Thursday, June 12, 2014

Essentials of Prayer (Prayer Summer 2014)

Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem

This week, like every week for the past 40+ years, I am going to spend time praying. My challenge for everyone involved in Prayer Summer is: pray 30-60 minutes a day, 5 days a week, from June - August. 

Here are some basics about prayer that sustain me.
  1. There is a God. God exists. God is real. 
  2. God is a personal being. God desires relationship. This is why the Christian idea of God as a Trinity makes conceptual sense. God, in His being, is 3-Persons-in-One. God, in essence, is relational.
  3. God made you. For what? For relationship with Him. Why did God do this? Because (I repeat) God is a relational being in essence. God desires relationship. He made you for such a thing as this.
  4. God loves you.
  5. God knows you.
  6. God desires you to love and know Him in return.
  7. This is where prayer comes in. Prayer is talking with God about what the both of you are doing together. To pray is to enter into a loving-knowing relationship with God.
  8. God cannot be contained by space and time. But God, in is omnipotence, is able to localize his uncontainable presence. God can do this. Therefore God can meet with you now, where you are.
  9. When you talk with God in prayer begin by asking God a question – “God, is everything all right between You and me?” Then listen. If God shows you something that’s breaking relationship with Him, confess this to Him. It then becomes God’s delight to forgive you. God loves doing this because God is love, and God desires relationship with you. But note: God’s grace is amazing but it’s not cheap. It will cost you something to be in relationship with God. This should not surprise you, since to be in real relationship with anyone is costly. Love is sacrifice. There are no exceptions to this.
  10. In prayer talk and listen. Talk – express your love to God and your concerns. Don’t hesitate to ask for your own self. I meet some people who feel odd about asking for their own self. This feeling is not from God. Pray also for others; God will lead you into this. Listen – when God speaks to you, write it down. Start a spiritual journal, which is a record of the voice of God to you. Remember the things God speaks to you. His words are more precious than gold.
  11. God has much to say to you – today, and this week. God has plans and purposes for you, which have to do with His Kingdom and His righteousness. Seek these two things first. Then God will add all good things unto you. (“Good” = the kind of things God values, things like love and honor and reconciliation and joy and peace and compassion and real, authentic relationship.