This has been a season of reading for me, which results in being inspired, convicted, encouraged and a multitude of other feelings. The book I most recently finished is “Ordering Your Private World” by Gordon MacDonald. I had a hard time getting into the book, for some reason, but once I did, several chapters really hit me hard, and several chapters really inspired me. Here are the names of all the chapters in the book:
- The Sinkhole Syndrome
- The View from the Bridge
- Caught in a Golden Cage
- The Tragic Tale of a Successful Bum
- Living as a Called Person
- Has Anyone Seen My Time? I’ve Misplaced It!
- Recapturing My Time
- The Better Man Lost
- The Sadness of a Book Never Read
- Order in the Garden
- No Outer Props Necessary
- Everything Has to be Entered
- Seeing Through Heaven’s Eyes
- Rest Beyond Leisure
The main principles in the book are: to do things on purpose, make time for the important things (usually the things that are not demanding are the important things), read solid books, get to know people on a deeper level by asking key questions, cultivate your personal spiritual walk, be a thinker – reflect on deep things and meditate on Scripture, set aside a day of Sabbath rest (he says to have a day of your own choosing, but why not the day that our Creator gave to us?) and don’t be a driven person. The points I would like most to share are regarding what he has to say about prayer. He asks why we have such a hard time with prayer and suggests the following reasons:
1. Prayer, worship & intercession are unnatural acts. Although we were created to desire these things, sin has dulled these longings inside of us
“Until we believe that prayer is indeed a real and highly significant activity, that it does in fact reach beyond space and time to the God, Who is actually there, we will never acquire the habits of worhip and intercession.”
2. Worship and intercession are tacit admissions of weakness
“We can say that we are weak people, and we can say that we depend upon God for all of our sustenance; but the fact is that something deep within us is not willing to recongize it. There is something deep within that vigorously denies our dependence”
3. Prayer sometimes seems to be unrelated to actual result
“The fact is that my prayer life cannot be directly tied to the results I expect or demand…(but) are far more the business of aligning myself with God’s purposed than asking Him to align with mine”
He suggests choosing a daily time for prayer, a posture and then praying for specific things.
THE TIME: Set a time in your schedule where you will be alert and have uninterrupted time. Let NOTHING replace that time. Not sleep, not others, not work, NOTHING.
THE POSTURE: Writing in a journal, laying prostrate, pacing in a room – these are all postures to try at various times, and of course there are more…
I especially like the journal idea and have done a prayer journal myself, but will be using some of his ideas in the future to make it even better.
THE SPECIFICS: He suggests writing in it as a journal and not only as prayers. Talk about who you meet, accomplishments, things learned from reading books and Scripture, feelings, impressions you believe Elohim is placing on your heart, concerns about your own personal behavior, things you are seeing in the lives of your family members (especially encouraging things), spiritual insights. He stresses the importance of searching your heart as you write to see if the Spirit of the Lord wants to say anything to you.
This is a lot to implement all at once, but I am quite excited about the possibilities and looking forward to hearing from you all regarding your thoughts on the subject.