Spiritual Disciplines #4 – Prayer

I’ve been wrestling with the discipline of prayer this past week. I have to be reminded to pray way too much. I pray when a request is given. I pray when I hear of a need. I pray when nobody else at the dinner table will do it. In fact, most meals I get the honor of praying for the food. I think that is one of the unsaid perks that come along with being the pastor. All of these particular prayers are good and needed, but I’m struggling to call them a discipline.  

 

Our definition of spiritual discipline – Practices that are the guaranteed places of spiritual transformation.   

 

More often than not, my prayers seem to miss the target of a spiritual discipline. Therein lies the reason I’m wrestling with the discipline of prayer. My prayers tend to be a function of duty or responsibility. The spiritual discipline of prayer is much more. Again, let us not beat ourselves up, but let us seek together something more in our prayer lives. I’m seeking along with you. 

 

How do you turn something from a responsibility to a transforming spiritual practice? Prayer needs to move from simple words and thoughts to something more significant.  

 

Richard Rohr said, “ Prayer is not primarily saying words or thinking thoughts. It is, rather, a stance. It’s a way of living in the Presence.” 

 

Prayer is a word that describes a relationship. Disciplines of prayer provide patterns for attending to God throughout the day. They open us to the divine dialogue through the intentional encounter with the Trinity. In Donald Whitney’s work on spiritual disciplines, he compares learning to pray like learning a foreign language. It is clunky and awkward at the beginning, and to become more fluent, you must immerse yourself in the language and practice, practice, practice. This is where the secular definition of discipline is essential: to train or develop by instruction and exercise, especially in self-control. Learning to pray requires training and instruction.  

 

More thoughts to come on prayer. I’d love to hear how each one of you practice praying. What are your methods? How do you pray? Please send me an email with your thoughts.  

 

Jason@casperchurch.com or Jason.Fazel@gmail.com 


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