Sunday I started a sermon series called, Experiments in Prayer. The series is about some practical ways we can pray - ways that you can experiment with prayer and enrich and grow your prayer life. At the end of the sermon I suggested a few things anyone could do to help with prayer their prayer life. I thought I would post those suggestions here, Next week I will add a few more.
The main point of the first message is that prayer is primarily about building a relationship with God. Relationships involve dialogue not Monologue - Have you ever tried to build a relationship with someone who only talks about him/herself and never listens? Prayer involves listening to God as well as speaking to God.
So a first experiment in prayer is to experiment with listening to God - warning - If God speaks He might ask you to do something!
So be careful not to be like the man who was late for an important meeting and couldn't find a parking space. As he frantically circled the block, the man got so desperate that he decided to pray.
Looking up toward heaven, he said, "Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking space, I'll go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life, and not only that, I'll give up drinking."
Miraculously, a parking space appeared.
The guy looked up again and said, "Never mind. I found one."
Experiments in listening to/for God:
Like any experiment you might want to keep a journal.
Try writing your prayers.
Write a prayer - could be as a letter to God - asking for help learning to listen - (God just loves these sorts of prayers) confess how you have a hard time hearing God.
Read a few Psalms.
Live life with your ears open to God.
Find time before you go to bed and take out your journal - Think about your day - write a letter to God or an entry about what you think God might have been telling you today - You may be surprised at what comes out.
Maybe you're more of an extrovert and journaling is no fun for you and hard to do if you know only God will be reading your journal - So, for extroverts: Try this with a friend and commit to email each other each day for a week - Email each other your God letters and then at the end of the day email what you think God is telling you and then comment on each others emails.
Or if journaling doesn't work for you at all, try this for a few minutes each day next week:
Find a quiet place, where you can be alone and just talk to God about your day. No fancy words, no editing, just what's on your heart - just like you would talk to a friend. And then sit and be quiet and listen.
Next week I'm going to go further into more practical experiments in prayer.
If you would like to email me with questions about prayer or to share your experiences as you experiment in prayer feel free to do that - I'd love to hear from you.