I’ve been impressed upon by the Lord that my prayer life bites. It bites really bad, in the German Shepherd locked on your arm, won’t let go kind of way.
Part of my problem is the lack of diversity of my prayers. I petition, then petition some more, and finally end up with a little dash of petition.
Just between you and me, I think God is bored.
Anyway, after doing a little research, it seems that prayer isn’t a natural function. The guys that followed Jesus around had to be taught how to pray. I figure, I at least need as much instruction as they did! So, in the midst of this impression I was asked to attend a 1/2 day seminar on prayer. It was put on by Mission24, which I believe is connected with International House of Prayer. My buddy and I were some of the few non-Pentecostals there. It was a powerful experience, to say the least.
The main point of the seminar was to teach/experience a way to pray devotionaly with Scripture.
Notice, I said nothing about praying “through” Scripture. I said nothing about repeating the Scripture back to God. I’ve heard about that, and I’ve even practiced it a little bit. Some have found great rewards, others haven’t.
The idea they were stressing was “soaking” in Scripture. Taking a small part, just a single verse and sitting with it for about an hour. They recommend doing it over a particular verse for a week. The idea is to soak, not to get through it. As a guy that “reads for mileage,” the soaking concept isn’t a natural one for me. The desired outcome is that 1) people have a one on one experience with God, and 2) are changed by that experience.
They shared a prayer outline with us. These are seven basic steps to help you in praying the Scripture devotionally.
- Read the verse silently to yourself. Read very slowly
- Write the verse in your notebook or on a piece of paper.
- Say the verse silently in your heart. Speak slowly, lingering over each word.
- Sing the verse in your heart to the Lord.
- Pray the verse back to the Lord, You may choose to write out your prayer. This is where I had a question. Surely they were talking about something more than recitation. Yes, they were. You personalize the verse. Break it down. Speak to the Lord what that verse seems to be saying to you. Thank him, ask for understanding, admit ignorance. This is a very interactive portion.
- Write down anything you believe the Lord is showing you.
- Repeat steps 1-6 slowly and prayerfully until the allotted time is complete.
We practiced it for about 30 minutes using Ephesian 1.4. It was a good meaningful experience.
Was this new to me? Yes, and no. I’ve done a bit of reading in the area of spiritual disciplines. I’ve participated in covenant groups where prayer was given priority. But, I’ve never actually been shown…actually taken step by step through, and allowed to practice a method that combines Scripture in a slow methodical way.
I aim to get together a group from my church to experiment with me in this. We’ll see where it leads.