I am re-reading Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster with a friend as part of a study we’re doing. We’ve only a few select chapters but I’m reminded of just how insightful and wonderful this book is. The chapter we’re reading this week is on Prayer. This is certainly an area that I need to work on, or rather that I need God to change me in. I am a good-intentioned pray-er. That is, I plan to have daily prayer time that’s calm, insightful, quite, and un-rushed. What usually ends up happening is I wake up later than planned, then Jennika’s up and wanting breakfast. Then my emails distract me, as do the dishes, laundry, and well, you get the idea. Usually at about mid-day I realize I haven’t spent time praying yet. So I quickly try to squeeze it in while Jennika is playing and the clothes are in the washer. It’d not ideal and if I was on God’s end of our relationship I would be not a little hurt and frustrated with me. This book, though, didn’t make me feel guilty, it encouraged me and made me want to pray more.
Here’s some of my favorie passages:
“To pray is to change. Prayer is the central avenue God use to transform us. If we are unwilling to change, we will abandon prayer as a noticeable characteristic in our lives. “
On the importance of prayer in the lives of “spiritual giants” and us:
“Many of us, however, are discouraged rather than challenged by such examples. Those ‘giants of faith’ are so far beyond anything we have experienced that we are tempted to despair. But rather than flagellating ourselves for our obvious lack, we should remember that God always meets us where we are and slowly moves us along into deeper things. Occasional joggers do not suddenly enter an Olympic marathon. They prepare and train themselves over a period of time, and so should we. When such a progression is followed, we can expect to pray with greater authority and spiritual success a year from now than at present.”
On praying for every person we encounter, “flash prayers” it’s called:
“We could change the whole atmosphere of a nation if thousands of us would constantly throw a cloak of prayer around everyone in our circle of nearness. ‘Units of prayer combined, like drops of water, make an ocean which defies resistance.'”
A good challenge for me:
“We must never wait until we feel like prayer before we will pray for others. Prayer is like any other work; we man not feel like working, but once we have been at it for a bit, we begin to feel like working. We may not feel like practicing the piano, but once we play for a while we feel like doing it. In the same way, our prayer muscles need to be limbered up a bit and once the blood-flow of intercession begins, we will find that we feel like praying.”
I will stop there. I could put the whole chapter in here, there’s so much good stuff, but you should just get the book and read it yourself. Enjoy!