Patterns for Daily Prayer

“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.”~~Herman Hesse (BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is milquetoast, “a very timid, unassertive, spineless person, especially one who is easily dominated or intimidated.”

Today is Chocolate Covered Anything Day. One of my favorites!

We finished getting the light put up, yesterday evening. I was planning to do the last bit, which was stapling the small lights around the garage door, when I got home from work. But by the time I got home, Christi was already halfway done with them! Nevertheless, they are done for this year, and only nine days before Christmas!

I stopped at a house in Grapevine on the way home, yesterday, and picked up my music for the Yuleslide event in Grapevine, this Saturday. I’m looking forward to this. It will be nice to be in a sort of trombone choir, once again! I plan on practicing a bit this evening.

We haven’t watched the finale of The Voice, yet, but we know who won, and it was no surprise. Jordan Smith was the winner. Emily Ann Roberts, Blake’s country girl, came in second, and I truly believe she will have a brilliant career ahead of her. She reminds me of a hybrid between Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood. I was a little surprised at third and fourth place, though, as Barrett Baber (which looks and sounds way too much like Bieber) beat out Jeffrey Austin. I thought Austin was way better, especially in the final performance night. Jordan Smith, though . . . I swear I never heard a single sour note out of that kid. One of the most amazing voices I have ever heard.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

Today, I’m just sharing some practical models that Tim Keller offers as a pattern for daily prayer. This will be verbatim from the book, as summarizing would not do it justice.

Morning Prayer (25 minutes)

APPROACHING GOD

Ask him for his presence and help as you read and pray. Choose from one of these scriptural invocations: Psalm 16:8; 27:4, 9-10; 40:16-19; 63:1-3; 84:5-7; 103:1-2; 139:7-10; Isaiah 57:15; Matthew 11:28-30; John 4:23; Ephesians 1:17-19; 3:16-20.

BIBLE READING AND MEDITATION

(Keep in mind that no one can do all of the following in any one session of meditation and prayer.)
To study the passage: Read it three or four times. Then make a list of everything it says about God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); list anything that it tells you about yourself; and finally, list any examples to be followed, commands to be obeyed (or things that need to be avoided), and promises to claim. When this is all done, choose the verse and truth that is most striking and helpful to you. Paraphrase the thought or verse in your own words.

To meditate on the passage: Write down answers to the following questions:

  • What does this text show me about God for which I should praise or thank him?
  • What does the text show me about my sin that I should confess and repent of? What false attitudes, behavior, emotions, or idols come alive in me whenever I forget this truth?
  • What does the text show me about a need that I have? What do I need to do or become in light of this? How shall I petition God for it?
  • How is Jesus Christ or the grace that I have in him crucial to helping me overcome the sin I have confessed or to answering the need I have?
  • Finally: How would this change my life if I took it seriously–if this truth were fully alive and effective in my inward being? Also, why might God be showing this to me now? What is going on in my life that he would be bringing this to my attention today?

PRAYER

Pray each of the meditations–adoration, confession, petition, and thanksgiving for Jesus and his salvation.
Pray for your needs and pressing concerns
Take a final moment just to enjoy him and his presence.

Evening Prayer (15 minutes)

APPROACHING GOD

Ask him for his presence and help as you read and pray.

BIBLE READING AND MEDITATION

Read a Psalm, eventually working through the Psalter twice a year.

PRAYER

Turn the Psalm into a prayer and pray it back to God.
Think over your day and confess where you sinned or failed to respond as you should have.
Think over your day and pray for people you met or heard about who have needs or are in difficulty.
Pray for some of the more urgent and important needs on your heart.

A Starter Plan for Daily Prayer (15 minutes)

APPROACHING

Think of the privilege of prayer. Realize God is present. Ask him to help you pray.

MEDITATION

Read a Scripture passage. Discern one or two truths you learn there. choose the one that most impresses you and write it in a sentence. Now ask: How does this truth help me praise God? How does it show me a sin to confess? How does it show me something to ask God for?

WORD PRAYER

Now turn the answers to the three questions into a prayer–adoration, petition, and supplication.

FREE PRAYER

Pray about whatever needs are on your heart. Also spend time thanking God for the ways you see him working in your life and caring for you.

CONTEMPLATION

Take a moment to thank and admire God for what he has showed you today. End with a note of praise.

Consider that these are but suggestions to help someone get started in a daily pattern of prayer. While I have already been engaged in daily prayer, myself, I consider it lacking some major components that Keller has encouraged us to use. I am working on tweaking these to what will work best for me, by the beginning of 2016.

Father, I pray for your assistance, asking the Spirit to help me work out this daily prayer thing for the new year. I am excited and hope for the new year to be prayerfully powerful

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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