Spiritual Disciplines

A Simple Method to Strengthen Your Prayer Life

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Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Today I want to share with you a simple way to deepen your prayer life. It requires discipline, time to pray (of course), and a desire to grow in godliness.

I learned this method of prayer during my first semester at seminary, when I found myself enrolled in prayer class. In retrospect it makes sense that a seminary would have a class on prayer, but at the time, I found it surprising. Even more surprising was the grading system. Most of our grade was derived from our daily prayers. We had to pray for an hour a day—every day—then record our prayers in outline form, turn them in, and the professor would grade them.

When confronted with the syllabus, I was shocked by two things, and I assume they are the same two things you are thinking of. First, is it even right to grade someone’s prayers? Turns out, the answer is yes, it is right. Or at the very least, it was helpful. Dr. Rosscup would slap cheesy prayer right out of class. I remember one student (now pastor Tony Arnds) say, “My paper bleeds it has so much red ink on it.” The red ink was daring us—“Go on,” it would say. “I DARE you to say, ‘Lord just be with so-and-so.’ What does that even mean?”

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Richard Foster: Effort Is Not the Opposite of Grace

"There’s a back and forth—there is a role that we play in our relational life with God. That role is, as Paul puts it, that we are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. Now, how do you do that? I’d say primarily—not exclusively, but primarily—through the classical disciplines of the spiritual life." - CToday

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The Spiritual Discipline of Remembering

As an exercise in remembering, Memorial Day has a specific focus. My purpose is not to detract from remembrance of our nation’s warriors who have lost their lives in the defense of liberty. Rather, I want to put this particular act of remembrance in the larger context of remembering as a feature of the Christian way of life.

Deuteronomy 8 helps us do that. Here we find that the Bible not only speaks powerfully to us in times of trouble but that it has equally important things to say to us after troubled times have passed and things are going well again. What it calls us to do in this “good times after bad” scenario is intentionally look back and remember the struggle.

Some context: Deuteronomy is a series of sermons Moses delivered in the plains of Moab before Israel crossed over into the land of promise. The “children of Israel” have endured four decades of wilderness life, and though they are about to face hardship of a different kind during the conquest, they are also going to experience unparalleled prosperity.

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"Spiritual disciplines don’t seem passive when your alarm sounds at 5:30am for a pre-work prayer time"

"[O]ur Bibles don’t read themselves, our prayer times don’t come pre-scheduled in our calendars, and our fasting, memorization, or meditation doesn’t occur spontaneously without our concerted effort." Sweaty Sanctification

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