The Practical Disciple | - Part 70

Build Intimacy with Adoration

Few things build intimacy in a relationship more quickly than telling someone, “I love you” and then letting them know why. This is equally true in our relationship with God. Most people have little or no problem offering thanks to God, but some seem to struggle with just adoring God for who God is. That was certainly my story until a couple of years ago. A shift for me occurred one day when I was reading Psalm 18. It offered me a pattern for adoring God. A pattern that was easy to apply.

First, David simply said to God, “I love You.” Stop and think about how very simple that is, but when have you last given God a heart felt, “I love You!”

Then

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When there are no words…

It’s 12:48 a.m. as I write this. I have no words for prayer. A few hours ago I received an e-mail. A young man name Charlie died yesterday. He was 24. His mother, Peggy, is a friend of mine and a pastor. I pray for the family, but then words seems so hallow and inadequate. The loss, shock and sympathy I feel for my friend leaves me numb. I am bifurcated between pain and peace. Pain for my friend and her family. Pain for the 16 months of battling cancer. Pain for not being able to imagine losing my child. Peace because I know the family. Peace because I know they know God. Peace because Easter

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Daily Inventory Keeps You Consistent

Recently, I was reading an article on physical fitness and it mentioned that the most effective tool to enhance your performance was simply tracking your activity in a journal. This is equally true for our spiritual health. Since the beginning of the year I have been striving to be a blessing to others. Every day I journal and I try to always include a few notes of who I have been a blessing to and also the missed opportunities. This simple activity of listing keeps me ever aware. A prayer list, scripture list or list of acts of kindness can be an amazing shot in the arm for any spiritual discipline. One tip to keep in my mind when keeping a journal– commit to

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Growth Progression in Prayer

Today in worship I shared with members of our church the story of one young man’s progression of growth in prayer. Below is a very abbreviate description of the progression he experienced.

  1. Doubt—He began with doubt. Through listening to many stories on answered prayer his curiosity began to peak and he started to recognize God answering prayers.
  2. Curiosity/Exploration and Work–He then looked for tools and I offered to him an A.C.T.S. prayer as one guide to expand his prayer vocabulary. A.C.T.S. stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. He started practicing the ACTS prayer.
  3. Hitting Walls–As he started to grow spiritually, it created internal conflict. He experienced a painful period of questioning his faith tradition.
  4. Service–Once he reconciled the internal conflict he was experiencing, he found himself

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Remembering that Prayer is about God

A good friend shared with me a great prayer lesson. He said, “When I focus on God and not praying then it becomes so much easier. ” It reminded me of a quote by Abraham Heschel, a jewish Rabbi, who said, “The focus of prayer is not prayer, but God.” Sometimes, I forget this. When I started my one hour a day prayer discipline for Lent, I can honestly confess that I was more focused on getting the “task” of prayer done, than God. I think that much of this was symptomatic of the struggle of simply carving out an hour of time for prayer from my day. After I learned to do that I could settle more into prayer and really become focus

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Praying an Hour a Day –the effects at 2 1/2 weeks

I have been praying an hour a day since Lent began and am noticing some shifts in me. Here they are after two and a half weeks:

First, a growing ability to focus. When I first started praying an hour a day my attention wandered every where. Now I am getting more adept at letting go of distractions and really entering into a time with God. I spend 20 minutes of the hour in centering prayer which is a practice of sitting quietly before God and listening. Initially, I was opening my eyes and peeking at my watch nearly every five minutes. Three days ago I was so into praying that the first time I peeked I

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