Beginning As I Mean to Continue: in Prayer

matterofprayer: a year of everyday prayers – Thursday, January 1, 2015

winter road

Beginning As I Mean to Continue: in Prayer

2015: a clean, fresh, bright new year. 365 new days ahead. I started this blog to talk about prayer and meditation, and I mean to continue that way. However—I feel I have a responsibility to my friends and acquaintances who have been telling me in the past few weeks that 2014 has not been a particularly good year for them. Anxiety! Sadness! Grief! Instability of many kinds! No, not particularly good, for many in my acquaintance. I want to make a firm foundation for myself, as well as for others. In prayer.

Therefore, I am going back to basics. I went to my prayer and spiritual formation shelf. (Actually, I need to make that shelves, since I am gathering more and more books on that area, recently.) I pulled a tried-and-true book off the shelf called The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray. A prayer guide in 31 lessons, I’ve used it in the past, to good effect.

In January, then, I will read and pray through James Howell’s devotional book on prayer. (I know I mentioned it here before.) Rev. Howell is a Methodist elder and a knowledgeable person on the subject of prayer. He’s written a marvelous book of instruction. This book shares his insights, as well as those of other knowledgeable people, both living and dead.

Before I go any further, I need to make a confession. I have difficulty being consistent, as far as prayer is concerned. Even though I love to pray, and receive blessing and benefit from regular prayer, I can’t pray every day. At times, I come close! I prayed through the whole month of November this past year, for example! But, I have a need for occasional change, too, because of my personal preferences. (If you speak Myers-Briggs, my preferences are ENFP.)

I shift from one helpful prayer guide to another. (I’m afraid I’m not that constant, as far as prayer guides are concerned.) Since it provides a good foundation, I will be sticking with Rev. Howell’s helpful book through January.

The secondary title of this blog, A Year of Everyday Prayers, is meant to be hopeful. Some might say, even presumptuous! I hope and pray that God will assist me in praying every day. (And, I would appreciate any and all prayers in support and encouragement.) But . . . I will take that one day at a time. I was greatly encouraged by 2014! I successfully blogged each and every day. God willing, I’ll do the same in 2015.

A few significant sentences from this first lesson of prayer are: “ . . . prayer is not a way of getting a grip on our lives of getting things under control. Prayer is the yielding of control. Prayer is discovering I am not the center of the universe.” Let’s pray. God, thanks for the excellent food for thought. Help me—help us as we pray and come to You. Thanks for giving us the understanding that we have a relationship with You, with a good and loving God. In gracious thanks we pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

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