Friday, February 12, 2016

A Praying Life- Chapters 7-8

(A few friends and I are reading this book together.  Each week we will read two chapters and on Friday I will post my comments from the reading.  Others may add their thoughts in the comments section.  If you are interested in reading this book as well, here is the link for the Kindle version of the book.)

Chapters 7-8
- I don't think I've ever heard anyone propose that we call out to God in one word or one phrase prayers, but I appreciated his explanation.  He likened it to a child calling, "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy." (Pg. 63, Loc. 279)  I was reminded of my need in moments of need to not necessarily seek the answer or the right words to pray, but to just unreservedly seek my Savior. 

- I was glad for this clarification as well: "This is the exact opposite of Eastern mysticism, which is a psychospiritual technique that disengages from relationship and escapes pain by dulling self.   Eastern mystics are trying to empty their minds and become one with the nonpersonal 'all.'  But as Christians we realize we can't cure ourselves, so we cry out to our Father, our primary relationship."  (Pg. 65, Loc 832) A reminder that these repetitions are repeated expressions of dependency on our Father.

- He showed me that it is not that I need to discipline myself in order to have a continuous prayer life, I just need to truly see myself as needy, unable to do what needs to be done and dependent on my Father.  (Pg. 66, Loc. 841)

- I liked how he worded it when talking about his inward reaction when reaching for the phone: "I just lean in the direction of God."  (Pg. 69, Loc. 894) It challenged me to identify my areas of difficulty and to follow his lead and lean in the direction of my God in those moments.

- One last quote that stood out to me: "What does an unused prayer link look like? Anxiety."  (Pg. 70, Loc. 903)

I've had my say, what say you?

Discussion on Chapters 5-6
Discussion on Chapters 9-10

1 comment:

  1. “Praying simple one-word prayers or a verse of Scripture takes the pressure off because we don't have to sort out exactly what we need” (pg.65-66). Just a thought on this: my Pastor has several times over the last few months tried to employ this method in our mid-week service. Our people are encouraged to not pray forever through EVERY need on the prayer list, but instead to use short sentence prayers. Whether it's a praise to God or a request for one specific thing, we're looking for a few short phrases. I feel this has gone well and has allowed some people to pray who I think normally wouldn't because now they don't have to pray for 5 minutes. As our author says it, “takes the pressure off”, not just the pressure of sorting out what we need, but in this case of simply praying in public! We need to get God's people praying again, or to begin praying for those who never have, and I think this is a helpful way.

    I just finished reading a book on Christian disciplines, so I'm trying to gel in my mind what I found there about discipline and what this author says about our not needing self-discipline to pray continuously. I've come to not care for the term “self-discipline”, feeling maybe that “Spirit-discipline” or “Spirit- dependence” would be more appropriate to keep our focus where it needs to be. The Christian life is not me mustering up my strength to do what I'm supposed to, but a depending upon the enabling Spirit of Christ to strengthen & guide me in every step. Do I need discipline in prayer? I think so, but it's my source that's important, whether that be myself or the Spirit. If that doesn't make any sense I'm sorry! Still trying to gel it in my mind!

    I also appreciated this quote, “Instead of fighting anxiety, we can use it as a springboard to bending our hearts to God” (pg.69). I had a few anxious moments this past week, and I'm trying to be more conscious of praying right away about circumstances when they happen instead of worrying or trying to figure it out myself.