Five ways to deepen your prayer life in 2014
In conjunction with the conference’s “Week of Prayer” resource, some MB leaders share strategies for cultivating a richer prayer life:
At 18, I started the practice of prayer walks. I seek out a location that is peaceful, allowing me to slow down physically and emotionally. In the places I’ve served, that location has become a prayer sanctuary for the duration of my ministry, and God has faithfully met with me as I walk and pray.
—Rob Dyck, pastor, Arnold Community Church, Abbotsford, B.C.
I’ve started using The Voice of Jesus by Gordon Smith to guide my mornings and have found it inspiring. Smith lists five prayer activities to walk through each day: thanksgiving, confession, meditation (reading and reflecting), guidance for this day and silence.
—Jerry Giesbrecht, pastor, Fraserview Church, Richmond, B.C.
The most prevalent call to prayer in my life has been The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle. This plan of prayer, Scripture and readings from tradition and hymnody invites me to a desire (not always acted upon, but always present) to steal away into the quietness and intimacy of God’s presence. It follows the church calendar with four daily calls to prayer and reflection, and the verses and refrains often impact the other hours of my day.
—Mary Reimer, pastor, FaithWorks, Winnipeg
How do we follow the command in 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances? Just breathe. On one of the darkest nights of my life, God met me. He didn’t take away my pain, he just told me: “Every time you breathe, I want you to say to yourself, ‘God loves me.’” Every time I felt the pain, I just stopped and focused on one single breath. And as I took that one breath, I told myself, “God loves me.” Praying is just like breathing. Sometimes we need to stop and focus on that one breath – the life we have in Jesus.
—J.P. Hayashida, director of operations, CCMBC
Heartbeat prayer: responding almost on the spot when a request is made is effective and efficient. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is about an attitude of prayer, not a formula or prescription. It brings joy to one’s heart to be asked to pray – it’s a privilege and perhaps the most challenging work God gives us.
—Bert Bell, pastor, Portage Avenue Church, Winnipeg