Christian Life Helps

In Ecclesiastes, King Solomon concludes that life is destined to remain unsatisfying apart from our recognition of God’s intervention and our decision to live a life devoted to God and His purposes.  In other words, God is for life, not just for Sundays!  But the reality remains that we need reminders and encouragement through the week.  We are called to do life together and spur one another on to love and good works.  We come to worship Sunday mornings for spiritual nourishment and we would like to offer you a “spiritual snack” each week.  Each Wednesday, a member of our church or staff will be writing on topics such as marriage, living unoffended, stress, parenting, the spiritual disciplines and more; all aimed at offering encouragement and a reminder that you are not alone in your journey. Thanks in advance to those who have agreed to share their hearts and words with us.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Shera


Prayer As A Lifestyle

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When should we pray? How do we pray? Do you often wonder as I have if we are “getting it right”? I have not one but two copies of Richard Foster's book Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home. Even before Shera asked me to write about prayer I committed to learn more about it by reading Foster's book. Though I am by no means an expert, I am on a quest to develop my lifestyle of prayer. There are a couple of misconceptions I would like to share as well as an idea which has helped me to pray.

Foster explains in his preface that he felt inadequate to write about prayer. So what am I doing offering help on prayer?! One common assumption people make is that there is a right way and a wrong way to pray. Yes, the Bible tells us to “pray this way” Matt 6:9, when He gives us the Lord's prayer, but I believe God just wants to hear from us. Yes, there is value in practicing the long list of prayers in Foster's book like the prayer of relinquishment, the prayer of adoration or the prayer of petition, but we should not feel inadequate if we simply offer thanks for a magnificent sunset or the earth quenching rain.

Another misconception is that prayer has to be formal. We are to kneel, preferably in a church, fold our hands and spout out big words with lots of thees and thous. For years I felt like a failure because I didn't get up at 5:00 in the morning and spend hours in serious, contemplative, meditative prayer. Is there anything wrong with formal prayer? Of course not. Foster has not sold over 250,000 copies of his book on prayer in vain.

In perhaps Fosters most famous book, Celebration of Discipline, he suggests flash prayers.

These are anything but formal as they are said in a flash of thanksgiving, a sudden need brought to our attention or the sight of desperate people as we drive down the street. Anytime or anyplace is appropriate for prayer as we engage in relationship with God. See Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, 7 And the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

First Thessalonians is a great lesson from Paul's lifestyle of prayer. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you.” I Th 5:16-18. Many are familiar with verse 17 to pray continually, but it takes on a fuller more relative meaning for me in the context of verses 16-18. All things come from God which gives me great joy. God instructs us to find the joy in everything. If everything brings us joy then surely we are to thank him for it every day, anytime, anywhere.

 

Melanie Neal