The training set that you have been using last week is a basic practice that we shall build upon. So instead of thinking in terms of moving onto something else, what we want to do is to build upon the basic 4 things we have been practicing for the season, and going deeper, exploring and noting the movements of the Spirit in our souls. For this week, we’ll add some definition to the 4 things. Basically, I’ve laid out the basic sets from the last week, and added something.
A word about mornings
Each of us has a different time when we do our devotions and spiritual exercises. Whether you do your devotions in the morning or evening, or any other time for that matter, the morning is a crucial time at the beginning of all that will take place that day. Many people lose the day because they lose control of the morning. For many, the mornings are not the tranquil sacred place where we receive grace for the day. For many, the mornings are more more like a messy, tension-filled rush – a battlefield in which we have been acted upon by failing alarm clocks, underestimations of time required to do the things we need to do, people around us who don’t conform to our expectations, random occurrences, wakings on the wrong side of the bed, accelerated movements of the hands of the clock, overhanging troubles from the day before, and spiritual heaviness that comes with the day we are about to embark on. Losing the morning to common human dynamics often means losing the day. If we do not take control of the morning, much will be lost, and we will often start the day on the wrong footing. The fears, apprehensions and sinking feelings we wake up with will take control of us during the day if we do not take control of them by the Spirit.
That is why the psalmist proclaims, “Lord in the morning will I direct my prayers, and will look up” (Psalm 5:3). Whether you do your devotions in the morning or at any other time of the day, it’s important to actively begin the day in active prayer. The trajectory of our prayer in the spirit should be towards being taken over by the Spirit of God -where there is a change of heart, a change of sentiment – where even our mood and state of mind is lifted, charged and infused with God. That’s where in prayer, we move from expressing our own sentiments to praying the prayers of God (see previous blog post).
- 1. Whatever you are feeling, pray in the spirit (in tongues, or praising Him repetitively, focusing on inviting Him to be Lord) in a relaxed way for 20 minutes using the Spirit Tool. Go for longer if you like. But do this everyday. That will be our staple. Pray towards the point where you feel that the distractions, concerns and depressing thoughts begin to fade, and God’s peace takes over. The Spirit Tool may help you identify some signs of His rising in you and your circumstances around you.
Praying unto being filled with the Spirit
If you have done this consistently last week, you will probably have experience a difference in your state of heart in the morning. There will have been some days in which you felt a change of heart, a strengthening, a liberty, and even a sense hope or faith rising. On some other days, you may have felt that the work of prayer had not been fully done.
As we enter more fully into our exercise in prayer, rather than just praying by the clock (20 mins), aim to pray till you feel the grip of God changing your heart. Keep that trajectory in mind as you now pray, not just for the 20 minutes, but towards that inner transformation of state of mind. It may take more than 20 minutes, but now you are going for something more – you’re going for God’s reign in your heart, mind and circumstances.
- 2. During the day, be sensitive to times when you feel “off”, then find a space to pray back into orientation towards God. Keep drawing your attention back to His peace. What we are doing is to find a position of living from the presence of God. We are learning to find our way back to our dwelling place (where Jesus says “where I am there you will be also”) from places where we don’t feel at peace. Use your notebook to record how it goes.
As you continue the practice of praying back to His presence, note the things that set you off track, and resolve ways to avoid these traps and tricks of the Enemy. Often, noting these susceptible places will cause us to avoid situations when “defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory!” (Chesterton)
- 3. Look out for opportunities for ministering to needs around you and for inviting people for Christmas. Pray in the spirit for them. Again, use your notebook to keep track of who you ministered to or interceded for.
Continue this practice of looking out for opportunities for ministering to needs. In this practice set, we are developing the innate ability to “see differently” – to discern the harvest. This takes practice. As Lee Strobel just tweeted, “Who can you invite to Christmas services at your church? Pray and then take a relational risk. People are open this season.”
- 4. As you feel led, begin praying for your land, expecting God to put certain people on your heart. Begin interceding for people that keep coming up and note them in your notebook.
It would now be time to move from praying for them to inviting them for Christmas!