Prayer - A Fresh Commitment in 2011

I gave myself a break from blogging during my recovery from surgery. While the time away has been good I've been eager to return to sharing my thoughts on the spiritual journey with my friends. I've been thinking a lot about prayer (or the lack of in my life) and have purposed to refresh my commitment to prayer in 2011. The book I've posted on my site - Praying With the Church by Scott McNight has challenged me in some good ways (I'll share more in the future after I've woven some of the practices into my personal experience).

I want to share with you some thoughts from another blogger I read on a regular basis - I did have the thought - "this is a pretty lazy start to my first blog in 2011". His blog is called "Notes From My Unhurried Journey" by Alan Fadling (see the link on the right). I' ve chosen to reproduce his thoughts in full because they name the struggles I face in staying fully engaged when my feelings and faith lag behind.

Father, protect my heart from spiritual jealousy when it seems other disciples have it easier than me. Keep me from the trap of resenting the spiritual disciplines into which You lead me, especially when You don’t seem to be leading anyone else the same way. I am tempted to feel ripped off. In reality, You are making space in me for Your remarkably gracious and fulfilling Presence. Teach me to welcome Your discipline, whether difficult or easier, as another expression of Your love for me. I want to remember that You only discipline Your own children.

Keep me fresh and responsive to the new things that You are doing in and around me. May I never become like an old garment that can’t be restored by the new thing You are doing. May I never become so inflexible and rigid that I cannot welcome the renewing, restoring work of Your Spirit. May I never become so sour and staid that I cannot receive and embrace the new wine of Your Spirit’s work among Your people. May You keep me new and elastic in response to Your current work in Your church and in Your world.

Give me faith that even when it seems something I have longed for from You has become impossible, You are the One Who raises the dead and does the impossible. May I never label anything “impossible” in the presence of the Almighty. One touch from Your hand brings life where there was death, joy where there was depression, peace where there was anxiety, patience where there once was harshness, abundance where there was loss. May I become confident that Jesus will take action on my concerns in prayer in His good time.

Give me compassion and attentiveness to those who suffer. May I always be willing to set aside my planned agenda for whatever I might do to bless or help another. May I receive interruptions as opportunities. May I be a person who has something to say or do that will bring grace and power into each situation. Grant me confidence in You in the face of deep, long-standing suffering that people bring my way.

Enable me to see with eyes of faith what the crowds cannot see. Enable me to trust Your power and grace to be able to do more than I or anyone can imagine. May I not listen to the voices of the mockers and doubters. Give me simple confidence in You like Jesus had in You. May many come to find Your grace and power at work in and through me.

I can think of no better way than prayer to lean into a new...I invite you join me!

Fighting for Your Hearts,

Gary