Volume. XXXI, No. 52
Sunday, 25 June 2017

Spiritual Disciplines Part Six


You might ask, why is prayer a spiritual discipline? Don’t we already pray? For a new believer, prayer is something that is not natural. In fact, for all humans, prayer is not natural. We see “prayer” as a means to send petitions to God. Is prayer only to give God our requests? Prayer is more than that! Prayer is conversation with God! It is fellowship with God!

i)    Why would we want to practice it?

Prayer is the lifeline for Christians, it is likened to breathing. We cannot live without prayer. How can we be in a relationship with God if we do not talk to God? When you are in a relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend, do you want to talk to and spend time with him or her all the time? We are in a relationship with God, so why is it that we do not spend enough time talking to Him? Why do we pray only when we have problems? Why do we pray only when we are faced with a problem we cannot solve? If we believe God is the source of all life (and we do), we must remain in fellowship with Him to draw our life from Him. That means to spend time with Him, talking to Him and listening to Him.

Jesus in Luke 18:1-8 taught His disciples the parable of the persistent widow to teach them that they needed to always pray and not falter, not to give up in their prayers. Persistent prayer.

Paul in 1 Thess. 5:17 reiterated Jesus’ command, “Pray without ceasing”. He himself led by example to pray without ceasing, Col. 1:3, 9 and 1 Thess. 3:10.

Jesus in Matt. 6:5-7 also taught His disciples how not to pray, before teaching them the Lord’s Prayer.

A survey in the United States noted the following:
“Less than half of Christians pray in the morning before the day starts, most pray only 4 to 5 times a week, and 50% pray only 3 to 5 minutes when they have a session of prayer. Men pray about half the amount of time that women pray.

On average, Christians pray daily or several times a week for their needs, their families and their friends, thanking and praising God for who He is and confessing their sins. Most are not faithfully praying for their own walk with the Lord much less their families' walk.

About once a month, Christians pray for other believers, their church, their pastors, the salvation of the lost, and our nation. Most are not faithful about praying for their church's ministries, its members, other churches and Christian ministries. Few have a prayer list with the names of unbelievers to pray for their salvation.

The Church around the world, missionaries and evangelists, and the nations of the world are prayed for only several times a year, if at all.”

Martin Luther was quoted as saying, “As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.” We say that we are too busy to pray. He also said, “I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer”.

From the results of the survey, we Christians are going out of business. John Sung, was also a man of prayer. He was known to rise early every morning to pray for 2 to 3 hours. He was said to pray like he was having an intimate conversation with a friend in the room. Imagine that type of prayer life. Isn’t that something that we ought to aspire to?

ii)    What does it look like in practice?

All Christians have at least some experience in prayer. At times prayer comes naturally but most times it requires some effort to maintain. That is why it is a cultivated discipline. Our goal to cultivate this discipline is to make it a habit to converse with God.

For some, a discipline of prayer would involve establishing a regular daily time to pray. For others it could mean to tune out distractions while praying.

For many, this discipline would also involve balancing the various aspects of our conversation with God. We learn to offer praise, not just petitions; thanksgiving instead of just lamenting; intercession for others and not just requests for ourselves. Perhaps the most important of all is to learn to listen to God and not just to speak to Him.

The way we pray could also be challenged. Some of us who pray conversationally would benefit from praying traditional forms of prayer while others, who usually resort to traditional prayers would benefit from learning to pray conversationally.

iii)    What are some indicators that we might need this discipline?

•    Our prayer times get shuffled around in the busyness of the day and end up lost.
•    Most of our prayers are petitions, what we want or need from God.
•    We often can’t find the right words and end up using the same few phrases over and over.
•    We pray traditional prayers but our heart is not in it.
•    When we pray for more than a few minutes, we find our thoughts drifting and wandering away from God.
•    If a prayer is not answered, we lose heart and stop praying for it.

iv)    How might we start?

•    Find and allocate time, however small, for prayer in our daily routine. It helps to find a quiet place and time to pray.
•    Remember ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication) while praying; none of these should be ignored.
•    If we are accustomed to praying spontaneously and want to try using traditional prayers, start with the Lord’s Prayer or a psalm. Read it aloud to God, making the words our own. (Similar to how we make the words of a hymn our own when we’re singing it).
•    If we are not used to praying spontaneously, start with a simple conversation with God; tell Him what’s on our mind.
•    If our mind wanders during prayer, use a list and pray aloud.

To be continued ...
Dn Kevin Low

More Lively Hope



Winter break – There will be no Adult Sunday School, AFG, Mandarin Bible Study, Neighbourhood Bible Study & Wed Bible Study in July.
Ministry, Fellowship & Committee Reports for ACM to be sent to Elder Colin Gan by 16 July.
Grand piano is on loan for 1 more week. Please do not touch it unless you are a church pianist.
Candidates for Baptism, Re-Affirmation of Faith & Membership Transfer: Please submit testimonies to Pastor Ki by 2 July.
Adult & Junior RPG for Jul-Sep available. Donations $1 per booklet.
Kitchen Duty helpers - This week: Team C. Next week: Team A.

Looking Ahead
Hymn Hour, Sun, 9 July, 2pm.
Annual Congregation Meeting, Sat, 5 Aug.
Baptism, Re-Affirmation & Membership Transfer, Sun, 6 Aug.
Holiday Bible Club, 9-13 Oct.

Prayer Items
Healing: Bro Yick Ho Lam’s father (cancer); Mr Balan Sanders (home); Sisters Peng Moi Gan (Sis Peng Ha Yeo’s sister), & Christabelle Selvanayagam.
Uni & High School students with exams.
Special prayer: Rev George van Buuren (heart procedure on Wed).
God’s guidance & help with starting a Bible College.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041