I have been invited to share my “prayer life” or “habits”. This request reminded me that, “yes, this is indeed a habit.” I have a set time of prayer every day, just like my other daily routines of life. I have grown to look forward to this time with God, knowing that it is a time of getting back on track, and the source of spiritual empowerment for another day.
My habits are peculiar to my personality and lifestyle. You have to find your own. My quiet time is the first activity of my day – early in the morning and always accompanied by a pot of tea. Being a pen and paper and list person, my prayer lists are organised for each day, broadly following the scheme of the book of Ephesians:
- Praising God
- Prayers for the church
- Personal prayers
- Prayers for my household
- Prayers for the world
I keep trying to learn what it means to pray “in the Spirit”. Prayer is almost inseparable from Bible reading. But it’s not just reading and knowing the Bible. Even Satan knew the Scriptures. We need to know how to read the Bible and pray according to the Holy Spirit and not some other spirit. The Holy Spirit will always point us to God and his glory, and direct us away from our self-centredness. And God will give us his Spirit if we ask him (Luke 11:13).
And so, my quiet times begin with memorising (yes, I have a list!) and reading Scripture. Currently, a group I belong to is reading 1 Corinthians, and I have been meditating a lot on chapters 10 and 11. This morning I read 1 Corinthians 11:1-15 in which the apostle Paul states headship roles in hierarchical order – God, Christ, male, female. This would rate highly on the controversy scale today; and I can’t solve the problems. But God can, and so I praised him that he is God with all knowledge and power.
I prayed that he would give wisdom regarding the role of men and women in our church and its governance. I prayed for myself and what God’s order means for me as a female and a wife. I prayed for my family, including the marriages of my children, and their children trying to understand God’s order for relationships. Finally, I prayed for the unbelieving world, that they would honour God as God and Christ as his Son. My goal is to allow Scripture to inform the content of my prayers leading to obedience. I take it this is to pray and live in the Spirit.
I always conclude with the Lord’s Prayer thinking that will cover everything that I miss through ignorance or forgetfulness.
“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
Dorothy Piper | 8am congregation