Live with Jesus: October
One of the most essential rhythms in a believer’s life is the attitude and action of prayer. Prayer is conversing and communicating with God, and it involves listening and speaking. As believers, we know the importance of prayer, but we often fail to follow through. Each week this month, we will engage prayer in a different way.
Practicing Prayer: engaging in rhythms of prayer
Pray with an attitude of expectancy that God is hearing and answering our prayers! Be intentional and set aside time to spend with Jesus.
Week One: the Lord’s Prayer
Take time this week to focus on the Lord’s prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he had a simple, but profound response: he prayed. Start and end your day with the Lord’s prayer. As you pray, ask the Spirit to guide you into a deeper understanding of the words and phrases. Make this a sacred time where you make the words of the prayer a reality in your life. Pray the words slowly and deliberately, remembering that Jesus prayed this prayer and that every word and phrase is rich with meaning.
Week Two: Listening Prayer
Since prayer is communicating with God, take time this week to listen to God. Good communication is a two-way street, and listening is just as important as talking. Developing habits of listening provides a solid foundation for talking to God. Listening prayer allows God to set the agenda for prayer and responds to the word that is given. Listening prayer is a dialog that requires listening to God’s thoughts and not your own. Focus on 1 Samuel 3:9-10, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” Let these words help you develop the discipline of listening prayer. Don’t worry about distractions; acknowledge them without self-judgment and humbly return to giving listening attention to Jesus. Persevering in listening prayer is an act of trust that God is present.
Week Three: Prayers of Praise
Too often prayer is viewed as asking God to respond to a specific need or request. Isaiah 61:3 instructs us to put on the “garment of praise.” This week take time to focus your prayer time on praising God, thanking him for his goodness, his blessings, and his presence. Look for opportunities each day to glorify him by praising him for who he is and what he is doing in your life. It may be as simple as thanking him for the food you have to eat, or the job you have (even if it’s not your dream job!) It’s so easy for us to find things about which to complain, the habit of intentionally looking for reasons to praise God can change our perspective and give us a different outlook.
Week Four: Petitioning Prayer
Prayers of petition invite God into our world with its cares and concerns. It is a way of bringing our families, friends, community, and the world into the throne room of God. When we petition God, it is not manipulating him to do our will, rather it is the practice of petitioning him in a manner to join him in the accomplishment of his will. Prayers of petition also remind us that God cares about us and the world that we live in. This week, focus on bringing your needs, concerns, and struggles into God’s presence and lay them at his feet. Take time to specifically pray for the upcoming election and for the peace of our nation.