Tuesday night is my night to fellowship with the ladies of our church. In December, we studied 'Love and Respect' a series that I absolutely love and highly recommend. Now we are studing 'Learn it, Live it' a series on spiritual disciplines. This series has a study section and then a 'do' section which I think is wonderful because it forces us to put into practice what we are learning rather than just discussing it. Anyway...
Our first discipline we studied was prayer and to be honest, the 'learn it' section was somewhat basic to me but the 'live it'... well I think it's changed my prayer life forever. There are a few options that your group has to choose from but ours was to:
Choose a passage of Scripture (try Psalm 23, 51 or John 17). Individually write the first verse of the passage you chose on a sheet of paper. Pause to reflect on its meaning. Then write a prayer to God based on how God speaks to you through this verse. Continue writing each verse until you've prayed through the entire passage.
I've prayed through scripture before but never like this. Never taking it verse by verse and reflecting on just one verse at a time. To me it really helped me feel connected to God, I could understand and hear what He was saying to me, I knew how to pray and what to pray for. I think writing it out really helped me to focus on what I was learning and not to forget it too.
The first passage I prayed through was Psalm 119:57-64 and while it was all so wonderful, verse 60 almost haunts me. It says, "I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands." How many of us really hurry to obey? So often we stop to think about it or make excuses, whatever it may be but I pleaded (and still do many times a day) that I will have that desire (and actually do)... to hurry and obey. Verse 58 ("With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised.") really helped me to see a side of myself that surprised me. There is something that my heart truly desires right now but it's not God's time and this verse reminded me (okay so maybe this isn't exactly what the verse is trying to say here but this is how God spoke to me through it) that His timing and His blessings are so much better than what I could ever dream of. And I thought of Israel when they demanded a king. That was not God's plan at all... He had something so wonderful in store for them (David) but despite what Samuel warned them of... they insisted and so finally God granted their request. What happened then... DISASTER! I don't want to demand something from God and He grant it to me... I want it to be His blessing. And I truly meant that (which is what surprised me... lol).
I absolutely loved praying in this way and will now make this a regular part of my prayer life. I fall in habit of praying whenever it's convienant for me (and use Isabella as my excuse) and what ends up happening is praying before falling asleep (and well I'm sure many of you know how this goes... 'Heavenly Father.... snore... oh yeah where was I?") and I miss the deep communion with God.