Friday, October 16, 2020

Improving Your Prayer Life -- Part 1 of 4

Prayer is a critically important part of a thorough, consistent Christianity. Almost all of us would acknowledge that. Nevertheless, knowing that truth doesn’t mean that it is easy to apply. For even as we admit the extreme value of prayer, in our honest moments before God, we must also confess that prayer is a very difficult thing to get right. So, unlike the heartfelt, wise, relevant prayers we read in the Scriptures, our prayers seem so often to be awkward, anemic, and therefore, infrequent. Many Christians end up making peace with mediocrity or even surrender altogether.

Well, dare I say that there is yet hope (and practical help) for Christians who desire a better prayer life? Yes, I say exactly that. For I am one such believer who has experienced substantial improvement in my prayers. I certainly haven't arrived at the goal that God has set before me, but recent years have seen remarkable progress in both my and my wife's prayers of thanksgiving, worship, and intercession. And if God's grace is abundant enough to forgive us for past failings and to grant repeated fresh starts to build better prayer habits, He certainly will do that for others.      

It's a really exciting opportunity the Lord sets before us. And it is no doubt a perfect time in history to get our prayer life in better order. For yes, we can increase our understanding of prayer; we can experience a greater (and more natural) motivation to pray; we can improve our methods of prayer; and we can build our confidence to confidently, joyfully converse with the Lord Who so loves us.

In a 4-part series I'll be posting here on Vital Signs Blog, I’m going to address the subject of prayer designed to help us make practical improvements in our prayer disciplines. I'll begin with some wonderfully encouraging points related to what many refer to as "The Lord's Prayer," and then in subsequent posts deal with prayer as an natural outgrowth of authentic spirituality, suggest an eminently do-able evening prayer model that Claire and I love, and finish up with a presentation about the problems we encounter with prayers made in public.

I hope you'll come along on this adventure...and we will start with the article I link to below. It originally appeared as the July 2020 letter for Vital Signs Ministries and is entitled, "Some Thoughts on 'The Disciples' Prayer.'"