Prayer. This week we are focusing on loving the presence of God, and prayer takes us into His presence. I said yesterday, “Prayer is not something we do. It is a place we abide. Do you notice how often Jesus prayed? Do you think He needed to tell the Father (Himself) stuff or ask the Father to do stuff for Him (Himself)? If what we believe about the nature of the Triune Godhead is true, prayer was just Jesus talking to Himself, unless…prayer was not about talking but about being present with the Father. The Ancients called it ‘centering.’
If you haven’t yet, take a look at the brief (not very) video I did this morning on a possible outline for prayer. I said I would leave it here so: Using the Lord’s Prayer as an outline I take 6 sections and pray 2 minutes each (or 5, or 10):
- Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name….praise.
- Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…surrender.
- Give us this day our daily bread…petition.
- Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…confession
- Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…protection.
- For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever…Thanksgiving.
Here’s a great discussion on prayer by one of my favorite writers, Henri Nouwen:
“Listen, O Lord to my prayers. Listen to my desire to be with you, to dwell in your house, and let my whole being be filled with Your presence. (Do you hear that?) But none of this is possible without You. When you are not the One who fills me, I soon am filled with wandering thoughts and concerns that tear me away from You. Even thoughts about You can be nothing more than a distraction when You are not the Author.
Every day I see again that only You can teach me to pray; only You can set my heart at rest; only You can let me dwell in Your presence. No book, no idea, no concept or theory, (no outline given by Mike), will ever bring me close to You unless You Yourself are the One who lets these instruments become the Way to You.” Isn’t that good? “Seek the Lord while you can find Him,” says Isaiah, “Call on Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6 Before you pray today, ask God to be the director of your thoughts, the author of your prayers.
Remember what we are doing.
- time in the Word. Every day this week we read Psalm 42. Read Proverbs 2 today. Ask God to reveal some word of wisdom just for you today. And, Isaiah 55 today.
- time in His Presence. Spend 12 minutes today in prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as an outline. 6 parts, 2 minutes each, 12 minutes.
- time FOR His people. Do something small, and perhaps anonymous, for one person today. Send an encouraging text, pay for a cup of coffee, hold open a door. I’m going to mention that in a minute.
- Think about a small project you could do for your church over the next month. God loves His Church.
- And God loves His creation. Think about a small project for the environment, like pick up trash at the local park. God loves His creation. If you’ve come up with a good idea for this, leave it in the comment section. We need help with this one.
Man, this is getting good. Thanks for doing this with me. If you know someone that wants to join in, they can actually go back to Day 1 and start from there. You SHOULD be getting your daily email now if you sign up on the branchesblog.com page. If not, let me know.