Sunday, January 16, 2011

Questions About Prayer

So...all the people I would ask about this are, well, not available at the moment.  And I should probably stop drafting people into being my pseudo-spiritual directors anyway.  So I'm going to post this up for blogland (all 4 of you) to comment on.

I feel like I'm in a..."season of prayer," as my evangelical friends might say, wherein I am stuck in "adoration" or "thanksgiving" (according to the ACTS model of prayer). 

What I mean is this:  Whenever I settle down and actually focus on prayer, nearly all the time, what flows most freely, with hardly any effort on my part, are the thanksgivings.  Thank you God for this-person-and-that-person, this-blessing-and-that-blessing, the way you reveal yourself to me when I have no idea why you would want to do that for me, this-thing-and-that-thing, the love and care shown to me by other people, etc...

It's a great feeling, really.  It feels so good to God...and give Him the praise and thanksgiving that is obviously due him.  But it's strange how a) natural and...smooth this particular aspect of prayer has been lately, and b) difficult it is to pray for anything else right now.  Every time I make a conscious effort to pray either for myself (generally things like guidance, direction, discernment, strength, etc...) or others (any kind of intercession at all), it's just...hard.  My mind keeps drifting back to praise and thanksgiving for the way He's already been at work in those specific situations. 

So my questions are this: are there such things as "seasons" in one's prayer life?  I believe that certain people are called to pray for certain things - are some "assigned" or "gifted for" prayer of a certain "type"?  Am I crazy?  Sacreligious?  Why is it so hard for me to intercede for others right now? 

Thoughts, anyone?


Brian said...

Have you ever heard of the T.R.I.P. method of reading Scripture? Thanks, Regret, Intercession, and Purpose. What it has you do is pray for the things you are thankful for, in regards to a Scripture passage and such, and then reflect on one things that is not in tune with what you are thankful for.

It might spark some thoughts about some confessions you might have as well as intercessions for others who are also in need or struggling with something.

I don't think it's wrong to just pray for thanks now and again. Sometimes the only way to move on from a season is to allow that season to pass. If you're uncomfortable with that fact, then perhaps you should pray about how you need strength and guidance in praying for intercession, because that sounds to me like it's troubling your conscience.

There you have my thoughts. Are they comprehensive of what I think on prayer? Nope. Do I think there are prayer seasons? Haven't really thought it about, but it maks sense. Do you want me to pray for you on this subject?

Brian said...

You know, one thing I've found is that when I'm having a hard time finding the words to say for a prayer, on whatever subject that may be, I'll go to a written prayer and use it. If you feel compelled to pray for things other than thanks, try using an intercesory prayer from some source. Just an idea.

TheHawg said...

I would encourage you to remember that prayer comes from the Spirit. "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words." St. Paul, Romans 8:26. If you are being led to offer thanksgiving...stay with it. The Spirit wants you offering thanks. Don't worry. At the right time, things will change.

Anonymous said...

First of all, there are certainly times and seasons to prayer. That is part of the dialogue process of prayer.

But there are dry spells. Have you tried the Psalms? As Luther said, they are meditations on the 1st Commandment. Also, because they have such a wide variety of expressions, they can often jar us into seeing something different.

Is there any place that offers communal daily prayer? This is, admittedly a rarity, but it can be a great gift to hear others.

Elizabeth of Hungary said...

@TheHawg - Thanks for being so supportive. :)

@Anonymous - Good ideas. Thanks!

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