Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Listening prayer

I've been trying to think of some different ways for us to pray at our 'Midweek Meditation.' A big part of the goal is to change our prayer "metric." I would like us to not look at prayer so much as "telling God what we want him to do," but instead have it be more a case of "listening to what God might be trying to say to us." If we are going to be about joining God in his mission then we need to start with HIM. For some he speaks best through Scripture, for some it's writing or drawing, for some it may be through communion, and for some it may simply be by just sitting and listening. Or, it could be a combination of all the above (or any number of other ways).

At any rate, I used to have a prayer guide where I suggested we prayed for: yourself, your church, family & friends, co-workers, your enemies, people who didn't know Christ, etc. However... I think starting this week I'm going to use this for our prayer guide (for the time being):
  • Who am I?
  • Who are my neighbors?
  • Who are my enemies that I need to forgive and love?
  • What are you trying to say to me, Lord?
  • What do you want for our church, Lord?
  • What would you like to see happen in our community/neighborhood/area, Lord?
  • Who are some people I can be Jesus to? _______, _______, _______.
  • One non-Christian I can pray for to come to know Jesus: __________________.
Does anyone have any other suggestions? Again, the idea is to get us to 'listen' to God - what he's saying to us, what he is saying to our church, what he's saying or doing in our community... I think being missional has to start here before we can begin to think about what needs to be 'done.'

3 comments:

Jim said...

I am currently reading Eugene Peterson's "Eat This Book" (I believe you've read it, yes?) Anyway, the other night the following really, really struck me, and has already started changing the way I pray (emphasis mine):

"Spiritual theology, using Scripture as text, does not present us with a moral code and tell us 'Live up to this'; nor does it set out a system of doctrine and say, 'Think like this and you will live well.' The biblical way is to tell a story and in the telling invite: 'Live into this - this is what it looks like to be human in this God-made and God-ruled world; this is what is involved in becoming and maturing as a human being.' We do violence to the biblical revelation when we 'use' it for what we can get out of it or what we think will provide color and spice to our otherwise bland lives. That always results in a kind of 'decorator spirituality' - God as enhancement. Christians are not interested in that; we are after something far bigger. When we submit our lives to what we read in Scripture, we find that we are not being led to see God in our stories but our stories in God's. God is the larger context and plot in which our stories find themselves."

So, with that in mind, perhaps a good prayer would be along the lines of "How should I be living in your story right now, God?" Does that make sense? That is how I am trying to pray now.

JAH said...

The first question alone is a great one. So many times we try to figure out who we are based on an entirely different set of criteria that God uses to say who we are. We need to listen for that answer.

dan horwedel said...

Jim,
Great question to add. Thanks. Btw, I have not eaten that book, but have always wanted to.

Jah,
agreed.