Five Steps in a Preacher’s (Anybody’s) Quiet Time. Do Preacher’s Not Pray?

file0001123125139I’m not sure why – but nobody ever taught me to pray. I became a preacher without having much of a prayer life or even prayer understanding.  I heard people pray and my parents had family devotion where we’d gather for prayer.  Dad always started praying with the words, “Our most gracious heavenly father . . . “ So some of it did stick. Perhaps I was daydreaming the days they taught the Sunday School class on “how” to pray. Thankfully, this did change and while today I’d not define myself as a man of prayer, it is better.  Let me share some things that worked for me.

I’d add a caveat.  There is nothing new.  A book that helped me was Bill Hybels Too Busy Not to Pray.  I suggest you pick it up.  Of course you can also order it from Amazon by clicking here somewhere.

Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be with God

What Hybels material really  helped me with was that writing or journaling my prayer was a better place to rather than verbalizing them.

1. Slow down and begin with yesterday –   Psalms often has the word, “Selah” meaning pause and consider this.  Our modern hectic culture allows very few “Selah” moments. To get things stopped in order to prepare to pray I write a single paragraph about yesterday’s events.  It forces some review and thinking about yesterday.  What is there to celebrate?  What came into my world that I need to talk to Jesus about.

2. Adoration – write a single paragraph of adoration to and about Jesus.  Now, this is not as easy as it seems it should be.  It is easy to get into the routine of offering adoration about the same things. To combat this narrow consideration of God and His greatness, I use some sort of devotional book that expresses wonder about who Jesus is.  It may require me reading several devotions before something resonates, but when it does I write a paragraph about this specific aspect of the nature of God.  My favorite books on the nature of God are five volumes by Charles J. Rolls.  These books are out of print, but on occasion can be found at Amazon or American Book Exchange.  I’m including the links for Amazon at the bottom of this post.

After I all Rolls’ stuff I started using G. Campbell Morgan’s Searchlight from the Word.  It takes a bit more daily reading to get to something that is adoration.  Still good stuff though.

3. Confession – no book is needed here. A single paragraph confessing my faults, failings and fears.

4. Thanksgiving – no book needed here either.  A paragraph of gratitude. Doing this each day helps me scratch beneath the surface and to be grateful for His MANY blessings to me.

5.  Supplication – My written petition – “God save our lost son . . . He needs you.  Save him now. Save my grandsons.” Then on to specific needs that I’m aware of.

A.C.T.S. – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication

My prayer grew from this foundation to  using Bible to pray God’s will for children.  Again, there are books available to help with this.

The last portion of my prayer time is with my hands lifted.  Paul said he wanted men everywhere to worship (prayer is included in the idea expressed by the Greek word) lifting holy hands without wrath and doubting.  Lifting one’s hands is an act of surrender.  You can’t be in charge and have your hands up at the same time. Paul also indicated this was to be prayer/surrender without wrath.

“Without wrath” – wrath has to do with what has already happened.  With hands lifted I can surrender any and all bad that I’m angry about.  I let go of my anger . . . surrendering it – hands lifted

“Without doubt” has reference to the future. We don’t doubt for yesterday, we doubt for tomorrow. Yesterday is a known, tomorrow is an unknown. With hands lifted I turn loose of the uncertainty of the future.  I’ll walk into it “without doubt.”

You talk about cleansing the spirit and mind – this last bit, built on the foundation of what has preceded – gets one ready to tackle about anything.

Final two components – listening for and to God.  What is the spirit saying to me?  What is the spirit saying to the church? Digging in for some time with the word of God.

Now . . . I’ve shared – how do you pray?  What has worked?  My prayer is relatively structured compared to many.  I’m interested to learn . . .

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002K7DIU0/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B002K7DIU0&linkCode=as2&tag=truthpublicat-20″>The name above every name, (His The names and titles of Jesus Christ) by Rolls</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=truthpublicat-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B002K7DIU0″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

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<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008YKMFOC/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B008YKMFOC&linkCode=as2&tag=truthpublicat-20″>Rolls, Charles J.’s Time’s Noblest Name: L, M, N, O (Names and Titles of Jesus Christ) Revised edition by Rolls, Charles J. published by Loizeaux Brothers [Paperback] (1985)</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=truthpublicat-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B008YKMFOC” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

 

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000K4UN58/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000K4UN58&linkCode=as2&tag=truthpublicat-20″>The Name Above Evry Name: The names and Titles of Jesus Christ P, Q, R, S</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=truthpublicat-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000K4UN58″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />

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5 Thoughts on Five Steps in a Preacher’s (Anybody’s) Quiet Time. Do Preacher’s Not Pray?

  1. I have ne er been taught to prayer. When I first got saved I just xtarted going to prayer meetings and talkkng to God. This is how I first came to believe God was rezl, long bevore I got saved. So when I first started to pray in the early years it was just sharing my heart withGod. Praying for hu dreds of people, praising God, thanking Hom, etc…. Later on I began to listen to teachers on prayer. It destroyed my prayer life. I began to become to ritual in following set orders of prayer. The Lords Prayer outline for one. Today I have revived my prayer life. I vo i to prayer without preconceived guidelines. I start with thanking God first for everyhing and anything, as simple as a nice day. Then I ask Him to lead me into His hearts prayer. Then I just start somewhere for anything or anyone. I am constantly amazed at how and where the Lord leadsme in prayer. I am astou ded at some prayers I prayer because when I hear the reports from around the world I find my prayers were in agreement with othees on the other side of the world. God knows what to pray. Ro ans 8 speaks about the Spirit lrayi g the mind of Christ. Someti es I have stopped praying to just let God know I do not know why I am praying a certain thing but if He is in it so be it. Effective, fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much. Amen and Amen!

    Reply
    • I am glad your mode In prayer works. Each person is different. My best approach is prayer journaling. However, that has to have some added dimensions beyond my journal.

      Reply
  2. Excellent and helpful!

    Just one note/question: Did Paul indeed write that he wanted “men everywhere” to pray? In some translations it says that. In many others, it seems he wrote that he wanted men to “pray everywhere.”

    I have not done a super thorough search of it, but several commentaries indicate that Paul was wanting the believing men to be willing to pray everywhere they go (quotes below). This seems to make sense as it’s part of a parallel request of women that they dress modestly (something they ought to maintain everywhere they go). Surely Paul does want praying men to be “located” everywhere, but the emphasis may be (seems to be?) on all the believing men being unashamed to pray with lifted hands no matter where they are or where they go.

    Barnes:
    “That men pray everywhere – Not merely in the temple, or in other sacred places, but in all places. The Jews supposed that there was special efficacy in prayers offered at the temple in Jerusalem; the pagan also had the same view in regard to their temples – for both seemed to suppose that they came nearer to God by approaching his sacred abode. Christianity teaches that God may be worshipped in any place, and that we are at all times equally near him; see the John 4:20-24 notes; Acts 17:25 note. The direction here given that men should pray, in contradistinction from the duties of women, specified in the next verse, may be intended to imply that men should conduct the exercises of public worship. The duties of women pertain to a different sphere; compare 1 Timothy 2:11-12.”

    Clark:
    “Everywhere – Εν παντι τοπῳ· In every place. That they should always have a praying heart, and this will ever find a praying place. This may refer to a Jewish superstition. They thought, at first, that no prayer could be acceptable that was not offered at the temple at Jerusalem; afterward this was extended to the Holy Land; but, when they became dispersed among the nations, they built oratories or places of prayer, principally by rivers and by the seaside; and in these they were obliged to allow that public prayer might be legally offered, but nowhere else. In opposition to this, the apostle, by the authority of Christ, commands men to pray everywhere; that all places belong to God’s dominions; and, as he fills every place, in every place he may be worshipped and glorified. As to ejaculatory prayer, they allowed that this might be performed standing, sitting, leaning, lying, walking by the way, and during their labor. Beracoth, fol. xi. 1. And yet in some other places they teach differently. See Schoettgen.”

    Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible is somewhat supportive of the praying being done everywhere, as opposed to praying men being “located” everywhere.

    Vincent’s Word Studies contradicts itself by stating the literal meaning is “in every place” but then offering the opinion that it does not mean in every place, but only wherever Christian congregations assemble. This seems odd given this expression of Paul is in contradistinction to a Jewish superstition of which he was surely aware, that prayers were supposedly only valid at Jewish places of worship. Would Paul really simply switch the superstition to Christian places of worship?

    People’s New Testament offers the same self-contradiction as Vincent’s.

    Wesley’s Notes strongly support that it means prayer happening everywhere, not just men located everywhere who happen to pray sometimes: “in every place – Public and private. Wherever men are, there prayer should be.”

    Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary – They do the same thing as Vincent’s: the literal definition is in quotes, but they add their own spin on it afterward: ‘everywhere-Greek, “in every place,” namely, of public prayer.’

    Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary strongly supports that prayers are to happen everywhere: “2:8-15 Under the gospel, prayer is not to be confined to any one particular house of prayer, but men must pray every where. We must pray in our closets, pray in our families, pray at our meals, pray when we are on journeys, and pray in the solemn assemblies, whether more public or private.”

    Reply
  3. Interesting observations and the process of developing some sort of prayer life. I’ll take a look at the book you mentioned. I’ve read some of Stormie O’Martian’s material too.

    Reply
  4. I have been UPC all of my life. (I am now 60 yrs old) I have had a viscious battle with prayer for about 13-15 years. I think, like you, I never really learned to pray. Yes, I had parents (my father was a minister, now deceased) that prayed with the family and it was a “built in” habit in their lives that I admired. Somewhere along life’s struggles and disappointments I began to think that prayer just didn’t do much of anything and I was very disillusioned about the whole aspect of prayer!! I grieved over this and talked to the Lord about it continually….as well as with my husband…and later on with friends….

    About thirteen yrs ago, I came across a book, “Don’t Just Stand There–Pray Something.” (can’t remember the author at this moment). It helped me and I began praying scripture and when I prayed I generally had my Bible close by. In 2003, our son went through a divorce. He had a one yr old at the time. It devastated my. I fell into another pit of “unbelief” concerning prayer. I kept talking to God about it—my heart knew to pray, but I didn’t know HOW….I came across the books on prayer by Stormie Omartian. It was then that I began learning about prayer and what is really is. I know now that I wanted to TELL God how to work things out…how to answer my prayers—as usual, the problem was with me all along 🙂 But I certainly view prayer differently nowadays and have a much better communication with God. I was glad to read your remarks on prayer. God Bless you.

    Reply

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