June 11, 2020

Living Experience of Prayer

Written by Tripp Prince

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – June 11, 2020

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he has uttered, O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones. Psalm 105:1-5

I recently began reading a book that is dramatically changing and transforming my prayer life. In The Way of a Pilgrim, an anonymous work from the 19th century that has become a modern spiritual classic, we meet a pilgrim on the journey of life, who is profoundly struck by a passage of scripture that he hears read in church on a Sunday, specifically Paul’s exhortation to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The man is so taken by this charge and his own lack of understanding of how anyone can possibly live a life of constant prayer, that he makes it his life’s mission to seek out wisdom from others who have learned to pray and live their life in constant communion with God.

Though much could be said about this man’s journey, with wisdom and insight dripping like sweet honey from each page, I was especially struck by his comments on the sermons he had heard on the topic of prayer. As a pastor, my ears perked up at this point! Yet his critique and assessment of sermons stung as it felt remarkably timely and current, even hundreds of years later. He says, “To tell the truth, although much has been preached on prayer and much is written about it in the teaching of various writers, they are better equipped to preach about the elements that constitute prayer than about the very essence of it, because their thoughts are based mostly on speculation and the deliberations of natural reason, rather than on a living experience of prayer.”

Rarely have words pierced my own heart so deeply. How easy it is to preach words that are objectively true yet rarely embodied. And preacher or not, how often do we all live with a certain disconnect between what we know and how we live, what we profess and who we are becoming in Christ? Like this pilgrim of old, I long to not simply use my God given reason to think about the world and speculate on this or that truth, but to know in my bones what it means to have a “living experience of prayer.” 

For this pilgrim, growth in the life of prayer is found as he seeks out spiritual mentors and guides who can serve as living witnesses to a life dedicated to prayer. This is a simple yet profound step you can take today to grow in your life of prayer. Who do you know in your life that has a robust and abiding prayer life? How can you intentionally seek them out and ask them to share their wisdom with you? If no one comes to mind, what steps can you take to begin seeking out wise men and women of prayer, being so bold as to introduce yourself and ask them to share what they’ve learned with you, so that your learning can move from an abstract, rational knowledge into a life fully devoted to our Lord.

Prayer

Father, teach us daily to offer the whole of our lives as a prayer, receiving as we do, your life and love, through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Application

Identify and reach out to a spiritual mentor who can help you learn to “Pray without ceasing.”


Related Reading

Jeremiah 33:3; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2

Enjoy Boyd’s newest and well loved 40 day devotional book: Wisdom For Living. Wise living is all about the Lord Jesus Christ. What is His best? What is His will?


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