads and see about a Bible Reading Plan, using devotional guides, reading in the Book of Proverbs, and my deeper bible study reading. Today, I want to discuss prayer (and I am using the term ‘want’ loosely).
As I said in the initial article, this is the place where I feel the weakest since I find myself becoming impatient and sometimes distracted in this area. It is one thing to have a prayer time where you ask God to bless your meal…or to heal Aunt Ethel’s big toe injury (both necessary and good aspects of prayer), but I am talking about talking and listening to God.
This time is often divided and many times informal. Here is what I mean.
It begins with acknowledging God for who He is. I start by rehearsing all fo the qualities of God that come to my mind.
Then, the time turns toward confession: God forgive me for these areas SPECIFICALLY that I know inhibit my fellowship with you.
Third, and this is the tricky part…God speak to me. NOW–LISTEN.
Here God is free to turn my mind wherever He wishes. He may remind me of sin, shift my thoughts to His greatness, press me to intercede for someone…or just be silent as He trains me to wait on Him. Then…I ask Him to open my mind to the Scripture. As I am reading, I like to think God is also turning my mind by drawing me to things in Scripture.
Finally, I repeat: God you are great and here is how… God forgive me and this is why…God show me what You want me to know or see and I will wait.
When I sense it is time to move forward I do.
Here are a couple of things that make this hard for me (and maybe for you too):
- I get in a hurry. I am a slave, at times, to my calendar.
- My mind is prone to wander. I swear the enemy will flash every shiny squirrel he can to get me off-track.
- I am selfish. I often want to focus on me and how I can grow and what I want God to show me. God on the other hand, will not share in my self-absorbed madness. He stands quietly just out of view.
- I like to drive. Waiting and watching and being dependent is an ongoing challenge. I have to work at it.
But, when I get it right: (excuse the forthcoming alliteration. I am a preacher after all).
- I sense His presence. I can tell God is there.
- I sense His peace. He speaks to things that are important to me.
- I sense His purpose. I gain direction.
- I sense His power. I feel like I can do it (whatever the IT is at that moment).
I hope that helps. If you have a better plan or a thought to contribute I am all ears…as long as I stay focused.
Grace and Peace,