Intro: How to Make the Most of This Book; Chapter 1: Prayer Everywhere; Chapter 2: Keeping it Simple
Key verse: “Lord, teach us to pray” – Luke 11:1
· We can ask Jesus to help teach us to pray
· Prayer is like a toolbox – there are lots of different ways of praying
· Keep it simple. Keep it Real. Keep it up.
Q: What do you find difficult about prayer?
Nothing really. If I have to be absolutely positively honest. I LOVE to pray. I feel like it has always been pretty easy for me, and I love finding new avenues for an encounter with God. It is how I am with George too though. I love spending time with him. We don’t get tired of one another.
Q: What do you find easy?
God is always there to dialogue with (I talk and I listen – both in equal measure). God is the only one who truly “gets” me. That is what I find easy: GOD. He is so much more than I could ever ask or imagine. He is bigger than I could ever comprehend. He is more secure than any human being on earth. So, I can bring ANYTHING to him.
Q: Why do you think prayer can often feel hard?
I think I should pose this for others to answer because it has never “often felt hard” for me. Never. I am very thankful for this, but some of the people I have discipled or done spiritual direction with over the years, have found it difficult. So, I am on a quest to find out why this is hard for many people.
Here are some thoughts I have about this:
People can often be perfectionists. So, they think that prayer has to be a certain way. Or they are busy and cannot create space in their day for it. Or they might feel they have to do it in the morning, and they are not morning people. Many people just don’t care to be connected with God.
George: Distractions. “I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to do that.” (Just write it down, and you don’t have to lose it.) Don’t plan it with the same priority.
I am uber RELATIONAL. So, it transfers over into my relationship with God. I will take in any way I can CONNECT to him relationally!
Pete says the best piece of advice is to “Keep it simple, keep it real and keep it up.”
Keep it simple: “your prayer life is at its best at its simplest”
Q: What do you mostly talk to God about?
I love to tell him how wonderful he is. I love to look at Scripture and respond to him from that. I talk to him about what I am needing to release, my consolations and desolations, I listen to him for direction and words of comfort and peace. I intercede on behalf of friends and loved ones. I lift up the current events and unreached people groups.
Keep it real: “Don’t role-play before God”
Q: Do you feel like you have to act a certain way before God when you pray? Why or why not?
Absolutely and positively NOT! He is all-knowing. So, there is no act that will be effective. He sees me just the way I am and LOVES me. There is no reason to hide. Also, Jesus reversed the Garden hiding. We can be out in full view of him for all the world to see!
Keep it up: “Don’t give up praying too soon”
Q: Do you find it challenging to persevere in prayer?
Nope. I do forget some things that I feel the LORD is telling me to pray about. Then I say, “Oh yay!” I think my shower crayon has helped. I have not been using that recently.
For the most part, I pray for a long time and it has been fun to see God answer some long-term things like peoples of the world coming to know him!
Q: How can we be encouraged to keep going?
Prayer mentors – Thank you, Sheryl Rice-Jury, Kathy Galloway-Allen, Helene Ashker, Ginny Bowen, Lorraine Fleishman. They were all such prayer mentors for me.
Prayer community – I have the privilege of being part of some awesome prayer communities of people over the years. Navigators were always really good about making prayer a BIG priority in everything we did. Both personal and corporate. Everyone was praying and spending time with God and sharing about what God was saying, and then we were praying together in one place corporately. ALL my leaders were people of deep and abiding prayer. Having the PUMP parties, TOAG prayer hours, Watchwomen, etc. I also liked that early morning group I had in the late 80s.
Renovaré has also been great for prayer. Having been part of it since early on. It started in 1988. I read Celebration of Discipline in college (maybe it was on Rusty’s shelf when I housesat the summer of 1980?), and most of those disciplines were instilled in me through the Navigators, but Renovaré definitely reinforced it and reading through the Devotional Readings was helpful as I was exposed to excerpts of the giants of prayer in history. Reading Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home was also very instrumental along with E.M. Bounds, SD Gordon, etc.
Think about one way you’d like to grow in prayer and your relationship with God over the course.
I have had the goal to grow in Centering Prayer since early 2019 and will continue that. Reading The Sacred Enneagram in September of 2018 challenged me in this area. I had tried to read Basil Pennington's book at a prayer retreat in November 2018, but I thought it was not for me. Then we read the Cloud of Unknowing in the Renovare Book Club in Spring 2019, and I realized that God was already bringing me into this kind of prayer naturally during my colloquy times in the Spiritual Exercises and my afternoon times at the kitchen table when the sun was streaming into the room. So it didn't seem that unattainable when I realized that God was doing it naturally without reading Basil's book (LOL!) and that it was OK to let "kataphatic" (a prayer that has content; it uses words, symbols, ideas) of Lectio Divina and Ignatian Imaginative Contemplation being the springboards to "apophatic" (a prayer that has no content; meaning emptying the mind of words or ideas and simply resting in the presence of God) because it is the natural "Rest" portion of Lectio Divina! Then I downloaded the Centering Prayer App in May 2019, and I started having short times of Centering Prayer even apart from the "kataphatic" prayer times.
Mercy Center Zooms have also been helpful because I sit in front of a screen with others holding me accountable to remain still and quiet:
Write down your goals, so that you can revisit them at the end of the book.
Practice each Prayer Tool from https://prayercourse.org/toolshed/ and write about my experience for each.