Sunday, January 04, 2015

My 2015 Goal: A Year of Fervent Prayer

Ok, I'm at the moment quite gung-ho in my wanting to be serious about prayer. I only hope it can be sustained throughout the year and throughout my life.

From yesterday's post, I've actually finished reading Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God, it's not long, and I loved it! It will be useful to refer frequently to what I have highlighted to remind me to always live from the center of Christ.

A Call to Spiritual Reformation, Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
by D.A. Carson

I've also just started reading D.A. Carson's A Call to Spiritual Reformation, albeit from a print copy, which will be a challenge. And since I've named my 2015 goal as A Year of Fervent Prayer, I would like to post my learning on prayer as much as I can here.

My first lesson comes from a section in Chapter 1 Lessons from the School of Prayer: much praying is not done because we do not plan to pray.

This is an important as well as a difficult lesson for me because I'm not a good planner and worse than that I'm weakest as far as discipline is concerned (#34 in my Gallup Strength theme sequence). However, since I have used my Maximizer (a strong #7) successfully in making me go to the gym every workday in most of 2014, I will also use it to help me to plan my prayer and to keep the schedule, which I suspect will still not be so fixed or scheduled.

Carson said, "We do not drift into spiritual life; we do not drift into disciplined prayer. We will not grow in prayer unless we plan to pray. That means we must self-consciously set aside time to do nothing but pray...Wise planning will ensure that we devote ourselves to prayer often, even if for brief periods: it is better to pray often with brevity than rarely but at length. But the worst option is simply not to pray--and that will be the controlling pattern unless we plan to pray. If we intend to change our habits, we must start here."

With that, I want to start small and this is what I plan:
1. Say a brief prayer the moment I wake up before I get out of bed
2. Pray when I'm commuting alone
3. Begin every workday with 15 minutes of prayer (need to find a place though since I'll surely be disturbed in my cubicle)
4. Spend 15 minutes in prayer before I retire in bed at the day's end

Ooh...that sounds like a lot! I'll see how I will fare and will give a report in a week's time.

It will however be a good thing to be reminded of what Brother Lawrence said in his Ninth Letter of The Practice of the Presence of God: "One does not become holy all at once."

And Carson says this, "If God is the one 'who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose' (Phil 2:3), then of course he is the God who by his Spirit helps us in our praying."

Amen to that!


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