Dallas Willard on Prayer

Prayer is interacting with God about what we are thinking and doing together in the world.  –  Dallas Willard (1935-2013)

More on prayer from Dallas Willard:

Don’t seek to develop a prayer life — seek a praying life. A “prayer life” is a segmented time for prayer. You’ll end feeling guilty that you don’t spend more time in prayer. Eventually you’ll probably feel defeated and give up. A “praying life” is a life that is saturated with prayerfulness — you seek to do all that you do with the Lord.

You can’t pray if you’re worrying about whether God will answer your prayer.

What solitude has to do with prayer:

Solitude is choosing to step free from human relationships for a lengthy period of time, in isolation or anonymity, to make room for occupation of our lives by God. It is to do nothing and not try to make anything happen. It is the primary spiritual discipline which enables us to learn other disciplines (e.g., Sabbath, fasting, being unhurried, study, and prayer). Solitude facilitates ministry because it enables clarity and resolution of purpose and strength to avoid distraction.

Prayer is talking with God about what we’re thinking and doing together; it is co-laboring with God to accomplish the good purposes of his kingdom. Prayer almost always involves other disciplines and spiritual activities (e.g., study, meditation, worship, solitude, or fasting). Don’t seek to develop a prayer life — seek a praying life.

What fellowship has to do with prayer:

Fellowship is engaging in common activities of worship, study, prayer, celebration, and service with other disciples of Jesus.

Source of the first quote: Tom Nelson at Biola on Prayer (YouTube video – 15:39; quote at about 10:30)

Source of the rest: Dallas Willard’s Definitions by Bill Gaultiere

 

When You Pray, Are You Comfortable with the Silence That Is a Necessary Part of It?

http://twitter.com/WiseManPhil/status/482366482979254272

We pray in order to hear God, but hearing Him requires that we spend some time abiding silently in His presence.  We will find this silent part difficult if we harbor unconfessed sin or if we doubt His goodness.  Jesus said that we are His friends if we do what He commands us.  Let us therefore do those things which make for peaceful silence between us and our Lord.

Should We Pray for Revival? | Desiring God

“Lord, please grant a revival…and let it begin with me.”

The biggest obstacle in the way of revival as sought by individual churches today is that they are not willing to give themselves to it.  That is, they want the wind of the Spirit to blow but they want to be able to capture it in a bottle so that they can manage it for their own numerical growth and well being.  If members of a local church knew that revival would mean the end of church as they know it, would they still pray for it?

If God is going to be in control, it means that we can’t be.

Do you want a revival that changes you…or one that changes everyone but you?

Let us be candles for the Lord…not candlesnuffers.

God is lighting fires among us, but, as self-satisfied believers, we quench them.

Let’s God’s people re-kindle their passion for them.  Then the world will feel the resulting heat and see by the resulting light.

(5 min read; 1,107 words)

Should We Pray for Revival? | Desiring God.

Prayer Outlines

What follows are outlines to provide structure for a time of prayer.  The first two are specifically designed to structure one hour of prayer.  The two that follow are not so specific about the time required, and could take a longer or shorter period of time.  Nevertheless, all these outlines are designed to support significant time in prayer – not just a minute or two.

Larry Lea’s Prayer Outline based on “the Lord’s Prayer” (explained in his book Could You Not Tarry One Hour?)

Various versions of this outline can be found on the web.  Here are a few of them:

      • from Larry Lea’s website
      • from Nanci Craig at her God’s Government Is Prayer website  [Editorial note, September 15, 2016: It appears that this page is no longer being maintained, so the link no longer works.]
      • from Shinsei no Sato Christian Church web site  [Editorial note, August 17, 2014: It appears that this page is no longer being maintained, so the link no longer works.]

Dick Eastman’s Prayer Outline (explained in his book The Hour That Changes the World)

The A.C.T.S. Prayer Model (this outline is usually attributed to The Joseph Company)

Lectio Divina (doesn’t necessarily call for an hour in prayer)

Jesus’ teaching on prayer when explicitly asked about it (just a reminder that He is the expert on the subject)

Luke 11:1-13 (Note that this pericope turns the request made to Him in the first verse)

Matthew 6:9-13  – This teaching parallels, and therefore enhances that in Luke 11:1-13.  Note also the context of Matthew 6:9-13, which, viewed in expanding fashion, is:

    • Matthew 6:5-15 is a teaching on prayer as service to God, not a performance for people.
    • Matthew 6:1-18 is a teaching on almsgiving, prayer, and fasting as service to God, not performances for peope.
    • Matthew 5 – 7 is the Sermon on the Mount.

Coda:

In the context of these outlines, you might remember the old hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”

“Prayer Is Hard Work” by Tim Challies at Challies Dot Com

Prayer is not an easy subject to understand.  I’m not sure I understand or agree with all the Tim has written here.  Nonetheless, it’s an important subject for study and practice.  I’ve underlined some stand-out phrases from Tim’s post:

Though prayer is instictive, it is also difficult labor. David M’Intyre makes and explains this point in his book The Hidden Life of Prayer: Instinctive as is our dependence upon God, no duty is more earnestly impressed upon us in Scripture than the duty of continual communion with Him. The main reason for this unceasing insistence is the arduousness of prayer. In its nature it is a laborious undertaking, and in our endeavor to maintain the spirit of prayer we are called to wrestle against principalities and powers of darkness.

“Dear Christian reader,” says Jacob Boehme, “to pray aright is right earnest work.” Prayer is the most sublime energy of which the spirit of man is capable. It is in one aspect glory and blessedness; in another, it is toil and travail, battle and agony. Uplifted hands grow tremulous long before the field is won; straining sinews and panting breath proclaim the exhaustion of the “heavenly footman.” The weight that falls upon an aching heart fills the brow with anguish, even when the midnight air is chill. Prayer is the uplift of the earth-bound soul into the heaven, the entrance of the purified spirit into the holiest; the rending of the luminous veil that shuts in, as behind curtains, the glory of God. It is the vision of things unseen; the recognition of the mind of the Spirit; the effort to frame words which man may not utter.

A man that truly prays one prayer,” says Bunyan, “shall after that never be able to express with his mouth or pen the unutterable desires, sense, affection, and longing that went to God in that prayer.” The saints of the Jewish Church had a princely energy in intercession: “Battering the gates of heaven with storms of prayer,” they took the kingdom of heaven by violence. The first Christians proved in the wilderness, in the dungeon, in the arena, and at the stake the truth of their Master’s words, “He shall have whatsoever he saith.” Their souls ascended to God in supplication as the flame of the altar mounts heavenward. The Talmudists affirm that in the divine life four things call for fortitude; of these prayer is one. One who met Tersteegen at Kronenberg remarked, “It seemed to me as if he had gone straight into heaven, and had lost himself in God; but often when he had done praying he was as white as the wall.”

David Brainerd notes that on one occasion, when he found his soul “exceedingly enlarged” in supplication, he was “in such anguish, and pleaded with so much earnestness and importunity,” that when he rose from his knees he felt “extremely weak and overcome.” “I could scarcely walk straight,” he goes on to say, “my joints were loosed, the sweat ran down my face and body, and nature seemed as if it would dissolve.” A living writer has reminded us of John Foster, who used to spend long nights in his chapel, absorbed in spiritual exercises, pacing to and fro in the disquietude of his spirit, until his restless feet had worn a little track in the aisle.

Another explanation of the arduousness of prayer lies in the fact that we are spiritually hindered: there is “the noise of archers in the places of drawing water.” St. Paul assures us that we shall have to maintain our prayer energy “against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Dr. Andrew Bonar used to say that, as the King of Syria commanded his captains to fight neither with small nor great, but only with the King of Israel, so the prince of the power of the air seems to bend all the force of his attack against the spirit of prayer. If he should prove victorious there, he has won the day. Sometimes we are conscious of a satanic impulse directed immediately against the life of prayer in our souls; sometimes we are led into “dry” and wilderness-experiences, and the face of God grows dark above us; sometimes, when we strive most earnestly to bring every thought and imagination under obedience to Christ, we seem to be given over to disorder and unrest; sometimes the inbred slothfulness of our nature lends itself to the evil one as an instrument by which he may turn our minds back from the exercise of prayer. Because of all these things, therefore, we must be diligent and resolved, watching as a sentry who remembers that the lives of men are lying at the hazard of his wakefulness, resourcefulness, and courage.  “And what I say unto you,” said the Lord to His disciples, “I say unto all, Watch! ”

See the original post from Tim here:  Prayer Is Hard Work | Challies Dot Com.