Série de Prière: In Conclusion

It’s been a good challenge for me to sit down and consciously think about how I pray. I certainly didn’t intend for the series to last so long! I hope that some of my insight, experiential knowledge, or simple steps have helped you and lifted some of the mystery of prayer.

In conclusion, I just wanted to say that as you continue your journey in prayer, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. My favorite quote about that comes from a Jason Upton song:

I’m so proud of you
I’m so proud of you
Samuel, I’m so proud of you
I’m proud of you when you are sleeping
I’m proud of you when you’re awake
And whatever you do, don’t stop tryin’
‘Cause learnin’ makes lots of mistakes

The Holy Spirit will direct your path. Ask Him for help, after all, He is called the Teacher (John 14:26).

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This post is a part of a series on different types of prayer. Click here to read the rest of the series.

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Série de Prière: Communion

“God [is] Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24

What is it?

I’m not here to talk about the Eucharist, though that’s a good form of communion too. The word “communion” simply means sharing something in intimate fellowship/friendship. The kind of communion I am talking about is the internal relationship we have with the Holy Spirit.

Why do it? Well firstly, it is repeated over and over that Jesus communed with the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 10:21, John 1:33, etc.). I also find it interesting how much Jesus stressed abiding with the Spirit right before He went to the cross (read John 14-16).

In my own life, I find that the more I focus on communing with the Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis, the less I sin: I make better decisions because I follow His leading and I am generally more joyful as I remember God is walking with me throughout all my circumstances.

I have posted this quote before, but I believe it sums up communing with the Holy Spirit better than I ever could:

“There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship, and a gentle receptiveness to the divine breathings.” – Thomas Kelly

Practical Steps

Jesus said the Father would give the Holy Spirit to His children if we ask (Luke 11:13). I don’t have bullet-points for this type of prayer, just suggestions.

Try to develop an awareness of the Spirit within you all the time. You may have been consumed with the natural all day and then all of the sudden remember about Him — that’s great! Talk to Him internally when that happens. If you’re stressed out, thank Him for who He is (e.g. “Thank you Holy Spirit for your peace”).

As I’ve progressed in this, I find that I can have a normal conversation with someone and be consciously adoring the Lord and as I have to make small decisions, I ask Him what I should do. Sometimes He gives me specific direction, other times I know that that it is my choice.

Recommended Reading

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence is a small but insightful book on communing with the Lord throughout the day

Clowning in Rome by Henri Nouwen is an easy read on unceasing prayer, among other subjects

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This post is a part of a series on different types of prayer. Click here to read the rest of the series.

A Near God

What if there was a way for you to feel compassion in your heart towards something and the God of heaven heard it like a prayer? What if we, like the Spirit, make intercession “with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26)? If it is true that God hears the cry of my heart which hasn’t even been formed into a prayer of thought, then He must be a God who is close to me, just waiting for that movement of my heart.

I am a firm believer in a near God. I believe that Spirit of God is closer to me than my skin and that I have no need to yell and cry out to that God who is so near to me. I can usually identify if someone believes in a God who is “near at hand” (Jer. 23:23) by the way they pray. If they pray loudly, “preach-pray”, or pray with their eyes glazed over as if they are speaking to the air, then my heart goes out for them to know a God of nearness: a God who not only loves to hear their voice, but loves to answer the silent cry of their heart.

Softness, Part 2

In continuation of my previous thought, I realized that this has much to do with communing with the Holy Spirit. I best heard this described in the following quote:

“There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship, and a gentle receptiveness to the divine breathings.” – Thomas Kelly

This is an attitude of spirit that I wish to implement into every moment of my life. I want to wake up praying; I want to be required to make a decision and immediately know where the Lord is leading. In his book Clowning In Rome, Henri Nouwen says, “…Our prayer can only become unceasing communion when all our thoughts…can be thought in the presence of the One who dwells in us and surrounds us.” I want to live there. My desire is to fellowship with the Lord day and night and to make it natural to live at this “profounder level.”

Softness

I recently switched to the NightWatch at my prayer room to help Juan (a leader of our House) with our first Fire in the Night internship. I am loving it…especially my tripled personal time in the prayer room.

The other night as I drove home and the sky was tinged blue in preparation for the sunrise, I suddenly felt rising in my heart a softness…a softness towards the Lord that I have missed in recent months. My eyes brimmed with tears as I enjoyed the sweetness I hadn’t even realized I was missing. It was that feeling of, “why would I want to go one moment without the attitude of my heart being complete love towards the Lord?”

I first felt this tenderness creep into my spirit during my internship at IHOP a year and a half ago. I realize that most people have never experienced this internal change, so they cannot comprehend how their daily lives would be enhanced by living there. I am attributing the privilege of this attitude of heart to simply setting myself before the Lord more. For me, my season of that is in the prayer room, but I am not convinced that is the only place this can occur. I believe that just the act – regardless of feelings attached – of setting yourself before the Lord and simply saying, “Here I am,” can allow the Holy Spirit tenderize your heart to His presence in your life.

I have never heard someone specifically talk about this; this is solely coming from my own experience. If someone else has more ample words to describe what I am experiencing, please do state your own observations.