If you are ever in a Bible class and you aren’t sure how to answer a question, there are several answers that seem to work in a pinch: God, Jesus, Bible study and prayer. It seems like about whatever topic we may be covering in a class eventually (and often rightfully) gets into one of those. With the last two in particular we find that the answer to spiritual growth often points us toward greater Bible study and prayer.
Knowing that background, it’s not surprising that a couple of weeks ago I preached on prayer. The conclusion I ultimately tried to draw us to as we looked at the early church’s prayer life in the book of Acts was that we must be a people praying big prayers and expecting God to answer them because He is at work within us. I still believe every word of that. Yet I still find myself struggling to have the prayer life I want and believe I should have.
I’ve notice this recently as my mind has been drawn to the way I pray. If you are like me, you probably find yourself praying similar things every time you start to pray. You have specific phrases that you seem to almost use without thinking. While that could indicate a comfort with prayer that makes it natural, in my case I find that it points more to the fact that I struggle to truly focus and think while I pray. I’ve developed a habit of praying without much thought.
In order to challenge myself to grow in my prayer life, I’m going to try a few different things. My plan is then to follow up with additional blog posts on what I’ve learned and anything that I think might be helpful to you and others.
My first change is going to be something that I hope will help me with knowing what to pray and truly considering it. I’m going to begin by praying through a few books of the Bible. I’ve chosen Paul’s letters to a couple of young men, Timothy and Titus, as the books I’m going to pray through. If you’d like to join me in that or choose another book, I welcome any comments on what you gain from the exercise as well.
So what will this look like? As I read I will think about what is written and pray about having those qualities within me or making decisions in line with the instructions given. I will thank God for what He has provided. The content will all depend on the text. I will plan on going through one of the books every day and pray about the parts that catch my attention. So, as I mentioned, if you want to pick a book to do this as well, choose one and then choose some length to read and pray about the things you read.
So that’s the long and short of it. I will post again in a few days about how things are going.