The Gathering has been great so far. So rich of a time. It has been great equipping our church to pray.
In this morning’s Prayer Gathering, I mentioned how I can often get stuck in a rut in my prayer life. Addressing the same list, with the same format, in the same manner day in and day out can produce stagnation.
In marriage: “How was your day, dear? Mine was fine…”
In prayer: “God, thank you for this day…please bless all the missionaries…this food nourish our bodies and our bodies for your service…”
Resorting to clichés can make one’s marriage or prayer life stagnate.
Praying Your ABC’s
Being discipled in college, I had someone encourage me to use the process he termed as “Alphabet Praise” when prayers would become routine.
This is how it works:
Start with the letter “a” and use it as the beginning of an adjective for God and thank him for that character trait. Then, work your way down the alphabet.
“God, I want to thank you today that you are awe-inspiring. Just as I walked out of the house this morning and felt the crisp Fall air, it brought peace and refreshment to me. And you made that! You made all that I know and see! When I look at your Creation, I am literally struck with awe based on who you are based on what Creation says about you.
“God, you are so benevolent. I had prayed for the needs of my friend last week, and you met that need. I don’t want to rush down to the next need I know about without saying thank you for what you have already provided. You are a God that meets our needs. You take care of your children! Thank you!
“God, you are calculating. Every step and action is determined by you. You have a plan. You are not trying to figure out what to do next. You are on your throne, and your plan will be fulfilled and your kingdom is on the advance! I love watching how you calculate all these details together…
And so on, and so on.
This Morning’s Experiment
I had some skeptical looks on faces this morning as we began filling out our lists, but by the end, no skeptics remained. As we went through each letter of the alphabet, we were offering some of the most beautiful worship I have ever heard because it was God-focused, God-exalting, thought-provoking, specific, intentional, and personal. Much of what we do corporately is not all of that! I felt like my soul was being lifted heavenward as we just bragged on God in our morning groups.
After sharing some of them as a large group, we began to thank God for some of those specific adjectives through prayer in smaller groups.
Before anyone knew it, we had spent our entire time bragging on God and thanking him for who he is.
We offered no petitions, just praise.
In fact, I asked everyone to think of a prayer request they had, then look down the list of God’s adjectives and see if the answer to their request was on there. Guess what? The answer to that prayer had already been written down.
The character of God was the answer!
You know someone overwhelmed with guilt right now? Praise God that he is gracious!
You know someone who feels so lonely and depressed? Be thankful that our God is near!
Someone struggling that everything seems to be falling apart right now? We serve a withstanding God!
Is your prayer life in a rut? Why don’t you give this a shot? You will be amazed at how things come into perspective when we you focus upon who God is.
My List From This Morning
When I do this, I try not to use adjectives I have used previously. Here’s my list from this morning. It served as a great prayer time focusing on God. It was amazing how quick the time went.
- Gracefully contagious
- Questioning (me)
- Tested (and passed!)
- X-Ray my heart (I have to give Jerry credit for this one)