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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Prayer - take one

As part of Relay we do an elective study module - this term just gone I decided to look at prayer, for reasons that will be somewhat explained further on in this or another post. Anyway, the south east relays (plus staffworkers Kath and David) met at beginning of December to present to each other (and Kath and David!) what we'd learnt. Thought I might blog it, but probably in a couple of posts coz there's quite a bit!

So, post 1.


Prayer – a little word with big implications! And many aspects – a huge topic. And so obviously there's no way I will have studied all those aspects in one term. So I'm going to start by reading you what I wrote for Kath when I started this elective study, because that explains (I hope!) where I'm coming from in my study of prayer:

I seem to go through phases as far as praying goes. Sometimes I can't stop! This itself is split into 'sections' as it were – I can't stop praising or I can't stop asking! There are times, wonderful times, when I just cannot stop communicating with my heavenly Father. And then there are times, not so good times, when it seems like such an effort. When it seems too hard.

It often feels like I'm the only one with that experience. But experience assures me I'm not! I wonder, why is it that sometimes, far too often in fact, prayer can seem like such a struggle, an effort. Surely it comes down to our motivation and our focus.

Surely if we knew why we pray in the first place – I mean really knew – then it wouldn't be so hard? Because surely the reasons are good ones (God being God)! Surely if we could focus on that in the dry times then it would help us, even when the going gets tough.

And so my first question is why do we pray?

And I know there are times when I pray with the utmost confidence in who I am praying to and what the result will be. But then at times I pray so halfheartedly, not really expecting or knowing if God will answer my prayers.

So my second question is what happens when we pray?

And then there are times when my prayers are unsteady because I'm not sure I'm even supposed (/allowed?) to be praying what I am!

Hence the 3rd question – What should we pray when we pray?

I know there have been many books written on the subject, and I aim to look at these during the course of my study (some immediate ones which spring to mind are 'Prayer' by Philip Yancey and 'Praying and the knowledge of God' by Graeme Goldsworthy). But I also want to look at the prayers of the Bible. I want to know what the Bible tells us about prayer.

I'd like to base my elective study for this term on prayer mainly because it's something I struggle with, because it's something I want to understand more, because I want to engage in prayer more, and because I want to help my friends do the same.

I want to be excited about prayer.


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