My mind has been on the topic of prayer a lot this year.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
I do pray continually.. I am in conversation with God throughout the day; giving praise, asking forgiveness, asking for help for myself and others, expressing gratitude, etc. all as the Spirit prompts me. Yet, I kept feeling like something was still missing. God, in His faithfulness, opened my eyes to see that if the Spirit doesn’t prompts me, then I think there’s no reason to pray.
He did that, partly, through the June devotional kit by Creative Retreat Kits (referral link) called ACTS of Prayer. The devotional was written by Julie, who is on the Creative Retreat design team. I was encouraged by what she shared about having a devoted prayer time in addition to praying continually. She reminded us that Jesus, the Son of God, prayed often. In fact, it was his custom to wake early and go to a desolate place to pray to the Father.
I have a few friends who I make sure to get in touch with each week. This is so important to me that I actually write it down in my planner so that I don’t forget. Sometimes, the conversation is very brief; just checking in with each other. But, other times, it’s an opportunity to encourage, lift each other up in prayer, and carry each other’s burdens. These regular conversations have really strengthened these friendships over time.
God brought this mind and reminded me that it should that way with Him, and even more so really. I should be diligent in my prayers and be intentional in making the time for this spiritual discipline.
Another insightful resource was a bible teaching series about the Lord’s Prayer called Teach Us To Pray. It served to remind me of the right attitude we should have regarding prayer. I took to my faith journal to document everything I learned which can be summarized in four points.
1. Prayer is like breathing.
This is something that we do naturally as believers; as naturally as breathing in and out. And it’s like breathing also in the sense that it’s essential to our spiritual wellbeing.
One of the pastors at my last church preached a sermon on prayer using a word picture of the dolphin. The dolphin spends its life under water for the most part but has to come up to the surface regularly for air. He compared that need for air to our need to pray. Our need to come up from where we reside, down here in this world, and breathe in celestial air as we approach the throne of God. Without doing this, we cannot thrive.
2. Prayer is a privilege.
As believers, we have been adopted into God’s kingdom. He chose us and He saved us. Before this, we were separated from God. Jesus made the sacrifice so that we could be reconciled and redeemed, and we now have immediate access to the Father. I just think this is incredible! I mean, if you’ve ever read Leviticus, for example, then you can probably see why I think we have it pretty easy now.
This should fill us with so much gratitude that we don’t need to be prompted to go to God. Instead, we do so gladly, with humble and thankful hearts, just to be in His presence.
3. Prayer is discipleship.
Looking at the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, prayer teaches us to joyfully submit and surrender to God’s will. It teaches us to depend on Him for our basic needs. To repent and seek His help in overcoming sin. To forgive as He has forgiven us. It helps us to keep a kingdom focus, or mindset, as we pray for His kingdom to come.
4. Prayer involves listening.
God already knows our hearts and He knows what we need. Yet, He invites us to tell Him. This is part of fostering our relationship with Him. Another important part of that relationship is listening to what God has to say. He says that His sheep knows His voice. A big part of listening to God is learning to discern His voice by reading His word and seeking what He has to say.
For this entry, I used the stencil from the kit to create three points of interest on the two page spread. I used yellow ink for the first layer, then rotated the stencil slightly and applied a few more layers in different colours. The spiral effect that it creates is supposed to represent the continuous nature of prayer. Check the video below to see how it comes together.
Joy & Peace, Sister!