Discipline: Daily Prayer - Reading List

Discipline: Daily Prayer

Monday, June 17, 2013

By this point, I am feeling not too bad about this idea of daily discipline when it comes to my relationship with God.  I mean I can totally handle opening my Bible for a few minutes every day. And I can find different study methods that allow me to dig a little deeper and actually understand why I am reading certain events and thoughts of others.

It is at this point that we need to consider adding to our daily Spiritual disciplines (in fact some of you might want to try to get in the habit of this daily discipline first...).

Let's talk about daily prayer.

Prayer: a reverent petition made to God.

At least that is the dictionary definition, but isn't there more to it? Let's try this definition: Prayer is the time we spend being conscious of being in God's presence with the desire to know Him more as a result. (source) Granted there might be something you would add or take away, I do feel this more accurately defines prayer, and here's why.

If we can think of our Bible reading time as the chance to hear from God and gain His wisdom, then we could think of prayer as a time to actually converse, as in a two-way conversation, with God. A chance for us to lay out our understanding of His words in the Bible, our fears, our worries, our thoughts, our hopes, our requests. At least we can look at prayer this way as a new Christian, or one just starting to really pray. 

And yes, there are many "forms" of prayer, but as far as daily Spiritual disciplines, let's focus in on private prayer that will help grow your relationship with God, because that is the goal of these daily Spiritual disciplines!

I guess the logical question is now, well then how do I pray? Luckily, God has given us some examples to follow right in the Bible.

Daily disciplines: Prayer

The most popular example of prayer is probably given by Jesus, when he tells how to pray after being questioned - found both in Matthew and Luke. Here Jesus shows us that we are to address God in our prayers, and praise Him. We need to also ask forgiveness, admitting that we are sinners. And we can ask for the things we need.

I find that in order to pray, and not just go into a wish list for God, similar to a santa list, I have to have the right perspective and getting that perspective can be extremely difficult. This where some prayer tools, so to speak, come in handy.

The first one I've used is the ACTS style of prayer. This method gives an outline for me to focus on, and most of the time, my perspective aligns more towards what God desires. Plus, this formula follows a prayer from the Bible - Hezekiah prays in a similar fashion. (Isaiah 37:14-20)

Another great tool is to pray scriptures as prayers for others, like praying for your children by inserting their name in scripture, or your spouse. (Here are some great tools to help you get started with this method: Praying for kids - a book; praying for husbands; praying for salvation;  prayer cards for kids, husbands, more kids!)

Daily Disciplines at Reading List

For me personally, the hardest prayers to say are prayers of Thanksgiving, especially when I am not going through a fun time. Yet I know, as a Christian, I am called to be thankful in all things. And my personal Biblical example is Hannah, who praised God with thanksgiving right after handing her three-year-old (approximately) over to Eli as a servant of the Lord. Here's a mother who would no longer be there to raise her son, and still she praised and thanked God for what she had been given, a son, for a short while.  (1 Samuel 2:1-10)

So right now, I'm challenging myself with daily discipline by participating in The Joy Dare, where everyday I find three things to be thankful in. Luckily, some of the thought is taken out of it as Ann Voskamp does give three prompts when you need help (although you don't have to follow them!). For me it's just the process of learning to really look for things to be thankful for, and stop looking at things to complain over, even if it's just three things a day.

Of course there are many other ways to pray, but no matter how you actually do it, you are called to be in a relationship with God. And to do that, you must communicate with Him.  So even if you have to schedule it into your days until the habit forms, start to discipline yourself in order to grow your relationship with your God.

There are many more Spiritual disciplines, and I am planning on talking a little more about them next week, so please come back! If you have any thoughts on praying, and how to treat this as a Spiritual discipline, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Other posts in this series
Discipline: A Practical Step
Discipline: Bible Reading
Discipline: Thoughts for Further Study

Linked up with: http://www.create-with-joy.com/2013/06/inspire-me-monday-week-76.htmlhttp://www.whatjoyismine.net/http://www.thebettermom.com/http://www.momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/http://cornerstoneconfessions.com/2013/06/t2t-linky-party-56.htmlhttp://www.aboverubies.net/2013/06/domestically-divine-tuesday-link-up.htmlhttp://www.time-warp-wife.blogspot.com/http://abidingwoman.com/http://www.mercyinkblog.com/2013/06/good-news-link-up.htmlhttp://www.upwardnotinward.com/http://christianmommyblogger.com/fellowship-fridays-42/http://www.missionalwomen.com/31/post/2013/06/faith-filled-friday-called-by-name.htmlhttp://biblelovenotes.blogspot.com/http://www.funnypostpartumlady.org/

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