I pray a lot; but I'm not especially gifted at it.
That was gloriously evident when led in prayer by Ginny Worrell and Karen McCoy.
Both have gone home to Jesus; yet I often recall being ushered into the presence of God and connected with all of the saints in the deepest recesses of my spirit whenever they led prayer.
Anyway, I often recall Tony saying two things about prayer.
When assaulted by somebody who didn't like how he prayed, he said, "Listen, lady, I wasn't talking to you!'
When someone said he didn't hear God speaking when he prayed, Tony noted, "That's probably because you don't shut up and listen!"
Not long after May 8, 1977, I was about to lead the congregation in a prayer that I had written for worship and distinctly heard God say to me, "Bob, we went over this on Friday. Don't you have anything new to talk about today?"
I learned authentic prayer, really praying or talking to/with God, is not a pre-scripted and practiced performance but rather the privilege of a personal relationship with the Father as guided by the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus.
That prompted me to jettison the scripted stuff, get real, get current, and take only some notes into the pulpit to guide pastoral prayers.
I'm not saying scripted prayers are always wrong.
The recorded prayers of Francis and Mother Teresa and Bonhoeffer and King and many other gifted prayers like Ginny and Karen will always usher us into the presence of God and connect us with the family of faith if the head, heart, and gut are engaged in the repetition.
So with that in mind and people always asking for some prayer helps, here are some promptings for the morning, evening, and meals.
Scratching the Surface
(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Increasing Intimacy)
Lord, I begin this day in praise and thanks for You as my Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior…
I know I need Your love, forgiveness, mercy, and empowering to be Yours in all things at all times in all places with all people as exemplified in Jesus, explained in the Bible, and enlightened by Your welcomed presence in my life as Holy Spirit…
I want to honor You through behavior confirming my belief in You as my Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior…
As Your guide for our time together this morning, I read the Bible to increase our communion and discover Your will for my life. I trust You will tell me when to pause and ponder, ingest, and digest; and how to enflesh this morning’s insights, inspirations, and instructions…
Reminded of my need to confess and repent or conform to Your will as exemplified in Jesus and explained in the Bible to be forgiven and restored to Your best intentions for my life, I admit how I have insulted You and injured others by…pledging to change bad behaviors for good behaviors…and expressing gratitude for Your forgiveness that allows me to forgive myself…
I know the fruit/proof/evidence of our relationship – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness/humility, and self-control – are supernatural by-products of our increasing intimacy…
What I say, what I do, and how I appear will honor You and help others increasingly as I am increasingly close to You…
I ask favors – intercessions for others and personal supplications - for…
I prepare for today’s opportunities, ups, downs, detours, distractions, temptations, joys, sorrows, victories, defeats, and challenges according to Ephesians 6:10-20…
I pray as taught by Jesus: “Our Father…”
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lord, this food is a gift from You; providing pleasure and fuel for life. I thank You for this food along with everything and everyone that minister to my life; reserving highest praise and thanks for Jesus who inspires confident living and guarantees eternal life. Thank You for sustaining my body and saving my soul through Jesus in whose name I pray. Amen.
As this day draws to a close, I honor You as my Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior…
I am thankful for today’s experiences and expressions of Your favor…
I am sorry for today’s failures…confessing…repenting…receiving Your forgiveness…
I entrust the past, present, and future to You…
I open the Bible for You to have today’s last word…
I trust Your peace and healing as I end as I began the day…
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
This is only a brief and incomplete guide to prayer.
Intimacy with our Lord increases as we increase intimacy
with Him through worship, prayer, Bible study, fasting,
sacrament, silence, stewardship, and regular
fellowship with His family of faith
uncommonly called the
Blessings and Love!
Shatter the sound of silence!
Wake up! Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
I admit I don't always read your Kopp's Disclosure, but sometimes I do and this morning was one of those sometimes.
I just came from a city prayer breakfast. It's held monthly and is attended primarily by people of a very different theological bent than myself. But every month I am grateful that I am invited, included, and even allowed to pray! This morning as I was amening some of the prayers and having difficulty with others I reminded myself that it's not about me. Their prayers are not meant for me and my prayers are not meant for them. All of us are joining our voices in whatever kind of song it forms and lifting them to God - our hopes, our fears, our joys, our concerns, our differences and our similarities. We're all there because we believe that God can make a difference in this place we call home.
So - thank you for reminding me of what I already know. And for reminding me that while we may not always agree we're both seeking to serve God and God's people in the ways we know with the tools we've been given. You don't mess around with or mince words. I always appreciate that about you. You have helped me gain insight into perspectives that I don't always understand.
Thank you for your words this morning about prayer.
Thank you for your prayer reminders. I saved them in a file, not the round one. I agree with you. When I pray in the pulpit, a few written reminders keep me from using last Sunday's prayer and using "vain repetitions. God answers prayer. My wife, Jan, has had Parkinson's for 6 years and doctors said it would increase. The doctors were wrong. She is getting better. Jan had severe illusions and needed 24 hour care at Park Strathmore. Lived in a chair, wheelchair and sometimes could use a walker. We both prayed. Now she is home. Still unsteady on her feet, and using a cane, but she can dust, fix meals, vacuum and other things wives are supposed to do while I watch the Cubs lose. "Experts" at Park Strathmore said I was not able to take care of her; she would need a live-in nurse; if I took her home, they would refuse to readmit her; they would refuse to release the medication we paid for; and other threats which they labeled "concerns for her welfare". Too long to list all the things Jan did and believed, but by the grace of God we experienced victory. Yes, God heals and restores.
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