Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Better Prayer Life

Joe Thorn has a good post about cultivating a better prayer life/. Here is an excerpt:

When it comes to struggling with prayer I often hear things like:

“I don’t know what to say.”
“I run out of things to pray about.”
“My prayers amount to little more than a laundry list of requests.”
“I feel like my prayers just bounce off the ceiling.”
“My praying feels artificial.”

There are a number of things I recommend to people who are learning, or re-learning, to pray. The simplest is the ACTS acronym. Most of you know what it is, but just in case - it is the model of prayer that encourages us to begin with Adoration (praise), and then continue with Confession of our sin, moving on to Thanksgiving for all God is and has done for us, and concludes with Supplication (specific requests for self and others). I like this model, and it typically structures my prayer time even when I am not thinking about it. There are some great books I encourage people to read and use as well. Reading and praying through the Valley of Vision is a great aid to learning to pray more theologically. The Bible and the Closet by Thomas Watson and Samuel Lee was instrumental in altering my prayer life forever. Herman Witsius’ Sacred Dissertations on The Lord’s Prayer should be read by every pastor. But the best advice I can give someone who wants to deepen their prayer life, is typically the most unexpected. I am convinced that one of the best things to help your prayer life is systematic theology.


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