I find myself learning over and over how to walk with God and simply enjoy His presence. Yes, I regularly use the prayer Jesus taught the disciples to pray that Dr. Luke recorded later in his Gospel. I have a daily practice of holy habits. But I realized my relationship with God often mirrors other relationships that need time, nurture, shared experience, and waiting.
I have found that written prayers often help me engage with the Father. For the past year or so I have used “Daily Readings from Spiritual Classics” (1990, Augsburg Fortress) to help me pause and reflect each day on the nature and character of God. The daily readings are contemporary devotions based on texts by people like Augustine, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C.S. Lewis, & Flannery O’Conner. I have enjoyed the daily content from various writers who introduced a reading from an author like Augustine, then offered a prayer and reflection response for me to follow.
Here is a sample prayer that I picked up at the Global Leadership Summit a few years ago.
“God, this a new day. I freshly commit myself to the role you have invited me to play, as you are building your church in this world. I am awestruck again that you include me in this grand, life-giving, world-transforming endeavor. So today, I gladly offer you: My Love, My Heart, My Talents, My Energy, My Creativity, My Faithfulness, My Resources, and My Gratitude.
I commit all of myself to the role you have assigned me in the building of your church so that it may thrive in this world. And I will “bring it” today. I will bring my best. You deserve it. Your church deserves it. It is the Hope of the World.” This prayer is posted where I shave.
Read Psalm 42.
Part of my “soul thirsting for God, for the living God,” (v 2) are prayer and worship experiences that help me sit at His feet and feel His presence.
Another one of my spiritual practices is to engage in personal worship. I have found portions of Scripture that I read, reflect on, and even sing back to the Lord. I have also treasured a few songs now and then that seem to help me connect with the Father more readily. One of the songs I have been listening to for months, since I came across it on Pandora music, is called “Clean” by Natalie Grant. Here are the first three stanzas:
I see shattered, You see whole, I see broken, But You see beautiful, And You’re helping me to believe, You’re restoring me piece by piece.
There’s nothing too dirty, That You can’t make worthy, You wash me in mercy, I am clean, There’s nothing too dirty, That You can’t make worthy, You wash me in mercy, I am clean.
What was dead now lives again, My heart’s beating, beating inside my chest, Oh I’m coming alive with joy and destiny, Cause You’re restoring me piece by piece.
I have played the song “Clean” over and over on several occasions. It has helped me “go and meet with God” (v 2), and helped me as “if His song were with me” (v 8). Grow devotionally. Each of can use Scripture, prayer, and worship as ways to taste and see that He is good.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz