A New Pattern of Prayer

by admin

Inspired by the life of monks, who I recently watched in the BBC reality series, “The Monastery“, I began to investigate the cycle of services they live under.  They Pray “The Hours” and their services follow a cycle called “The Daily Office“.  A lot of what they pray and do strikes me as overly formulaic, but there is something to be said for a structured prayer life that leaves room for really engage spiritually – to seek with your very soul a moment with the Lord and have Him be that glass of living water that refreshes you in ways that drink never can.  There are precious few moments where I have felt that, but I can tell you that several have been in the past two days.

I am a pretty unstructured guy.  I like spontaniety.  I like discovering, flying by the seat of my pants, and happening upon random things.  However, in terms of growing and learning, the truth is God made us to learn best in a rhythm, a pattern, with discipline and consistency – things that I am not horribly good at.  In looking to deepen my walk with God, I decided to take it upon myself to create my own “Hours” to add rhythm to my day.  To make my relationship with God more central.  So for the past two days I have been beginning my day in prayer and devotions, taking 30 minutes at noon, and another 45 minutes before bed.  In that time I have been praying through the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23 and Psalm 117, working on memorizing new Scripture, and reading out of four books that I need to read as well as working on reading through the Bible in a year.  One a traditional devotional, one a pastoral book, one on missional life, and one from antiquity.  As a pastor of a newly forming church, I have determined that I cannot rest in where I am.  God needs me to be growing, stretching, and putting His purposes in my heart.  I can’t lead the way He wants me to unless I am doing this.

The rest is good, but I want to focus specifically on the prayer time.  As I mentioned above, I have struggled with feeling really close to God as I pray.  There have been relatively few times when I have just been feeling His presence in a real way.  But it has already happened several times.  How?  I point to the preparation that comes from praying through the passages of the Bible.  Before I even begin to pray for myself, I am just praying through the Lord’s Prayer.  And then at lunch, I pray through Psalm 23.  Finally, in the evening, I pray through Psalm 117 before I turn to other things.  The preparation of my heart through meditating on the words of Scripture is doing wonders for my state of mind.  The luxury of not having to search for words, but to just let the words I have long ago learned pour out of my heart, it just wipes my mind of worries and cares, and gives me a chance to come to God centered on Him.  I can’t recommend it enough.

You might have been shocked by the numbers I put up there for the time I am setting aside.  I was always overwhelmed by other “more spiritual” people than I who pray for an hour, two hours a day.  I didn’t know how they did it.  Watch for my next post on how I found the time.


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