Are you ready to learn the most important secret to my personal spiritual life?
I have a deep sense- I believe that it comes from God- that our congregation is to focus on spiritual growth for 2012. This does not mean that we will neglect worship, or mission, or the administrative parts of the church. It just means that I am going to spend the rest of this year encouraging you to grow spiritually. In reality that's the most important part of my job anyway. I am supposed to convince pre-Christians to accept Jesus and join the faith, and to get those who are already committed to the way of Christ to grow in it.
There are a lot of ways that we can do this. One of the easiest is to join in our congregational resolution of reading the New Testament this year. By reading God's word it will become clearer how we are to live, behave, think and believe. But Scripture reading focuses on the intellectual part of spiritual growth. There is more to it. We also need to be praying.
So, here is the big moment. This is the secret to my spiritual life and growth. (I hope you are sitting down as you read this.) I pray in a spiral notebook. Revolutionary, huh?
Most days I write my prayers to God on one page in a regular spiral bound notebook. I know this is anti-climactic, but it makes a huge difference in my life, and I think it could in yours as well.
Writing my prayers forces me to slow down. I write more slowly than I talk, so when I am writing my prayers I often hear God speaking to me about an answer, a solution, or even something else altogether.
Writing my prayers forces me to be a little bit organized. I cannot just sit down with my notebook and make words magically appear on the page. I am more intentional about my prayers.
I limit myself to one page of prayer. I never want praying to seem a burden or an overwhelming obligation. I write one page each day (which gives me 15-20 minutes with God) and then I close my notebook.
I use a variety of types of prayer in my notebook. On Monday I might use a prayer list and pray for needs of friends and family members. On Tuesday maybe I will write a love letter to God. Wednesdays might be used for writing Scriptures that I have memorized.
I do not limit my prayers to my notebook. I pray way more than my 20 minutes of notebook time. I pray for needs that arise throughout the day. I pray for meals and for other things. When I close my notebook I am not done praying.
Give notebook praying a try. It is pretty inexpensive and can change your life.