The year was 1977. I had just graduated from seminary. My theology professor, Dr. Tom Finger, asked to meet with me. Dr. Finger said, “What theology class do you think our seminary needs?” I thought for a moment, then answered, “Prayer. We need a class on prayer.”
“Would you teach this class on prayer?”
“No. I need a class like this. I am in no position to teach it!” How many of you know that a teacher, especially a beginning teacher, often learns more than their students? God was speaking to me through Dr. Finger. He persisted. I acquiesced.
In the fall of 1977 I taught a class on prayer at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. My main requirement was: to pray. I required the students to go apart to a solitary place and pray, each day, for half an hour. I thought this was a stroke of genius! Of course, this assignment was for me, too. The result was that I, the teacher, acquired a praying life that has lasted to this day. I became a student of Christ in the School of Prayer.
What is praying? Praying is talking with God about what God and I are thinking and doing together.
Praying is communicating with God about The Mission.
In praying, I meet with my Commander and receive my marching orders. This is what Jesus was doing in Luke 5:16: Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Jesus prayed. Therefore I, as his apprentice, pray. I pray in lonely places. I call them “places of least distraction.”
I bring, with me to these lonely places, a Bible, my spiritual journal, and a devotional book (some book I am reading for spiritual direction). During my praying time, when God speaks to me, I write it down in my journal.
In praying I experience comfort, healing, deliverance, and rescue. I receive encouragement. I am told that I am loved. I get corrected and directed, which calls for obedience. I find out what God wants from me and what he wants me to do.
Praying, to me, makes following Jesus exciting and real. God really does expect me to follow him!
I have found that I can be myself, and use my own words and ways of talking, when I pray. I don’t have to learn a special language. God is not impressed by my words, but by the attitude of my heart.
I bless you all with a deep, conversational relationship with the Lord Jesus!
I am a praying person.
I pray because Jesus, the Lord of my life, prayed.
When I pray, I pray from the heart.
Praying is exciting to me, because I am communicating with the Maker of Heaven and Earth!
I am gaining control of my schedule. Therefore, I am finding more time to pray.
I am a prayer warrior, defeating satanic strongholds, and bringing in the Kingdom of God!
(From my book 31 Letters to the Church on Discipleship.)