Monday, September 29, 2008

Week 1 - Individual Instructions

This Sunday marked the beginning of New Life's 40 Days of ExtraOrdinary Prayer. Each week there will be instructions (some for individuals, some for small groups) to help guide you through this process. This week the focus is on "Approaching God."

(1) Assessment
Take an honest look at your current prayer life by recording the answers to the following questions:

  1. How many days each week do you pray?
  2. On average, how long do you prayer (if you’re not sure, time it)?
  3. What do you regularly pray for (e.g., family, finical needs, health issues, etc.)?
  4. Who do you pray with on a regular basis?
  5. How do you keep track of “prayer requests”?
(2) Goals
The aim of the 40 Days of ExtraOrdinary prayer is simply to pray more. If you don’t have regular time of prayer already, then aiming to pray for 5-10 minutes every other day is a great improvement. If you already pray for 5-10 on a daily basis, then try to increase your prayer time by another 5-10 minutes. Whatever they are set realistic goals that reflect where you are now and where you want to be in the future.
  1. How many days a week will you pray?
  2. What days of the week work best?
  3. When will you pray? Remember, to be specific (e.g., “at 9:00 pm” or “immediately after dinner” not “sometime at night”). Be realistic and set times that work naturally. For example, “When the kids nap,” or “For the last 10 minutes of my lunch break.”
  4. Where will you pray (outside, in your office, in your bedroom)? Try to pick somewhere you won’t be disturbed and let the people around you know what you’re doing and why it’s important.
  5. How long will you pray?
  6. How will you keep track of your prayer life (calendar, personal planner, etc.)?
(3) Accountability
If you’re not part a small group where you can share your assessment and goals (or if you don’t feel comfortable sharing them) then pick a close friend or mentor to share with. Don’t go it alone and if it’s at all possible pick someone who’s not in your family. Remember, it’s easy to share when you succeed; it’s when you fail that being honest really counts. Be gracious but firm to yourself and to your accountability partner(s).

(4) Using the Prayer Resource Book
This week, begin each prayer by reading part or all of the “Approaching God” section in the Prayer Resource Book (pg. 6-11). If you haven’t picked-up a Prayer Resource Book, they’re available at either campus for free. As you begin to pray, don’t immediately bring out your grocery-list of needs. Instead, approach God slowly, reminding yourself who He is, who you are and what He’s done through the gospel to reconcile those two realities. Focus on relating to God as a Person. Aim at communion and interaction, not just asking. The best way to do this is to pray God’s words as your own words, letting Scripture shape and guide your time with God.

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