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routine to relationship

This week's blog post was written by Grace Fabian, author of the book "Outrageous Grace" and one who continues to live her life as one devoted to praying and ministering to others in various ways. You can learn more about her (and enjoy more of her writing) at gracefabian.com. Special thanks to Grace for taking the time to share this wonderful perspective on prayer with this community.




“They devoted themselves to the apostolic teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe…” (Acts 2:42-43)



Wouldn’t you have liked to be part of those prayer meetings? I would have.



My favorite part of the week is meeting, on the phone, for prayer for about an hour each Thursday evening, with about a dozen other people in a city two hours north of where I live. There’s something very freeing about prayer. Why have prayer meetings gone out of fashion?



I am very thankful that I grew up in a home where we gathered in the living room each morning to read a chapter of the Bible together, then a commentary by G. Campbell Morgan on that chapter, then kneeling and praying from youngest to oldest. I learned from wise parents what was the appropriate way to pray. I did not realize at the time that I was being taught by people who were schooled in years of prayer.



My mother kept a box on the dining room table filled with letters and prayer cards from missionaries. When we thanked God for our food at each meal, we also prayed for the next missionary in that box.



I guess I say all this to admit I need lists, manila folders, reminders to keep my prayers on track. I also need photos on my refrigerator and little reminders at my kitchen sink or my quiet-time chair. I mean such things as, “A day hemmed with Prayer rarely unravels.” Or a Scripture like Colossians 4:2 “Continue steadfastly in PRAYER being watchful in it with Thanksgiving.” So now you know I am a very visual person.



I have, in my library, 18 books about prayer, not mentioning another 20 articles, magazines, handbooks or Bible studies on the topic. Incidentally, they are all helpful. My newest book on the topic is a winner by D.A. Carson, Praying With Paul, A Call to Spiritual Reformation.



But when it comes right to the core of this topic don’t you and I have to admit that it’s just a matter of doing it? Other responsibilities elbow their way in and before we know it, the day has passed and once again we haven’t prayed. I cringe when I read that Jesus spent the whole night in prayer. What did he pray about? How did he keep awake all night? I’ve run out of words after ten minutes. I’m sure you would find me, like the disciples, asleep on my knees, even though I’d started the evening with good intentions.



As I’ve thought about it, I can’t help but wonder if it was the intensely personal love that Jesus had for God the Father that kept him eager to connect. Then maybe the next question for us to ask is, “Is it time for me to move from routine to relationship?” The Bible paints the picture of a God who wants to relate to us: Psalm 27:7-8 says, “Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.” I love this verse in Jeremiah 33:2-3, “This is what the Lord says…: “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Or John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I (Jesus) know them, and they follow me.”



What do the following verses tell us about our perspective of prayer?

John 15:15 _____________________________________________________________

Romans 11:33-34 _______________________________________________________

Hebrews 2:17 ___________________________________________________________

Psalm 62: 7-8, 11-12 ______________________________________________________

John 10:15 ______________________________________________________________


I close with a prayer by Cynthia Bezek:

“Lord, You are unbelievably generous and patient with us, and so often we just don’t get it. I’m so sorry for the times I’ve taken advantage of Your matchless kindness. You are worthy of everything I am and have.”



May our times of prayer with God be used to connect deeply with Him. Just maybe, the same communication skills we use in our human friendships can be helpful in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Be vulnerable, anticipate, listen, ponder, talk to Him through the day.

 

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Thursdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at cwarner@alliancechristian.org.


~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator


Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory




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