The Touchstones of Prayer

Good morning. It is Friday, September 25, 2015.

Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is donnybrook. It has nothing to do with a girl named Rebecca. It means, “an inordinately wild fight or contentious dispute; brawl; free-for-all.”

Today is Psychotherapy Day. I recognize this in honor of our oldest daughter is currently working to finish her licensing process to become a licensed counselor.

Yesterday was a pretty good day, with nothing really remarkable occurring. I got of work on time (although I certainly could have stayed late), we got home and and had our soup for dinner, and Christi went to Huddle. I watched most of the two-hour series premier of Scream Queens, which was silly, as expected, but also interesting. I think I’ll keep watching for a bit, to see where it goes.

I used to be excited about Fridays, but not any more. Last Friday, I worked until 7:30, and I’m not expecting much better today. It’s not a good situation that we are in, and I don’t see it changing any time soon. Unless another job falls into my lap.

Christi’s company picnic is tomorrow, and should be a great time. We have to be at the facility by 9:00, so I will have to hurry in the morning, as I don’t want to make her late. I’m looking forward to it, I think. Unfortunately, we will miss church again. That’s one of the major drawbacks of having it on Saturday afternoon.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Heart Aflame)

saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as your portion for an inheritance.”
When they were few in number, of little account, and sojourners in it,
wandering from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people,
he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account,
saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”
When he summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread,
he had sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
His feet were hurt with fetters; his neck was put in a collar of iron;
until what he had said came to pass, the word of the LORD tested him.
The king sent and released him; the ruler of the peoples set him free;
he made him lord of his house and ruler of all his possessions,
to bind his princes at his pleasure and to teach his elders wisdom.
Then Israel came to Egypt; Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham.
And the LORD made his people very fruitful and made them stronger than their foes.
He turned their hearts to hate his people, to deal craftily with his servants.

Psalm 105:11-25

“Contemplate now how God directs and controls all. By the hand of these brethren he provides for the good both of themselves and of their father Jacob, yes for that of the whole Church.” (p 269)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

As promised, today, I will run down a summary of the “Touchstones of Prayer,” as described by Timothy Keller.

PRAYER

What It Is
Work: Prayer is a duty and a discipline.
Word: Prayer is conversing with God.
Balance: Prayer is adoration, confession, thanks, and supplication.

What It Requires
Grace: Prayer is “In Jesus’ name,” based on the gospel.
Fear: Prayer is the heart engaged in loving awe.
Helplessness: Prayer is accepting one’s weakness and dependence.

What It Gives
Perspective: Prayer reorients your view toward God.
Strength: Prayer is spiritual union with God.
Spiritual Reality: Prayer seeks a heart sense of the presence of God.

Where It Takes Us
Self-Knowledge: Prayer requires and creates honesty and self-knowledge.
Trust: Prayer requires and creates both restful trust and confident hope.
Surrender: Prayer requires and creates surrender of the whole life in love to God.

The next section, called “Deepening Prayer,” will have chapters on prayer as conversation and prayer as encounter.

Father, I pray that you help me remember these touchstones, not that they are “inspired scripture,” or anything like that, but they are very helpful tools that this pastor/author has given us. I pray that I can incorporate these ideas into my daily prayers, looking back to take note of what prayer is, what it requires, what it gives, and where it is taking me. Help me to approach prayer as more than just a routine I go through every day, on the way to work. It is life, as important to my spiritual life as breathing is to my physical life. Perhaps even more so, prayer is more like the heart pumping blood through the body. I should not be able to live without it.

I pray for this day, that our trip to work and home will be safe. I truly pray, perhaps selfishly, that we might not have to work quite so late, tonight. May we have a light day of new freight to work. I pray for Christi’s day, that it will be smooth, but productive. May you give Stephanie a strong sense of your love and presence today. I pray for guidance for Rachel and Justin, and for strength and hope for my mother.

Father, I pray for the young son of our friend, R.J. He is really struggling with dealing with his grandpa’s death. May you bring comfort and peace to all of them.

Come, Lord Jesus.

May all who stumble across this little place on the Interwebs be blessed with a vibrant prayer life. Take note of these “touchstones of prayer” that Timothy Keller has given us. I believe they are worthy of consideration and incorporation into our prayer lives.

Grace and peace, friends.

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