Welcome to the daily prayer guide for the month of September! Today is Monday, Sept. 26.
We are entering the final five days of our 30-day introduction to a committed prayer life, one where we truly hear from God. These last days will be designed to help you continue a patterned, deep prayer life on your own. By now, you probably have a good sense of what to do.
Today, I am going to give you a basic pattern based on what we’ve been doing and let you fill in the blanks. As we move through the week, I also will offer you additional resources you can use to enhance your ongoing prayer life. These largely will be resources that have inspired me through the years. At a minimum, I hope they will cause you to search online or in bookstores for what similarly might suit you.
First, lift up praise and thanksgiving to God. Declare God’s greatness, and then thank God for what he has recently done in your life. Remember, as part of your praise time, you might want to leaf through the psalms, seeking one that helps you praise God more effectively. Here are some suggestions: Psalms 18, 19, 21, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 40, 41, 66, 106, 113, 116, 135, 136, 138, 145, 149, 150.
Next, enter a time of sincere confession. And remember the Good News: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven! Go and sin no more.
You should now feel ready to lift petitions to God, praying for the dawning of the kingdom of God in this world and in your heart. For structure, you might want to start with global concerns, then move to praying for your nation, and then from there for your community (including work), your church, your family and yourself.
To close out the morning, spend some time in God’s word. You may choose to follow the daily lectionary readings, which help us to read Scripture thoroughly during a three-year cycle. (We are currently in Year C.) If so, you can check the daily readings by going here.
Or you instead might choose to start working your way through the Bible in about a year, reading three chapters a day or investing in a “year through the Bible” book or program.
Starting out, it’s also fine to simply think about Bible stories you’ve heard of but not explored thoroughly as an adult, and read them prayerfully and thoughtfully. If you don’t know where the story is, a quick search on some key words, including “Bible,” likely will give you the reference.
And don’t forget to have some silent time before launching into your day.
I think the use of the Lord’s Prayer in the middle of the day is something we can do until the day we die. Many prayer books will offer you additional midday prayers, too. I will repeat this one for you, written for this 30-day guide:
Lord, how am I doing? Has your will been done? Help me to walk with you through the remainder of the day. As I hear your voice at the center of my soul, let me move according to your will. Amen.
Again, some time in silence can be most helpful before resuming your day.
By now, you probably have a clear sense of how meditative prayer works for you. At a minimum, take time in the evening to still yourself, focus on your breathing, and clear your mind, listening for God.
Search the day’s events. Search for where your heart has been during the day. If necessary, once again confess what needs to be turned over to God.
There are few gifts greater than a peaceful, holy night of sleep, and I pray we all have this tonight and as many nights as possible.