Prayer

Prayer is Like Breathing

    "Praying is like breathing; it is part of the Christian's life and basic to it. It is more than formal prayer, important as that is. It is a continual openness to God in all our being. Instead of talking to ourselves as we go through the day, we talk to God, sentence prayers, momentary calls for help, grace, or strength, quick words of thanks, or expressions of need, all this and more. Such constant sentence praying gives us the greatest freedom and advantage in prayer, because it is the practice of the presence of God, of our awareness of it. Its greatest reward is the growing awareness that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. (Systematic Theology, p. 7204)

This is akin to what St. Paul wrote to the Philippians:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" Phil. 4:6-7 All anxiety can be dissolved into a godly peace that serves as an impenetrable wall to your heart and mind. My father used this practice of a continuous conversation with God to do more than guard his own heart-he used it to triumph over the spirit of the age:

Praying the Promises of His Word

The Lord calls us to be "transformed by the renewing of [our] minds" (Rom. 12:2). One of the most powerful ways we can do this is by praying the promises of His Word back to Him, since He has promised that His Word would not return void, but would accomplish its intended purpose (Is. 55:11). By God's Word we can defeat the accusations and the temptations of Satan, as Christ did while tempted in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11).

The following prayer is one that I wrote over some time as I meditated on a number of promises from the Scripture that the Spirit called to my mind. What I mean by "meditation" is not that I repeated any verses as a mantra, as if they had power in themselves, but that I considered deeply what they meant, that I weighed the meaning of the words, that I waited to see if the Lord brought to mind other verses that touched on the same topics, and that I related all of this to what I was experiencing in life.

As a result, I was able to see something in these words that was greater,

Wisdom to Know the Difference

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.James 3:17


The Serenity Prayer is believed to have been written by American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr sometime in the 1930’s. Although at the time it was written, it was not directly related to alcoholics, later it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous as the prayer stated at each of their meetings. It would then become a regular prayer at many other recovery meetings, including that of adult children of alcoholics.

Prayers for Each of the 12 Steps

~First Step Prayer~

Dear Lord,
I admit that I am powerless over my addiction.

I admit that my life is unmanageable when I try to control it.
Help me this day to understand the true meaning of powerlessness.
Remove from me all denial of my addiction.

~Second Step Prayer~

Heavenly Father,
I know in my heart that only you can restore me to sanity.

I humbly ask that you remove all twisted thought and
addictive behavior from me this day.
Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.

What Should We Get Out of Prayer?

There came into my experience a deeper conception of God. He was" more ready to hear than we to pray." "We love him because he first loved us." God was taking the initiative in communion. He had sent Jesus into the world to make that known to us. What was wanted on our part really was receptivity, rather than effort.

When I surrendered my life to His will, prayer began to be a new thing: not a way to change His will, but a way to find it. It did away with much of the difficulty of the human persuasion of God, and became largely God's persuasion of us. It was His will which was paramount and mattered, not ours.

The Still, Silent Challenge

Do We Sit With Our Hearts?

I admit it. I have a difficult time being still.

I like background noise, action and movement. This probably explains why I am pathetic at relaxation exercises, Tai Chi and yoga. I just can't seem to settle down. The room may be completely quiet, yet my thoughts, "to do" lists and anxieties are often at record-setting decibel levels.

And this noise is often a part of the addiction package. Why? Because it's distracting. And anything that promises to provide escape from reality is tantalizing.

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Prayer for Those Who Struggle with the Holidays

Abba...this is a really hard time of year for so many.

Some are experiencing the first round of holidays and feasts without a loved one...
whether through death or a need for reconciliation.

Some are going through serious illness.

Some are experiencing great financial hardship.

Some are locked into bondages and/or addictions.

Abba, please touch each one, especially those who are reading this prayer and their loved ones.

I lift them all up to You, Abba.

You can bring healing...

where no one else can.

You can touch hearts...

What does "Pray Without Ceasing" Mean?

Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 declares that God's will for us is that we

[p]ray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks.

To pray unceasingly does not mean spending twenty-four hours daily in prayer. >b>Rather, it means being open continually to God, sharing our thoughts and hopes with Him in mental prayer, and so on. It means, as we face a problem, praying, in a sentence, "Lord, help me with this problem"; or, "Give me patience as I talk with this trying person"; or, "Thank you for seeing me through that mess," and similar prayers.

O. Hallesby years ago wrote, "We cannot breathe in the early morning in such a way that it will be sufficient until noon. Likewise, we cannot pray in the morning so as to suffice until noon."

Continual sentence prayers are simply Christian breathing. They keep us alive and strong.

Prayer: Lord we come to YOU

Thank You Lord that You have been with us all year and that we have seen many things and also have had our trials and our struggles. We look to You for new life Lord and we know Your promises.

We are glad that when we are not faithful... You Are
and that we can come to You this day and grow in all that You are, learn new things every day and walk in Your Spirit which is life to us.

The life You have for us is full of power and peace. We cannot even imagine peace on our own Lord too many things in our lives and relationships with our passions and anxieties.

You are God -- Lord God Almighty God and Your make a way into our hearts and our lives. You reach Lord where we don t even know what is there and You bring life from it.
Nothing is beyond YOU.
We cannot hide from YOU.
No where can we go from Your spirit

So Lord we come to YOU.
Teach us.
Root out those places where we hold pain
where disease can settle
and where fears can develop.

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