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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Semester My Prayer Life Ignited

By Baseball Bugs (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The fall of 1988 was a wonderful, crazy semester for me. I determined to take an hour and fifteen minutes of devotional time each day and I wouldn’t sleep until that happened. Looking back, it was a reckless commitment, but I kept it. Sometimes I would finish my studying at 2 in the morning knowing I had my full quiet time ahead of me. Awesome!




Five great questions of life: Life * Love * Learning * Labor * Leadership
 
Life: What's My Spiritual Center?

The Semester My Prayer Life Ignited


By Evan Nehring


The fall of 1988 was a wonderful, crazy semester for me. I determined to take an hour and fifteen minutes of devotional time each day and I wouldn't sleep until that happened. Looking back, it was a reckless commitment, but I kept it. Sometimes I would finish my studying at 2 in the morning knowing I had my full quiet time ahead of me. Awesome! I’d walk the sidewalks of downtown Minneapolis in the dark and pour out my heart to God. If I got out earlier, sometimes I’d take 3-4 hour walks across the Mississippi River bridges and down the shore.
 
Those times are a gift from God that can never be taken away. I've got notebooks of journal entries that came from those prayer walks. It's a pursuit I never intend to give up.
 
By Jeremy Noble from St. Paul, United States (skyline) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
 
My core value of devotion looks like this:
A lifetime of meaningful connecting with God through the great varieties of prayer and the Word.

Jesus spoke of the vine and the branches in John 15. He spoke of remaining connected with a life of personal devotion that grafts us into the heart of God.
 
We want that. Humanity craves communion with our Creator. We fear God is vengeful and distant until we discover his favor and warmth, often through prayer and scripture. And from that fearless, favored place we press further to learn the Creator’s path.
 
The journey gets long and God uses the disciplines to sustain us. Temptation ambushes us. We find grace and direction to return. We get bored, distracted, and burnt out. The Holy Spirit meets us to inspire us to new adventures.
 
We choose discipline. We find desire. We taste delight.
 
I'll have more posts on the devotional life, but here are a few ideas to get us rolling.
 

Find Your Getaway Place

Downtown Minneapolis was my sanctuary for a while. I know a mom who used to go and sit in her car in the driveway. Your place might be at a desk or in a certain room.
 
One of my dorms, on Carlson Hall’s 4-East floor, had a really deep closet. About eight feet deep! I put a desk and a chair behind the clothes rack. Add a gooseneck clip-on lamp and a fan and I had serious privacy! There’s some benefit to having a place.
 

Then Find a Time

David said, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2) Some like the morning, some pray at lunch, some prefer evening or even in the night. It’s always a good time to remain! If you need to put it on your calendar, go ahead and just schedule it.
 

Find Something of the Heart of God, and Get Close

At the heart of it, devotional time is about being close to God. Being close involves opening the deepest places of my heart to God, and listening quietly to what’s on his heart.
I will bring him near and he will come close to me,
for who is he who will devote himself
to be close to me?' declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 30:21)
 

Question

Which of these is trickiest for you: finding a place, finding a time, or finding the heart of God? Got any tips? Comments are welcome. I'm praying everyone who reads this is sparked to a closer relationship with our Creator!

Here's a link to my post: The Seven Core Values of a Jesus Follower.

Here's a link to all my posts on "Life: What's My Spiritual Center?"


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