Some believers hold a mistaken idea that a holistic encounter with God falls upon them without “intention” or “consideration” and is somewhat akin to a magical experience. They believe that the Christian devotional life requires little planning and lacks the use of formative disciplines such as prayer, scripture study, and self-denial. I dispute this view of Christian spiritual formation and I have discovered that I require discipline in order to grow into the image of Christ. I do not want to miss anything that God may offer to me in my daily walk with Him, so I eagerly seek to learn methods for successful spiritual formation.
Generally, a discipline is a particular rule or method or set pattern of behavior with an intended purpose to shape one’s moral character. Therefore, encountering God requires me to pursue well-established, precise paths. Praying the scripture has become for me one of those paths to hearing God’s voice in my life. The nature of this prayer approach also requires an individual to discipline oneself to wait upon God. While learning to wait has been a growth process for me, I have discovered that it yields wonderful results.
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 27, The Use of Scripture in Personal Prayer by Larry Ashlock).
Father, Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Without it, I wallow around in darkness, trying to find my way. Show me how to have the discipline of waiting upon You in the pages of Your Word, praying through it, soaking in it and allow it to permeate all of my being. I don’t want to miss anything You have for my life because I do not wait upon the truth of Your Word patiently and thoroughly. Transform me as You renew my mind to seek You in this way!
Praise God that he is great and greatly to be praised (Ps. 48:1). Give thanks for psalms and hymns that remind us to praise God every day in every activity with which we are involved. Confess your shortcomings in praising God too seldom or too generally. Commit yourself to thanking God for two things every day which you often take for granted. Ask him to help you be a more thanks-living person, joyfully serving him (1 Thess. 5:18).
Pray that your worship this day as well as throughout the week will “extol the LORD at all times, his praise will always be on [your] lips” (Ps. 34:1-2).
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend. Click on the title for more information about this resource.