Start with Prayer

Those who welcomed the message of Jesus proclaimed by Peter devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  Acts 2:41-42

Two weeks ago in her sermon, pastor Lisa Larsen spoke about prayer: God’s invitation for us to speak to God. She focused on what Jesus taught about prayer, especially in what we call the “Lord’s Prayer.”  This past Sunday I spoke about the other side of the coin: the fact that we are also invited to listen – as God speaks – through nature (and in particular places and spaces), as well as through the written word in the Bible.

Part of my challenge was to make time to do this not just on Sundays, but every day of the week – with even a bare minimum commitment of 5 minutes: just 5 minutes a day deliberately doing nothing else but talking to God and listening for God’s word. I’d hope it would be longer than 5 minutes – but what I’m interested in is the creation of a simple habit – like brushing teeth or eating food, or phoning your best friend or family members – a habit that we develop that we cannot, and do not want to live without. So think “5 minutes” as the place to start.

So . . . START  . . .

With prayer. Pastor Lisa shared in her notes the simple rubric of A.C.T.S. (In your prayer, express your Adoration of God;  Confess your sins; Thank God for something or someone, make Supplication (“ask”) for something or someone. It’s not hard or impossible. Anyone can do it.

With listening to God speak in the created world. I hope that this summer you can find time to be at some place in God’s creation where you most clearly hear God speak. And I hope too, that there’s a place in your home or nearby that you can go to as a matter of routing, to simply sit, or walk or jog, and listen.

With listening to God speak in Bible. There are countless devotional reading plans and booklets out there that provide a short passage of Scripture for every day, and a brief note of explanation or application. Search “daily devotional” on your computer and you’ll see a long list. Find one that suits you, either in hardcopy, or as an app that “comes up” on your phone each day. Many people use, “Our Daily Bread.” I like an app/book called “Daily Light on the Daily Path” (originally by Samuel Bagster). These are great places to start with just a few minutes each day. For a slightly longer “work out,” I recommend looking up the Scripture Union website, and using their notes, “Discovery,” or “Encounter with God.”  Check out www.scriptureunion.org.

  • And for parents – nothing beats finding a good Children’s Bible and reading a passage every day to your children. Here are three recommendations from our Children’s Ministry –  the Jesus Storybook Bible; and from Zondervan: The Beginner’s Bible for younger children, and the Adventure Bible for older elementary.

It used to be that the society around us provided support for those who are followers of Christ. Today the challenges to believing are significant and the forces leading us to ignore or forget God in our daily lives are strong. It’s always been important to set aside time for God (as the Sabbath Commandment reminds us): once a week on Sundays together in worship is the foundation . . . but if we want the intimacy with God that God longs to have with us, then plan to make time every day. START today.

Glad to be your pastor,
David