Week 4 – Prayer

Prayer

 

Prayer is a foundational and transformative Holy Habit, a way of being, the breath of life. It reorientates us in right relationships with God, with others and the world. It is an antidote to the selfishness of sin.

Whenever Christians meet together, they pray. Sometimes the words are well loved and have been recited by the church for ages past. Sometimes the words are fresh and raw, gushing from the deep cries of people’s hearts. On other occasions, Prayeris silent. Or Prayer may arise simply from the shared activity of people who love Jesus Christ ‘living, working in our world’.

Prayer is a conversation with God; it is waiting on God – both in listening and serving. Prayer is sustaining, encouraging, nurturing, exciting and engaging. It is the lifeblood of the church.

 

Below are some different practices for you to do to help you make prayer a habit in your lifestyle and to help you find different ways of praying that may suit your personality type better.

  • Use an acronym to help structure your prayer time:
    • PRAY – Pause, Rejoice, Ask, Yield/Yes
    • PACTS – Pause, Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication (humbly asking God for…)
    • TSP – Thank you, Sorry, Please
  • Go for a walk as you pray – for some people, being outside in nature really helps them to focus on God, away from distractions such as phones, emails and the TV.
  • Intentionally spend time in silence listening to God – Expect God to talk to you, it could be through a small still voice, a picture or a feeling – God loves to speak to us, and prayer is about listening as much as it is talking.
  • Journal  – write down/draw what God is saying to you and/or write down your prayers to God. Also use it as a space to write down your answers to prayer. This can be especially helpful when you read back through it as you are reminding of God’s faithfulness and goodness.
  • Pray together – whether as a family or with friends, spend time praying for each other.
  • Be creative – use painting, craft modelling, write poetry – whatever it is, offer it up to God as your prayer.

These are just a few ideas, the most important thing is to intentionally carve out time to speak to God and to listen to Him. That being said, not all prayers need to be at a specific time of the day – as you go about your day talk to God as you would a friend. Offer up to Him the good and the bad, let Him know who you’re feeling – invite Him in to every part of your life.

 

Questions to consider

  • What do you find helpful and what do find challenging in regards to having a prayer time?
  • We talked a bit about challenges to personal prayer and the busyness and distractions of our lives.  Are there things that you can identify as ‘blocks’ to developing your prayer life?  How might you remove them?
  • We looked at some suggestions for developing our prayer lives (see slides 8-11 on Ian’s powerpoint, downloadable from the links below). Are there any that may be of particular help to you?
  • We seek to pray as a community.  Ascend (3rdSunday 7pm St Martin’s) is a great place to do this – have you been along?  If you have how did you find it?
  • In the talk a couple of books were mentioned. Are there any  prayer resources (books/websites/apps) that you have found and you could recommend?

Below are some resources to help you get started and/or dig deeper into the topic of prayer. The last link is a Word Document which has even more resources within it, do have a look!

 

Resources

There are loads of phone apps to help: Lectio 365, Pray As You Go and Inner Room are just three!

Click here to go to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s five part video series on prayer

Click here for creative prayer ideas – including how to pray with children and young people

795 creative prayer images

Click here for 24/7 Prayer International’s “help me to pray” page

Click here to download Ian’s powerpoint from his talk on Prayer

Prayer- a poem and some quotations

Click here for more resources and reflections on Prayer to go with Ian’s talk

 

Recommended Reading