21 Jun Why we all need a little more practical in our prayer life
INTRO: why we all need a little more practical in our prayer life
“Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian.” –Andrew Murray
PRAYER – a common word. PRAYING – a common action. But how do we actually do it? How do we do it well? Without feeling silly or inadequate? All the time? Internally? Out loud? Face to face with real people?
When we use the word prayer – we all think of different experiences, methods and practices.
In a service. Read aloud. In our thoughts. Written out. Read in Scripture. Read from books. Received. Given.
It’s a great idea to pray but PRACTICALLY SPEAKING, how do you pray? How often? For whom? Honestly?
A QUESTION: WHY DOES CHC OFFER PRACTICAL PRAYER CLASS?
We have a little theory.
The theory is this: prayer is a great idea, but many people would describe their prayer life as mediocre at best.
Many of us, when asked to pray out loud, get a little nervous. Many of us feel ill-equipped and would rather call in the pastor or the “super” – christian.
Some of us feel that our prayers are little more than pithy hopes aimed at God, unsure that they have an impact on the world, much less that we could impact the world with our prayer attempts.
These are normal thoughts and feelings about personal and corporate prayer. Most of us agree prayer is good. Yet we question our own ability to do it, especially out-loud, for others. We are sure there’s someone better for people to get prayer from than us.
But then there’s that moment when we’re sitting across from a friend, sipping coffee, listening to the confessions of a life in shambles, or of depression that doesn’t seem to abate, or of fear about impending test results … in those moments we want to offer more than a “I’ll be praying for you…” We want to actually pray for them, right then and there … but inadequacy suggests to us that it’s not the best plan and someone better than us could do that some other time for them.
If any of that rings a bell with you – good because that means I’m not alone in those thoughts and feelings.
There are two things that have moved me from sitting in the unequipped chair, to the more equipped chair:
RECEIVING prayer & GIVING prayer in a safe space where I was given permission to practice.
At CHC, our hope is that PRACTICAL PRAYER CLASS is a safe space for anyone who doesn’t feel like an A+ student in the out loud prayer department to do a few things freely:
1. Watch effective prayer MODELED
2. PRACTICE in a safe space
3. MESS up and be A-OK with it – welcome to the club!
4. NOT know what to say at times
5. Bring your QUESTIONS, your own experiences & your honesty
6. EXPERIENCE powerful simple prayer
7. GIVE someone else prayer that means something to them
8. Learn GUIDELINES that build CONFIDENCE
9. GROW in hearing God’s voice for yourself
10. WALK into your life ready with a few simple ways to “pray on demand” for others
PRACTICALLY SPEAKING: PART 1
See if this thought is helpful: your prayer life doesn’t start with figuring out what to say and how to say it.
It starts with a. permission and b. remembering:
a. Give yourself, right now, permission to be honest (be real) about not knowing, about your questions, about exactly where you are in life right now.
b. Right now, remember, that God is with you. Period. So instead of forgetting or living under the delusion that God’s not there – remind yourself that He’s there – already part of the conversation. Jesus isn’t far – He’s Emanuel, God WITH us.
Now take b. the reality that God’s already there with you. and add it to a. permission to be you – talk like you talk. And talk about it with the God who’s with you, like He’s really right there with you, as real as any other.
As you start to act like God’s really there, available for conversation, talk like yourself to him. Be real. If you need to write it down to get the thoughts from your head to your heart, do that but most importantly, right now, for a few minutes: give yourself permission to “think” as if you’re not alone in your head with your thoughts but that you are fully IN a conversation with God, already.
Shift from a monologue to a dialogue.
This dialogue capability is what, according to the Gospel of Jesus, is real – living in the monologue is the lie. Jesus’ life purpose: to give us full access to God like He has – at all times. Let’s start learning to act like it’s true. An always available conversation with God – prayer.
See, there, you may be praying A LOT more than you actually give yourself credit for. You are not alone in your thoughts, start becoming aware that God’s there – talking with you and keep going!
Consider this the intro to a multi-part series on PRACTICAL PRAYER. There’s also the next class at CHC, join us for that anytime!
NEXT WEEK: Practical Prayer Piece 1: BUT HOW? Connection. Love. Worship. IN that order.
PS – Here’s one of my favorite pictures of sweet prayer – my three oldest praying over their hour old little brother. Kids are the best kind of pray-ers.
Cayce is our Director of Ministries at CHC. She loves fostering the creative expression of God’s beauty in all the ways it manifests in her life and work: though art, through supporting and strengthening teams, through teaching and through leading healing prayer experiences. She considers working at CHC her JOY job in the midst of a JOY season in life. Cayce and her husband Joel are expecting their 5th baby in February; they blame their other kids awesomeness for inspiring #5.