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Week 1: How do I talk to God?


The Lords Prayer

This material has been adapted from “Practicing the Way” a ministry of John Mark Comer 



In Week 01, we explore the first stage of prayer: talking to God. When the disciples asked Jesus, “Teach us to pray,” in Luke 11, Jesus replied, “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name...’” He gave them a pre-made prayer, or what some call a liturgy, to pray to God.


Liturgies can look like praying the Lord’s Prayer, singing through the Psalms or using a prayer app on your phone. This way of praying can be incredibly helpful in various seasons of our lives: when we’re learning to pray, when we’re exhausted or sick when we’re travelling and find it hard to focus, or when we’re living with grief and doubt, searching for the right words to talk to God. “The prayers of the saints,” as some call them, can carry us through.


Q1. What aspects of prayer do you enjoy the most?


Q2. What aspects of prayer do you find difficult?


This week’s Practice will focus on the pragmatics of prayer. One of the single most important tasks of discipleship to Jesus is starting, habituating, and fine-tuning a daily prayer rhythm. Your daily prayer can be simple and brief. And as essential as sleeping, eating, and drinking. This is what will keep you praying in the days, months, and years to come.


Ronald Rolheiser writes:


“What clear, simple, and brief rituals provide is precisely prayer that depends upon something beyond our own energy. The rituals carry us, our tiredness, our lack of energy, our inattentiveness, our indifference, and even our occasional distaste. They keep us praying even when we are too tired to muster up our own energy.”


Q3. What rhythms or practices do you find helpful when it comes to prayer?


How to Pray Practicalities


Here are a few questions to hold in your mind as we enter this week’s Practice:


When will I pray? First thing in the morning? After my workout? night? On my lunch break? When the kids are napping? How often? Many people find first thing in the morning to be best, but not always. As a general rule, give God your best time of day, when you are most awake and aware.


Where will I pray? Most of us find it incredibly helpful to choose a dedicated space for prayer — a room in our home, a corner in our bedroom, a park bench near our house, or a literal prayer closet. This place can become a kind of meeting place with God, where you go to open to God. Not because God hears us better in a particular spot, but because we hear God better!


How should I pray? What posture is best for me? Sitting on a chair, a couch, or the floor? Kneeling? Standing? Walking? Lying down? Out loud or quiet? Does it help to begin with deep breathing first? How do I get my body to work with my heart’s desire for God, not against it?


How long should I pray? There’s no “right” answer (to this or any of the other questions), but as a general rule: long enough to become present to God. And that may take a bit longer than you expect. If you have a newborn child or some other extenuating circumstances that make 30 minutes too hard, that’s fine. Start where you are and take the next step forward in your journey.


In general, if we can’t pray for 15 minutes a day, are we too busy? Do we need to take a serious life audit of what we believe is most important to us. After all, we’re not trying to layer on more Christian busyness to our already over-maxed lives; we’re trying to slow down and simplify our lives around what we most deeply desire — God.


Tools to help

A) Create a daily prayer rhythm

Decide on a time and a place to pray, if possible, every day this week.


Decide on and commit to a time duration. Don’t overreach. Start where you are. If you don’t pray daily, aim for 10-15 minutes. If you pray for 10-15 minutes, consider upping it to half an hour. Just take the next step.


Create routines or rituals you actually enjoy to make your daily prayer habit something you look forward to all day long — light a candle, make yourself coffee or tea, sit by a window you love, go outside, savor the quiet, or put on worship music.


Those of you who are more kinesthetic may find it helpful to pray while walking, inside or in nature, or with something to keep your hands busy, like knitting or drawing.


Ultimately, work with your personality, not against it.



B) Pick out a pre-made prayer and talk to God

•     The Lord’s Prayer

•     The Psalms — See below for recommendations

•     Scripture — Find a passage that resonates with your heart and pray it back to God

•     Singing — Sing acapella, put on a worship album, or play an instrument

•     Liturgy — The Book of Common Prayer, The Divine Hours by Phyllis                         Tickle, or Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey

•     Apps — Lectio 365 from 24-7 Prayer, Pray as You Go from the Jesuits, or Hallow.


Prayer exercise: Praying the Lord’s Prayer


Watch: Listen to the short teaching video on the Lord's Prayer and try out the reflective prayer exercise below. This should take between 10 - 15 minutes to pray, but as with all prayer, the important thing is to let the Spirit lead and guide you. With that in mind, feel free to take it at your own pace.


Reflection questions from the prayer time:

Q4. What was this prayer exercise like for you?

Q5. Where did you feel delight? What was easy and gave you peace or joy?

Q6. Where did you feel resistance? What was difficult or confronting?

Q7. Where did you most experience God’s nearness? Where did you feel His presence and love?


Further resources


Praying the psalm can be a great way of establishing a deeper prayer life. We recommend you start by praying the Psalms. You can start in Psalm 1 and pray through the book. Or you can pray a psalm based on your emotional or spiritual state that day.


Here are some recommendations:

·           To begin your day with God: Psalm 5, 19, 20, 23, 25

·           When you are sad: Psalm 13, 22, 42, 77

·           When you are in distress: Psalm 57, 60, 86

·           When you are scared: Psalm 27

·           When you are hurt: Psalm 10

·           When you ache for more of God: Psalm 63, 84

·           When you want to repent: Psalm 51

·           When you are grateful: Psalm 9, 103

·           To worship: Psalm8,148-150


The Lord’s Prayer - The Hexagon

Father: Our Father in heaven Holy is your name.

Think about the idea of God as your loving Parent, one who has good and kind intentions toward you. If you like, imagine him embracing you, or smiling at you. Picture his face. Make eye contact with him. Think about the idea that God is all around you. Like oxygen, he surrounds and soaks your body, his Spirit abiding within you like oxygen. As you breathe, imagine that each breath invites God deeper into you, remembering that God loves living here, in you.

Sit with your Father in joyful, grateful worship. You might want to sit in silence for a few moments. Or sing a chorus. Or rattle off a list of things you’re grateful for. Or praise God with specific things you love about him. You may just want to imagine your whole being caught up into his, and what it feels like to be mingled with the God of love.

King: Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

As we experience God’s heart, allow it to inspire prayer for your city/church/community/life. Pray from this place of parental love. Allow the Spirit to lead you towards people, places, and situations that he longs to deliver, heal, and provide for. This type of prayer is referred to as intercession.

If you don’t have a sense of God’s leading, that’s okay, think of specific things you’re aware of in your life and others to pray for.

Provider: Give us each day our daily bread


Now spend some time asking God for things you need. Remembering that God is your Father, bring to him the provision, healing, and understanding you need, asking him to intervene. Your daily bread may be physical, relational, financial, emotional, or spiritual. Think of all the places you need him, inviting him to arrive there.


Forgiver: Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors

Knowing that God sees you and longs to heal every part of you, spend a few minutes now in quiet asking God for forgiveness in specific areas in your life. You can do that by speaking out loud the specific areas of sin and shame in your life, or by asking the Spirit to search your heart and reveal them to you.

Once you’re done, ask the same for those who have sinned against you, asking the Spirit to help you to continue to forgive them, releasing them to God.

Protector: And lead us not into temptation

Ask for God’s strength and resolve to resist temptation in the three enemies of your soul: the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.

The World: its ideologies, consumerism and materialism, promiscuity, escapism, addiction, and greed. The Flesh: its pride, self-gratification, lust, and prejudice. The Devil: his lies, shaming, hatred, violence, and accusing.

Deliverer: but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen

Ask for the Spirit to save you from giving into the temptation of all three, even from what you’re unable to see in your life. Ask for God’s positive blessings in these spaces, inviting his goodness to lead the way and make itself evident in your every moment.


Take a moment to verbally declare the reality of this in your own language. Attributing with love all glory to God in your body, your life, and the world around you. Finish with a prayer of thankfulness and gratitude for God’s presence with you during this time.


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