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Reviewed by: John Woon, Family Connect 1 Small Group
Prayer is a way to maintain constant communion with God the Father and God the Son through God the Holy Spirit (John 15:5-8). It is about God with us. God’s presence transformed ordinary sinful people into apostles who ‘turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6).
The issue is: how could we effectively pray despite our busy schedule?
Bill Hybels recommends ‘Practical Journal Writing’ first mooted by Gordon MacDonald in his book “Ordering Your Private World” which suggested keeping a journal, and writing in this journal book every day, but restraining yourself to one page. Every day, when you open to the next blank sheet of paper, write the same first word: “Yesterday”. Follow this with a paragraph or two recounting yesterday’s events. This exercise will cause a tremendous step forward in spiritual development.
After you have written your journal, flip all the way to the back of your notebook and write a prayer, and again, limit your writing to one page. Then go on your knees and read the written prayer out aloud.
After that, on your knees, soften your heart and invite the lord to speak to you by His Holy Spirit (1 King 19:12). These moments in God’s presence are the ones that really matter, because it is here that authentic Christianity emanates, the unhurried silent communing of God’s spirit with ours.
The arch-enemy of spiritual authenticity is busyness. And so, it is time to slow down, reflect and listen. God speaks to us:
(1) through His Word
(2) through other people
(3) through the promptings of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9)
People who make opportunities for the Holy Spirit to speak to them during their prayer time will know that the Christian life is a continual adventure. It is full of surprises, thrills, challenges and mysteries. If you open your mind and heart to God’s prompting, you will be amazed at what He will do. He is attempting to communicate with you more often than you know. You have no idea how much richer and fuller, how much more exciting and more effective your life would be once you make the decision to be still, to be aware and to obey God’s prompting.
Bill Hybels reminded us that we can’t become an authentic Christian on a diet of constant activity, even if the activity is all church-related. Ministry activities, Christian concerts, weekend conferences, church committee meetings – these may all be valuable, but they won’t serve you well as your primary source of strength. Strength is borne of solitude. And often, decisions that change the course of your life usually come out of these ‘Holy of Holies’ encounter on your knees.
So why not practise (1) practical journal writing (2) one-page prayer writing, and (3) go on your knees and invite the presence of the Holy Spirit to speak and to transform your lives.
Despite our busy schedule, we must pray. That’s the essence of Christianity.