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Friday, January 11, 2008

A Write Way To Pray

One thing I ask of the Lord,
This is what I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
And to seek him in his temple.
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Hear my voice when I call, O Lord;
Be merciful to me & answer me.
My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, Lord, I will seek.

Ps 27:4, 7-8

It is interesting to read the psalms of David and see how he casually slips between speaking to God, to others and to his own soul. I have found few prayer meetings which have been that free, but it is a great blessing to be part of such times.

Finding Fresh Ways To Pray
Human beings are creatures of habit so we tend to repeatedly do the same things in the same way. Often it doesn't matter. It's not really important, for example, if we always sit in the same place at church. But we shouldn't allow our prayer lives to get into that kind of rut. We should be growing and moving forward, developing our intimacy with the Lord and closeness with our brothers and sisters. The church prayer time where participants always have closed eyes and bowed heads throughout will become stifled. Over time people will begin to lose their passion for prayer and will either come only out of duty or will stop attending altogether.

One thing that can be said of David's prayers is that they are never boring. We can learn a lot about how to reinvigorate our prayer times by studying his approach.

On Paper
Not only is David very liberated in his prayers, he has clearly often thought carefully about what to pray and worked at creating a poetic structure. Psalm 9, for example, is an acrostic poem with each stanza beginning with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. As someone who's dabbled in writing poetry I can tell you that kind of construction takes hard work as well as inspiration.

We benefit from the fact that David committed his psalms to writing. I'm sure this fact blessed David himself as he was able to look back over past prayers and see how the Lord had responded.

In the past I have kept journals which have been a record of my walk with the Lord. It is very encouraging to review them and see answers to prayer and how I have grown in my spiritual life. It was also quite common for me to slip into prayer as I wrote so, like David, I have records of prayers I prayed in the past.

Prayer College Assignment
This week I heard a well-known Christian writer and broadcaster confess to writing love letters to Jesus. I felt a tug at my heart as I heard that. Although I frequently used write in such a way in my journal it hasn't happened for a very long time. I would like to offer you a challenge. Join me this week in taking paper and pen (or computer if you prefer) and write such a letter to Jesus expressing your devotion to Him. I know from past experience that it will be a genuine blessing to you.

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