I have been reading a book called 30 days to a more dynamic prayer life. In my typical style I did all the exercises for days one and two in an afternoon while sitting in the shop waiting for my car to be repaired. Then the book sat on the passenger seat for a week, and then a corner of my desk for a week.
This morning, I looked at it, and looked at the theme for Day 3…. This is what is listed as the implications for prayer:
- Prayer is about you listening to God more than Him listening to you.
- It is important to practice what you are learning and sensing in your prayer time.
- Seeking to understand God’s ways (how He works) needs to be a significant priority.
- Prayer isn’t always warm and fuzzy but often requires a life response.
- There will be a growing connection between your prayer time and your daily life.
If this is only day 3, things can only go deeper from here. This list tells me that despite the work I have been doing on prayer I still have a long way to go. And that’s okay with me, after all I am still this side of heaven, and I have time to keep developing my relationship with God.
So how am I doing on this list……gulp
- Listening to God. That’s still difficult. I am much better at talking to God than listening to him. But I learned years ago that we can natter at God so often and so long about something that we can begin to believe that what we want is God’s will. So I work at trying to be silent and listen, and trying to understand what Scripture is saying to me. And if it is a really big issue I ask others to pray which helps me to listen better because my will is not blocking my ears.
- Practice what you are learning. I am learning that I need to be more consistent. (Given the opening paragraph of this day’s reflection, I really need to practice being more consistent.) But being consistent to me isn’t about a book or a method, but about spending time with God and allowing God to direct how that time will be spent. Will it be silence at the lake? Will it be a time reserved for intercessory prayer? Will it be a time of praise and thanksgiving? Will it be time meditating on what I have read in Scripture or an inspirational book? Whatever the shape prayer takes, it will be regular and consistent, as I set aside time daily….
- Seeking to understand how God works. This I think will be the work of a life time. God never ceases to amaze me and surprise me…. and that’s a good thing because those moments of amazement are very faith-building.
- Prayer isn’t always easy and always requires a response. I have said that I believe that prayer is “conversation between me and God about what he and I are thinking and doing together.” That definition alone demands that I get involved in what we discuss. I need to be prepared to work for the things that I pray about. This means that I need to work on listening to the Holy Spirit so that I can be more faithful with the follow up to my prayers.
- Prayer and life will be connected. I think that will come more readily as I become more of a partner with God, but I also think that it happens when prayer happens spontaneously through the day as God brings things to mind.
All in all, I do think that I will be challenged as I work my way through this book. I pray that the growth will be evident in me as I become all that God created me to be.