Thursday, August 10, 2006

Listening prayer

There has recently been some discussion on the Truth Alive forum about listening in prayer for the voice of God. I think I may have touched on this earlier on this blog, perhaps under the "Intimacy with God" thread. It's something I'm often asked about, and I frequently have Christadelphians ask me for suggestions on how to listen for the voice of God.

I recently came across a helpful model for "listening prayer" based on the Lord's prayer, in Kingdom Ethics by Glen Stassen and David Gushee (Intervarsity Press 2003). The Lord's Prayer has a sevenfold structure, so it lends itself to being used in this way - taking one section each day for a week.

Here are some extracts from this book which may be helpful.

Sunday (or day 1):

Hallowed be your name.

Ask God to give you an idea concerning how God's name could be hallowed in your day - through what you are inspired to do, or what you pray someone else might do; for a small, thoughtful initiative that you could take.

Monday (or day 2):

Your kingdom come.

Consider how God's kingdom (understood as the reign of God) might come in your own life in the next 24 hours, and how your own behaviour might be out of step with the reign of God

Tuesday (or day 3):

Your will be done.

Ask for God's guidance for how you might be able to do God's will in a way you might not have thought of, or would not have been empowered to try, if you had not listened in God's presence.

Wednesday (or day 4):

Give us today enough bread for the coming day.

As well as our own needs, this prayer demands our attention to the needs of those around us. In listening prayer open your mind so God might give you a vision of human need that you could help meet during the next 24 hours.

Thursday (or day 5):

Forgive us our debts (as we forgive our debtors).

Ask to be made aware of a part of your life where you could use some forgiveness, and of another person in your relationships who could use some forgiveness from you. or from someone else whom you could help do some forgiving. Ask for God to give you a word of forgiveness that you can take to heart, or that you can speak to someone else.

Friday (or day 6):

Do not bring us into a time of trial/temptation.

Confess to God some temptation in your life, admit you cannot solve it yourself, and ask for God to make you aware of how the vicious cycle works and how you can be delivered. Or you can pray for someone else's empowerment to avoid temptation, or for a supporting word to come to you to mention to that other person.

Saturday (or day 7):

Deliver us from the evil one.

Ask that you be made aware of God's delivering action in your life or the life of someone else, and how you can participate in God's dynamic presence to deliver.

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