Prayer Calendar: Prayer Habits

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Dave is the EFCC’s Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. His regular contributions are excerpted in the monthly Prayer Calendar.

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Habits seldom receive good press. In fact, in today’s culture of suspicion, to speak favorably of them might be labeled fake news. To develop and sustain habits of any kind are viewed by some as burdensome, confining and boring. Many want lives that are spontaneous, unplanned, busy and full, lived in short bursts rather than the long haul. Maybe that’s why people groan when they think of New Year’s resolutions. They take intentional work and seldom last. Resolutions don’t often turn into habits.

Prayer habits are essential to a healthy prayer life.

I had to think after writing that last sentence if I believed it, and yes, I stand by that statement. I’ve become convinced that times of prayer don’t happen easily in our North American culture. Habits help the prayer to flow.

Of course, you already have some prayer habits. Take the following quiz to identify a few of yours.

“For me, prayer happens most often . . . “

  • In times of crisis
  • When I want God to act
  • When I want to spend time with God

 

  • In church
  • In smaller groups with other believers
  • When I am alone

 

  • Whenever I need to
  • At set times of the day
  • When someone asks me to

 

  • With my head bowed
  • On my knees
  • With up-raised hands

In Luke 11, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he didn’t go into the “how” of prayer, what prayer habits to engage. Instead, he gave them a model prayer for group recitation and taught them to ask things of the Father with a spirit of audacious expectancy.

Yet there were prayer habits in his life, which the disciples would have observed. Scot McKnight in his book, Praying with the Church (Paraclete Press, 2006), reminds us that Jews in the time of Jesus intentionally prayed three times a day (morning, afternoon and evening). They would pray the Psalms, the Shema (Deuteronomy 6), and the Ten Commandments. Jesus probably did the same. Luke 5:16 (and other passages) tell us, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Jesus Christ had certain practices/habits that intentionally brought prayer into his life.

It might, then, be a good thing for us to develop practices/habits that intentionally draw us to pray rather than waiting for the “spirit (ours)” to move!

Pulse Podcast 008: What is the Gospel?

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Here we go, with episode 8! Neil and Bill examine some ideas and definitions of the gospel — a critical component of our Revitalize initiative. The goal here isn’t to arrive at a single, definitive statement. It’s to help us make sure that we’re thinking about the gospel in compatible terms.

New! Preview version!

See below for a preview of the podcast. We’d love it if you shared this at your church gathering, or small group where time is precious. It’s an invitation to the larger, ~20min session.

Prayer Calendar: Wordless Prayer

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Dave Acree is our Prayer and Spiritual Life Catalyst. This is a welcome to the monthly Prayer Calendar which we publish to promote prayer throughout the EFCC family. If you would like to receive the Prayer Calendar by e-mail, you can sign up for it on this page, or you can see the latest copy here.


Who’s got your back? All of us need someone watching out for us, whatever our life circumstances. It is good to know there is someone paying attention, ready to step in and help when we are unable to handle what life is throwing at us. Sometimes friends, family, work or schoolmates, or others step up to fill that role. When it comes to prayer, they pray for us, but there are times when that is not enough.

That’s when “wordless prayer” comes into play.

Perhaps you have been involved in group prayer when an “unspoken request” is thrown into the mix. That’s when an individual asks for prayer for someone but can’t name the person or tell the specifics of the need. Perhaps they don’t have permission to ask or are afraid that stating the need might cross the line into gossip. So knowing that God knows, even though we do not, we pray a generic prayer without specific words. That’s not what we are talking about.

Have you noticed all the groaning going on in Romans 8? First, all of creation groans waiting for that time when it will be liberated from its decay and returned to the glory God intends it to have (v. 22). Then, we Christians groan waiting for God to bring us into the fullness of our salvation and to redeem these frail broken bodies of ours (v. 23). Neither we nor the creation can hardly wait!

The third groaning (vs. 26-27) is where the wordless prayer takes place. This happens when we are so overwhelmed that we are struck dumb. There are no words. We don’t know what to say, what to pray, what to ask for. We are not even sure at times what to expect from God.

That’s when the Holy Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans. What’s that? I don’t know but when we can’t, the Holy Spirit can, and takes up our prayer challenge and does it better than we could ever hope to do. He knows God’s will and prays towards that end on our behalf.

So, when it comes to prayer, who’s got your back? The Holy Spirit does. There is a strange unexplainable comfort in that.

Pulse Podcast 007: An Update from Asia

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In this episode, we chat with Mel, the EFCCM’s Asia Area Director. I think we’ve laughed at least once every episode, but this one may have made us laugh the hardest.

To subscribe to Mel’s newsletter, or connect with missionaries, get in touch with him directly: melvinsayer@yahoo.com

Pulse Podcast 006: An Update from Europe

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In this episode of the Pulse, we get a chance to talk to Daryl Porter, the EFCCM’s Europe Area Director. He shares some of the highlights and his perspectives of what’s happening in Europe, and some of the things to look forward to.

If you would like to sign up for Daryl’s e-mail list, e-mail him directly.

And if you would like to see the opportunities we have to serve internationally, visit this page.