May 11, 2012

Day 7 - May 13, 2012

Day 7 - May 13, 2012

Discipline of Prayer

Today’s devotion reminds me of a great article I read from John Piper at Desiring God Ministries. According to Piper, there are two types of prayers. First there is the intentional, disciplined prayer that occurs whether you feel like it or not. This might be a morning, evening or meal time prayers and they are usually scripted. Then, there are the “prayer-in-the-Spirit” prayers that occur as the Holy Spirit may lead you throughout the day. These are usually unscripted and heart-felt.

According to Piper, the evangelical church spends so much time on the spontaneous “prayer-in-the-Spirit” prayers that we have lost the intentional and disciplined part of prayer.

Luther was a HUGE prayer warrior but his attitude toward prayer didn’t come as a bolt of lightning from heaven. As an Augustinian Monk, Luther prayed through the entire book of Psalms each week. It was a discipline that the Order forced him to do. But when he began the reformation, it was this discipline of prayer that he had learned over time that shaped his ability to let prayer be a central part of his life.

In Luther’s Catechism he wrote a simple morning and evening prayer. There are many evangelicals that would laugh at the thought of repeating the same prayer over and over again. Yet Luther knew that by praying these prayers he was creating a discipline of prayer in young children. Children LOVE ritual. And saying the same prayer at the same time of the day over and over again provides them with a discipline that will begin to create the habit of prayer that they will cherish much later in life.

Don’t shy away from spontaneous prayer. It is good. But also understand that the habit of prayer may well be a discipline that can be created by short and simple prayers we repeat daily.

Blessings,

Pastor David