Prayer - The Practical Disciple

Posts in Category: prayer

Lenten Devotional, Day 23, How to Stay Focused in Prayer (episode 83)

Staying focused is the number one problem people share with me regarding prayer. And, intrusive thoughts have definitely been my biggest enemy during my Lenten devotional practice of praying and meditating for fifteen minutes every day in nature.  I’ve been trying to capture in my observation log when my mind wanders off. Same days are much worse than others. Here’s what I’ve noticed.

1. The more tired I am, the more my mind wanders.This is not the least bit surprising, but it does raise the stakes on my need to work on getting better sleep.
2. My most common intrusive thoughts are: Pre-thinking upcoming conversations in my head, particularly, if I am concerned about how the conversation will go. Slipping off into

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Lenten Devotional, Day 21, Solitude and My Prayer Closet (episode 81)

My discipline of sitting outside alone has reawakened the need in me for solitude.  Also, meditating outdoors has reminded me of the tremendous benefits of solitude. I will actually be preaching about this on Sunday as a continuation of a series I am doing on spiritual disciplines. The book, Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, is the primary resource I am drawing open for this series. I selected solitude as a topic because this discipline is desperately needed and misunderstood.

We live in a culture where we are constantly bombarded with inputs. Smart phones make us constantly interruptible. We live on demand. And frankly, many of us are addicted to that input.

A Virgin Mobile study revealed that smart phone

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Lenten Devotional, Day 17, Four Ways to Respond to God Faithfully, (episode 77)

Sitting out in nature comes with great gifts and even greater responsibility. First, scripture basically says that we can know God fully through nature, so much so that none of us have any excuse for not believing. Specifically, this appears in Romans 1:20.

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Stop and think about this for a moment. According to the word of God, you can know God’s eternal power and divine nature in the things God has made. So, if  you want to understand the invisible attributes of

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Lenten Devotional, Day 12, Trouble Tree (episode 72)

Well today, was just another absolutely beautiful day in Jonesboro, Arkansas. The temperature was moderate, the bird’s and squirrels were abundantly active. I even saw my first scuffle between Robins. This was most likely male-to-male aggression as birds begin establishing their territory. That’s a common phenomenon to expect in the spring.

The way to spot this is to watch for two bird’s physically and vocally going after each other hard, until one peels away and flies off. I count on the one left behind becoming the new sheriff in town.

One of the miraculous wonders of sitting in nature everyday is how worries have a way of diminishing or sometimes completely evaporating.  I’m remind of an old story called the “Trouble

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Lenten Devotional, Day 11, Snoozing in God’s Lap (episode 71)


This morning’s sit was absolutely lovely. Gentle breezes, bright sunshine, squirrels and robins feeding around the backyard. I did have one disappointing observation. The Saucer Magnolia in my neighbor’s yard, which was exploding in white and pink blossoms over the past week, turned a dingy brown due to an intense cold snap. I am saddened to see these lovely blooms slip away so quickly. Fortunately, I can already see buds fattening up on the tips of a few flowering trees. I can’t wait to see what color Spring brings next.

As I soaked in the sights and sounds today I found myself drifting in and out of sleep. This was a first. Not that I haven’t fallen asleep praying, but so

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Lenten Devotional, Day 9, gratitude (episode 69)

Everyday I begin my sit spot time by offering thanks. I haven’t explained how though. I’m not just rattling off whatever I am grateful for. I have a specific form of thanks that I have been doing for over twenty years. My model is an adaptation of a model I originally learned while on a wilderness education event. The school I attended received the original prayer model from a Native American elder named Jake Swamp of the Haudenosaunee people.

In it’s original form the person praying usually voices their gratitude to various aspects of creation.  My experience has been that this is not usually a deification of nature, but rather an expression of heartfelt kinship with the natural world. That said, I too feel deep connection to nature, but when I prayer

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