TGIF

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61 Responses

  1. I doubt if anything inspires as much self-recrimination as prayer with our beloved host. Less stress over it might lead to more prayer. But we all have known this struggle to one degree or another. I confess I hardly stress over it and have found many forms of outlet for the experience.

    But all the promises of prayer that we post inspire more than a little doubt in me.

  2. Michael says:

    BD,

    It is a difficult subject for me.
    As I read the biblical narrative prayer is the fulcrum point…the means by which the kingdom comes.
    I want the kingdom to come more fully before I depart here and see it in it’s fullness.

  3. dswoager says:

    I caught the initial post the other day but didn’t get around to writing a comment, so this seems like as good a place as any. This is a good approach to prayer mostly because it is an honest one. If we were to truly come before God and ask him for the things that we want it would be a lot clearer what deficiencies we have in our lives. As it stands I too often talk to God and tell him what I think he wants to hear, working as if I ask often enough it will become what I truly want. If I would ask God for the things that I truly desire, I might more likely be disgusted by the shallowness with which I approach him… seems like it might work more powerfully in the latter case.

  4. Crickets … yep its a prayer meeting.

  5. dswoager says:

    Here I thought it was me.

  6. God is never as harsh as our own inner “editor”.
    Any Father who embraces a surly prodigal and is quick to remind a thankless proud child who never strays how “all I have is yours” is a wild Parent Who welcomes our every thought, our every petition, without upbraiding.

    The kingdom IS NOW

  7. Sarah says:

    LOL…it’s like when I ask the kids who wants to start the prayer at dinner time 😉

    I have to say, though…I am stunned by how many have shared the article on praying for the girls. Absolutely stunned.

    Oh…and Dread, this comment: “But all the promises of prayer that we post inspire more than a little doubt in me”…do you mean when we say that we will pray for someone you sometimes wonder if we follow through? I think that can be a fair question because we often glibly say, “I’ll pray for you.”

    I had a friend in college who would would often respond that he was happy to pray immediately with me, but he made no promise to pray in the future, simply because he didn’t trust himself to remember. Whenever I post that I will pray for someone’s needs online…whether here or FB…I always stop and pray immediately. I trust that I will remember and pray for them again, and I always check in and pray through the list here at least a few times a week…but whenever I make that comment I pray in the moment as well. My friend’s comments from 20+ years ago ring in my head every time I tell someone I will pray for them.

  8. London says:

    How are you defining prayer?

  9. I pray Luther’s Morning and Evening prayers and the Lord’s Prayer. It seems to get me through.

  10. Jeff Hensley says:

    @4 – haha! Aint that the truth!

  11. Bob says:

    I think the problem with prayer is our traditions.

    Our traditions seem to make us more like the Pharisee than then taxman. We forget the fathers of the faith, not those of the Christian church, struggled with God, talked with God, challenged God’s justice system and bowed down to God.

    What do we do?

    I know we seem to forget He is a God who hears and sees.

    And why do we write a book of prayers? It makes me think there’s some mystical or magical incantations and formulas we must get right for God to hear what He has already heard and seen.

    Oh well I’m just rambling and wonder why Luther’s prayers are better twice a day than yours MLD? I’m sure you’ll explain it for me.

  12. Bob,
    I get tired of making them up – so I figure I would go with something that’s been around 450 yrs – besides, I pray for the same things he did anyway.

    I go with the Lord’s Prayer because that is what he told us to pray.

    I am perfectly happy with my prayer life – how you doing with yours?

  13. Luther’s Morning Prayer

    My Heavenly Father, I thank You, through Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, that You kept me safe from all evil and danger last night. Save me, I pray, today as well, from every evil and sin, so that all I do and the way that I live will please you. I put myself in your care, body and soul and all that I have. Let Your holy Angels be with me, so that the evil enemy will not gain power over me. Amen.

    Luther’s Evening Prayer

    My Heavenly Father, I thank You, through Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, that You have protected me, by Your grace. Forgive, I pray, all my sins and the evil I have done. Protect me, by Your grace, tonight. I put myself in your care, body and soul and all that I have. Let Your holy angels be with me, so that the evil enemy will not gain power over me. Amen.

    Bob, let me know why you don’t think these are worthy to be prayed each day

  14. The Lord’s Prayer
    (modern)

    Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
    Your Kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as in heaven
    Give us today our daily bread.
    Forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those who sin against us.
    Lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
    For the kingdom,
    the power and the glory are yours.
    Now and for ever.

    Amen.

    For the life of me, I do not know what else to pray for.

  15. Paige says:

    Pondering this subject of prayer…my ‘logical’ mind said, “you are talking to someone you cannot see or prove exists, does not respond or apparently answer and never talks to you”.

    And I thought….true… then why do I persist?

    “Lord, where else can we go. Only You have the words of eternal life”. John 6:66.

    Over the years, being ground to powder in life, my prayers have greatly changed… my hope for answers has changed, yet I continue to ask… I have no other source of Hope.

    While I love the words and the probably ‘spirit’ of Luther’s prayers and love the Lord’s Prayer…. I need more conversational ‘street level’ communion with the All Mighty.

  16. Muff Potter says:

    Martin Luther’s Disciple wrote @ # 14,

    For the life of me, I do not know what else to pray for.

    No argument from me MLD, although I do prefer the Elizabethan version (KJV) of the Lord’s Prayer. It has a ring to it and a sublime beauty not found in newer versions.

  17. I find that people put too much effort into their prayers.
    At the very least Jesus taught us how to pray … so pray that way.

    If you are afraid of being accused of ‘vain repetition’, then use it for an outline and write out your own prayer, hitting on each point and using that. Can you ever go wrong doing things the Jesus way? Why reinvent the wheel?

    As to the Luther prayers, after looking them over for quite some time, I decided – hey that’s the way I want to talk to God each day. So I do.

  18. Bob says:

    MLD

    I’m very tired had a long day. My point is prayers are personal so if you can be personal by stating someone else’s prayer go to town, I can’t.

    As far as the Lord’s Prayer goes, there’s a lot of debate about is it a Hebrew structure and form or should it be said verbatim. Additionally, parts of it are considered not original but later scribal addition. The last phrase you quoted to be exact.

    But as a whole it is a most blessed and holy teaching from our Lord and Messiah Jesus!

    Sleep well my friend, may you be blessed in your rest!

  19. Ricky Bobby says:

    I have never understood the special prayer thing as if you have to go into a phone booth or closet and pick up the “god” phone and dial him up for prayer.

    If God is truly in all and through all and all in all and everywhere, the unseen force that holds everything together, etc etc….then I’m pretty sure whatever dialogue you have going internally…God’s in on the discussion…kind of like the NSA.

  20. London says:

    Once again MLD has all the answers.
    Frustrating.

  21. Brian says:

    May I remind folks here I have posted the “witch Children of Africa” / nigeria where kids were declared witches, but for a price, they could be delivered. This lead to horrid abuse. I posted this on many of the conservative evangelical blogs, not one even responded. Of course real living adults who are acting like adults could even think that children can be possessed. That is obscene even religious pornography, see Judges 19 that is utter pornography of the worst kind. I think it is evil to cast children in some type of satanic conspiracy. I know it rakes in cash in the short term, and that is holy, and should be supported but in the long term it sort of defeats the purpose. Personally attributing any “satanic” motives to children is utterly absolutely stupid on its face and should be utterly opposed with great vengeance and mockery. Why? Because its stupid on its face but that is another post. My point there was not even a hiccup concerning these issues compared to the reaction of the “gay agenda” ™. I guess what I am trying to get to some type of perspective. Also we are all, and I include me at the very first a bunch of clowns and we need to pray for each other. Offered for what it is worth.

    PS I admit I am a tool, a clown, a hypocrite, lost, upset, emotional etc. I am human, trust me I constantly try to repent of that.

  22. London,
    Why are my prayer practices frustrating to you?

    Did I say anything about your pottery wheel prayer methodology? oh course I did not.

  23. Dusty says:

    Still praing for health for?Michael, Sarah,Cap.Kevin and Amy

    Father restore them to better health and strengthen their immune systems

  24. Dusty says:

    Praying for moms day tomorrow. Praying for all the moms who are still around us, but also praying for those who have lost their moms as this will be a difficult day for them.

  25. Dusty says:

    Our Father in heaven let mercy be Your Name today. Have mercy on us today and hear our crys. We long for Your touch for Your whisper in our ear, for You to stand beside us and call us Your child.

    Let Strength be Your name today to fight the battles we no longer have the strength nor willi to fight . Be our Strong tower that we can hold fast to

  26. Dusty says:

    FATHER let love be Your name today. Teach us to love ourselves and show us how to love others.

  27. Sarah says:

    Dusty…amen. Thank you for continuing to pray for us. I am feeling better!! Thankful! Allergies are easing up and I was able to get in to see my doctor and get on some meds for my blood pressure. Now I have a friend I am meeting with about some essential oils and dietary changes 😉

  28. Sarah says:

    MLD…I don’t think London’s issue is with your prayer practices (London, feel free to correct me here). I think the issue is more with comments like this:

    “I find that people put too much effort into their prayers.”

    “I get tired of making them up – so I figure I would go with something that’s been around 450 yrs – besides, I pray for the same things he did anyway”

    I hear what you are saying…and I actually really appreciate written prayers from church fathers…however, the tone of what you said just sounds a bit dismissive. In a thread leading with conversation about struggling with prayer. Kinda came across a bit like, “get over it”, maybe? And not a lot of room for dialog…I know that you love debate and a little more analytical dialog, but the dialog on prayer is more emotional. Just is, and it takes a lot to draw people in to that conversation.

    That was my take, and I’m not trying to hammer you…just give my perspective. I don’t think London was harping on your practices, just the tone. I could be wrong.

  29. Sarah,
    I always appreciate your comments, but you need to look at the context in a conversation. Look at it from my side – the thread is about having problems with praying … so I offer up what I do.

    As soon as I do that, I get challenged by Bob – “why Luther’s prayers are better twice a day than yours MLD?” And my reply is ““I get tired of making them up…”

    Then I post the prayers, because I am sure that most people are not familiar with Luther’s prayer.

    After listening to people struggle I toss up pray the Lord’s prayer – the disciples had trouble praying – they were probably putting too much effort into their prayer life – so Jesus taught them how to pray. So my suggestion was ” At the very least Jesus taught us how to pray … so pray that way.” I still maintain that people who are the most satisfied with their pray life are thoe who supplement it with written and prepared prays.

    But let’s be real -London sees my name on a post and automatically goes into reject mode. 🙂

  30. Xenia says:

    In defense of MLD’s prayer practices, I myself use a prayer book. Before I started using it, my prayer life was practically non-existent so for me, and many others, “rigid” written prayers (to which one adds whatever one likes) is the answer.

    Like MLD, I looked the prayers over and realized that they said exactly what my heart wanted to say to God.

  31. Sarah says:

    Yep…I understand. I think in some ways it is hard because there is history and it is hard to “hear” beyond what we expect, if that makes sense.

    Like I said, I appreciate prayers that are written, and for a long time I offered up Brueggemann’s prayers and others because they put into words what I struggled to offer. So, I understand what you are saying. Still, I think you could have couched it in a little more giving tone…maybe?

    Prayer is so hard to talk about though. Obviously…the threads on prayer notoriously are thin on comments. I think these are discussions best suited to face-to-face conversations. Some things simply still need that connection.

  32. Dusty says:

    The Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will~ Romans 8:27

  33. Bob says:

    I’m a bit more awake so I will add some more to this thread and my opinion on books of prayer.

    First over the decades I have found prayer taught consistently as a personal discipline and like many things associated with God (or gods), most people want to avoid Him unless there is a need to be addressed. So these people tend to pray in desperation rather than in love and or practice.

    I also find most people need some sort of discipline invoking or reminder device to help them remember to acknowledge God or follow an instruction. The proverbial tying a string around a finger, stick em notes, magnets on the frig, pictures, in scripture the tassels or fringes tied to the four corners of the garment, Muslim call to prayer device and many more are all designed to remind people to communicate with God, do a task or some other such thing.

    There are scads of book written to suggest prayer disciplines, and as the subject which has arisen, many to even suggest what to prayers to say. All of these devices and books are designed to help the reader have a successful prayer life and walk with God.

    While MLD and Xenia say they find help and great subjects to pray in these pre-printed prayers I just don’t. As I said, to me they seem more like someone telling me, if I chant this incantation or say that pray somehow God will hear my voice and cries more than if I just speak from my heart at the time.

    Like Michael has stated before, I have prayed the paint off the wall in the past and the only thing which changed was the color of the wall, but when I had a change of heart and focused I things are different.

    I also am not convinced that when Jesus taught the disciples about prayer that He meant for them to just chant that prayer as fulfillment of His instruction. First I know what He taught wasn’t some earth shattering new idea in Hebrew life for the disciples, all of the ideas were common to the teachings of the rabbis and leaders of the day. In fact it was probably a far simpler prayer than many were accustomed to. I believe the heart of the Lord’s prayer are the subjects and order in which He presented to the disciples and the futures readers like us.

    Let me throw something out as food for thought; When Paul says, “though I speak with the tongues of heaven and angels…” What language is he speaking of? To a Jew of his day that language was Hebrew (sorry to the Pentecostals out there), the language God wrote with his very finger on the tablets of the covenant. So should we be praying in ancient Hebrew so that God and the Angels would hear them better?

    Pray from the heart!

    “What does God require of you…?”

  34. Sarah says:

    And…yep, to MLD’s defense, London…you were a bit dismissive of MLD’s practice. He was offering what he does in his prayer life.

    Man. It is hard to balance things, isn’t it?

    The thing about prayer, to me, is that it is such an intimate and yet such an integral part of our spiritual life. No one wants to feel “judged” about their prayer life. And yet, as Michael says, it can be such a subjective area and an area where we feel so vulnerable.

    We cry out to God because our world is falling apart…and then we wonder if we cried out in the right way. We are are vulnerable and someone comes and gives us a formula, and then we try that and we don’t get the results and we wonder if we are sinning and where we fall short.

    Instead of bearing with one another and simply walking with each other, we question our methods and our words and our practices.

    Then when we are not in a vulnerable state and we try to look at prayer analytically…it becomes something stale and intellectual. Something cold.

    The times I have grown the most in my understanding of prayer is when I have been around people who pray, and I have prayed with them…and I have known that they cared about me, and even if they stumbled in their words or they used the wrong words, I “heard” because I knew they were seeking God and were seeking to care for me. In that setting, and in the desire to glorify God…there is room for grace for each other. We may have read prayers, or we may have used our own words, but we prayed, and God moved.

  35. Bob,
    I didn’t say you had to recite the Lord’s Prayer – although I do. In fact I gave the alternative to those who are afraid of “vain repetition … which had nothing to do with prayer. I am reposting what I said.

    “If you are afraid of being accused of ‘vain repetition’, then use it for an outline and write out your own prayer, hitting on each point and using that. Can you ever go wrong doing things the Jesus way? Why reinvent the wheel?”

    But I will also restate MY OPINION – if you “have prayed the paint off the wall in the past and the only thing which changed was the color of the wall,” then you are putting too much effort into prayer.

  36. Dusty says:

    MLD should not have to defend his prayer life. He never said any of us do it wrong, he said this is what i do. I commend him for writing it /them out to share with us.

  37. MLD’s method of formula prayers have not worked for me. I get bored and I am convinced that God is bored. Is there enough thanksgiving? Is there enough intercession? The way Jesus, David and Paul prayed (Ephesians 3) inspire me to be creative in my prayers
    .
    I am curious why Jesus does not include thanksgiving in His model prayer. Is thanksgiving something we do always and not limited to our prayer time?

    Two things that help me, one who used to be a slave to lust:

    1. I have become a compulsive scripture meditation person. I write about this here: http://www.overcoming-lust.com/articles/psalm-1-memorization-secret-meditation/ When my mind is saturated in God’s word, I pray his thoughts, not mine.
    2. When I am troubled, waking up at night and needing rest, I meditate on Scripture and my prayers limit my prayer to two types: Thank you Yahweh……Praise you Yahweh…… As I fill in these prayers, my troubled soul finds rest.

    http://www.overcoming-lust.com/

  38. filbertz says:

    perhaps the disagreement over how prayer should be conducted is why Jesus recommended we go into a closet (or private place) and talk with God. What happens in prayer is normative for me, but is not the pattern for anyone else. The point of prayer is that God hears us individually and personally and attentively. How cool is that?

  39. Sarah says:

    Jim….”I am curious why Jesus does not include thanksgiving in His model prayer” That’s a really good question!

    I have to admit…I try to keep a balance and make sure that people are not offended…I don’t mind vigorous conversation, but personal offenses bother me. That just doesn’t seem to work on a blog. People seem intent on being offended, and then having to defend. Rather than simply having a conversation. Rather than hearing and working toward understanding. That wears me out…which makes me think I’m not cut out for blog conversations 😉

    On that note…off to a hockey tournament. That is easier 🙂

  40. London says:

    No MLD,
    I don’t just go into reject mode.
    Sarah is spot on. It’s your tone and you’re comments like the ones she mentioned that come across like you have it all together and anyone who disagrees is stupid or not as spiritually mature as you are.
    I have zero problems with your practice.

  41. London says:

    Sarah, I was not dismissive at all of MLDs practice. Please do not put words, or intentions in my mouth.
    I was looking forward to this discussion because it is something that matters to me.
    I’m done. I don’t need the drama.

  42. Xenia says:

    Again in defense of written prayers, and not at all being dismissive of what anyone else does and only using my own poor self as an example- I found that on the occasions when I did manage to pray, those prayers were almost exactly the same every time. They were just as repetitive as if I were reading them from a prayer book, and not a very good prayer book at that. I won’t embarrass myself by posting a sample those old “spontaneous” prayers but let me just say that the written prayers in my prayer book say what I want to say so much better than I ever said them on my own. After years of using this book, these prayers are just as much mine as if I made them up myself. They have become the cry of my heart.

    For those who have a vibrant prayer life, a prayer book is not necessary. For slouches like me, I need training wheels, crutches, a wheel chair, a bottle of vitamins and whatever else to help me.

  43. Dusty says:

    Filbertz, do you think we should not pray on the blog…not even on the prayer therad?

  44. Xenia says:

    Dusty, I personally do not pray “out loud” on this blog except for an occasional “Lord, have mercy.” I take the prayer requests to my own prayer closet. That is my custom; others should do as they feel led by the Lord.

  45. Dusty says:

    “As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you….”for 1 Samuel 12:23

  46. filbertz says:

    no Dusty, I think it is great that people pray in public including here. What I object to is anyone criticizing another’s mode or method of prayer or asserting that their practice is somehow better than another. I have no problem with someone sharing what they personally do in order to share ideas & practices with others who wish for variety. Bottom line, PRAY. 😉

  47. Dusty says:

    Prayer closets are good!!

    But im asking do you all think we/ i should not pray on the blog?

  48. Dusty says:

    Thanks filbertz…i agree with you 100%

  49. Bob says:

    MLD

    Do not get the idea at all I am completely against suggested prayers to help people discipline themselves to talk to God. What I am against are those people whose intentions are to formulate “right ” prayer thinking and practice to somehow either pleae God or convince Him of something.

    I believe Jesus’ teaching on closets and privacy is so that people won’t pray to be seen or heard by men.

  50. And what in our conversation has led you to suggest either to please God or to be seen praying.

    I pray very little (that’s why what i said I pray above keeps me all prayed up)- I don’t think God cares much about our prayers. My communication with God comes from my reading of scriptures – the only way God really communicates with us… through his revealed word.

  51. Xenia says:

    While MLD and Xenia say they find help and great subjects to pray in these pre-printed prayers I just don’t. As I said, to me they seem more like someone telling me, if I chant this incantation or say that pray somehow God will hear my voice and cries more than if I just speak from my heart at the time.<<<

    You know, this is a little offensive. I have bent over backwards here to just explain what I do in my personal life without being dismissive of what others do in theirs and here we have Bob suggesting my prayers are like incantations and that I am not praying from my heart.

  52. Nonnie says:

    I agree with Xenia. I find when I pray “my own words,” I can become very repetitive. I have found prayer books and the Lord’s prayer have helped me greatly in praying. I don’t see how I could possibly improve upon the words of Jesus, as I pray the Lord’s prayer. Most often my prayers are “Lord have mercy on me a sinner,’ Lord not my will by your will be done.” Father, help! Lord, Thank you!! ” Often times just sighs and tears. Sometimes I will sing a song that is a prayer (someone else wrote) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufDodA3x2cY

  53. erunner says:

    I have recently had a difficult time praying. My mind is becoming filled with all sorts of thoughts and I can’t keep track of what I’m praying. My attention span seems shorter and prayer has become a chore for me.

    As I went through this thread the idea of written out prayers seems for me to be the perfect solution.

    I believe God is pleased to hear from His children at all times even if that prayer is moaning because you’re in physical pain, crying because you’re sad, or praying out of frustration. We all approach God in different ways and it seems we can learn from each other.

  54. Bob says:

    MLD:

    “me all prayed up)- I don’t think God cares much about our prayers.”

    Well I guess this says a lot, doesn’t it.

    Historically and by the very words of Jesus (Matt Chapter 5), to live a life (not salvation righteousness BTW) of righteousness (ours, not God’s) was composed of three areas, fasting, prayer and giving to those in need. Jesus spent a lot of time teaching on these subjects and you say, ” don’t think God cares much…”

    Ok I’ll use a bit of your sarcasm now, all we need is communion and baptism or maybe the reverse order.

    Also I believe one of the NT writers said something about praying without ceasing, so I guess that doesn’t mean much either. But I’m sure I have missed something else you didn’t write about, so back to you MLD.

    BTW I’m not as good as RB in these long electronic exchanges so I may not respond to what you write. But I will read it.

  55. Neo says:

    Bob. People are sharing thoughts from their personal prayer lives. If you don’t agree or pray in another manner, great….share it. But do so with some grace. In the words of Jesus, KJV style, “What is that to thee?”.

  56. Bob,,
    You are a tough one – let me see if I have this right. I shared my prayer life and said that it keeps me prayed up and I am very satisfied.

    You come back, criticize my practice and you do a good job of detailing why it wouldn’t work for you. Now the result of your chosen method (which you have not described) leaves you feeling like you are “praying paint off a wall.”

    Well, if that floats your boat … happy sailing. 🙂

  57. Bob says:

    NEO

    You have to understand MLDs history, it’s the way he responds to others. I’m just going after him a bit and I think if you go back and read his stuff he does the same.

  58. Neo is a long, long time PhxP denizen and he has interacted with MLD for many years, so he has earned his voice in this community years ago, even back when we had The Night Crew..

    Michael has established a request long ago, that when it comes to prayer we give people a great amount of grace, so that prayer can indeed be one of the PhxP places of refuge.

    Perhaps we can return to that.

  59. Dusty,
    You posted,
    “But im asking do you all think we/ i should not pray on the blog?”

    I will never stifle prayer, silent or shared. I believe Michael has restated that prayer at PhxP is sacred and not really a subject over which we tolerate the typical sparring and fighting.

    I welcome DustyPrayers always and anytime! =)

  60. sisterchristian says:

    Agreeing wholeheartedly with you G!!- on your post immediately above…

    And very much appreciating these two threads on prayer~ reading each individual posting as to their thoughts and approach to prayer…

    Father God
    bless., strengthen, encourage, aid us in our walks with you … Help us through the abiding presence of your Holy Spirit to pray and focus and communicate with you in greater measure.,more effectively
    more purposefully, more personally and intimately…
    Help us to sense your presence
    To have more thankfulness
    To extend more grace and encouragement – one to another

    I especially ask that you bless and increase this place of prayer as a sacred sanctuary to help all who stop in to learn a little more of the power of prayer, petition, praise and the forms and methods ., structures/disciplines/free form/spontaneous that you have not only designed, allowed,… but encourage.

    Father, help us to discover the wonder, the delight and joy of entering into your presence through the gift of prayer

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