3o (Thirty) Days of Prayer

This 30 Days of Prayer cycle was developed for St. James, Paso Robles, for the purpose of assisting the parish to be on its knees for their search process during the beginning of the Interim year, and to refocus on knowing and hearing from Jesus Christ.  It was printed up on legal size paper, with 6 to 8 panels, folded, so that sections could be handed out and mailed out each week during the 30 days.

 

30 Days of Prayer, Listening to Jesus’ Voice
St. James the Apostle Church

Paso Robles, CA, 2014

30 Days of Prayer

To focus on hearing the Voice of Jesus
In preparation for the selection of a new Rector


Days 1 thru 16

Begun February 3, 2014
The day after the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ in the Temple

Come, Follow Me
30 days of prayer and “setting-aside” to focus on what it means to know and hear from the Son of God

Taking time to pray, read, reflect, consider and re-sensitize ourselves to hear what the voice of Jesus sounds like, is an important first step in a season of discernment (knowing what is correct and what is not correct) such as when a parish is considering who they are in Christ, and who their next spiritual and community leader is going to be.

It is difficult enough to “discern” a job, a marriage, even just a simple savings account being opened. If you are asking the question, “God, whom do you want us to see, and how do you think we should see ourselves?”, you are asking extremely appropriate Christian questions. But not being “tuned up”, or “in practice”, or even not ever having to have asked these questions before at all, limits our ability to answer with confidence, or with humility.

Jesus says, “Seek my face”, and “Seek first the kingdom of God,” and “where your treasure is there also will be your heart.” He also said, “My sheep know my voice.” We do not want to be like the place where Jesus went – his own home town – and found that he could not do much because there was little faith there.
And we just need to remember and retune ourselves to be Jesus’ sheep and to recognize His voice when he speaks. Believe me, there are a lot of voices out there all claiming to be your best friend. The only one who can claim to be that without fault and without fail, is Jesus.

I expect a cumulative effect on these 30 days of prayer. In other words, don’t give up on the value of daily prayer because the first 3 or 4 days haven’t been what you hoped for. You just need to make a commitment right now to pray every day. Use these daily reflections as a tool to count yourselves as faithful to that commitment to God. And you are making a commitment of faithfulness to this whole parish, as well.

Then see what you see, and hear what you hear.
The most effective method of gaining this objective is a combination of daily exercises in prayer and reflection, along with meeting weekly with a small group of like-minded folks. You don’t have time to take like a normal small group startup with trust exercises; you will just need to jump right in. You might be able to get 3 or 4 meetings into the 30 days. You’ll never regret it.

I do not claim to have everything in control when it comes to hearing from God. But I do know the great spiritual benefit and, yes, success, of setting aside myself to speaking to God, getting to know God better, and practicing hearing from God. Sometimes I have complained to God that He has given me something to hear and some answer to whatever it might be at the end of the time I have set aside, and not half-way through! But then God is jealous for our time and attention. Perhaps he just doesn’t want us to go away from him half-way through the time we said we’d meet with him!

In any case, our focus is on hearing from God for ourselves, and then the larger context of preparing us to hear from him – and especially our parish leadership in search and vestry – in regards to a new rector.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Prepared by
The Rev. Robert G Eaton, Interim Pastor
With resources from the breadth of the Church

February 3 (or the first day you actually begin), Day 1
Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 1 thing about him
Give thanks to God: 1 person, 1 thing

– Scripture verse to mull over during the day

Acts 3:1
(opening your bible to read is part of the 30 days plan)

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider and keep

In God’s name, I beseech you, let prayer nourish your soul as your meals nourish your body.
Let your fixed seasons of prayer
keep you in God’s presence through the day,
and His presence frequently remembered….
an ever-fresh spring of prayer. E.M.Bounds

Questions for reflection and journaling

Do you tend to look at prayer in terms of answers
rather than as an ongoing relationship with your closest friend?
What are the three highest priority things that you can think of which produce a friend who would be considered your closest?
Now take those three things and consider how you might apply them to your desire to have a “closest relationship” with Jesus Christ.
Put those into a prayer, and write it down here, and pray it every day for 30 days.
You can always edit and adapt your prayer as you go along. Just remember to write down the new prayer, and then start praying it for the remainder of the 30 days, or until you edit again.

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 1 person
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 1 for you
Pray your written prayer from above if you haven’t done so already.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer

February 4, or Day 2 –

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 1 thing about him
Give thanks to God: 2 persons, 1 thing

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

Psalm 17:15
(opening your bible to read is part of the 30 days plan)

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

We can never expect to grow in the likeness of our Lord unless we follow His example
and give more time to communion with the Father. E.M.Bounds

Questions for reflection and journaling

If you haven’t got that prayer written down from Day 1 plan, do it now, and pray it every day.

“Prayer is the most intimate moment of being enfolded into the Spirit of Jesus so that we are one with Him in thought and mind. It’s the moment when, as British preacher Oswald Chambers commented, we move from the plane of living by common sense to living on the supernatural level.”
(John DeVries)

Think of a moment when you were utterly overwhelmed and excited about the presence of God. Write it down now.
Then tell someone today about your experience.

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 1 person
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 1 for you
Pray your written prayer from above if you haven’t done so already.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer

February 5, or Day 3 –

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 2 things about him
Give thanks to God: 1 person, 2 things

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Song of Solomon 2:10

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

It is blessed to know of a place
where we can lay our tired head and heart :
our heavenly Father’s arms,
and say to Him, “I can do no more. And I have nothing to tell you. May I lie here a while and rest? Everything will soon be well again
if I can only rest in Your arms a while.”
O. Hallesby

Questions for reflection and journaling

Bishop Austin Pardue wrote in his book “Prayer Works” this simple paragraph, “Acknowledge the presence of God. Repeat (this verse several times today): ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ The very fact that you are breathing means that His life is in you. Accept it and sit still for as long as you can without becoming jumpy. It isn’t easy, but try it. Don’t time yourself by a watch or a clock – if you begin to sense God’s presence, you may be able to be quiet for a whole minute or even for a half-hour, but forget time and be still with God.”

Be optimistic, and look for a half hour in your day today when you can try Bishop Pardue’s prayer exercise. No matter how long it lasts, stop there and make sure you write in the experience here or in a journal.

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 2 persons
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 1 for you, 1 for other
Pray your written prayer if you haven’t done so already.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer

February 6, or Day 4 –

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 2 things about him
Give thanks to God: 1 person, 2 things

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Romans 8:14

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

The great lesson for every prayer is –
see to it, first of all, that you commit yourself
to the leading of the Holy Spirit,
and with entire dependence on Him,
Give Him the first place. For through Him your prayer will have a value you cannot imagine, and through Him also you will learn to speak out your desires In the name of Christ. A. Murray

Questions for reflection and journaling

“There is something about keeping Jesus divine that keeps him distant, packaged, predictable. But don’t do it. For heaven’s sake, don’t. Let him be as human as he intended to be. Let him into the mire and muck of our (your) world. For only if we let him in can he pull us out.” Max Lucado

Does it make you uncomfortable to think of Jesus in fully human terms? Why?
If you keep in mind both Jesus’ divinity and humanity, how does that affect your ability to handle trials? How does it help you to handle temptations? How does it affect your prayers?

Don’t forget to journal.

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 1 person
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 1 for you, 2 for other
Pray your written prayer if you haven’t done so already.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer

February 7, or Day 5 –

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 2 things about him
Give thanks to God: 2 persons, 2 things

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Proverbs 3:5-6

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

Fortunately, God deals with us where we are. There is an amusing story of a motorist who leaned out of his car and asked a yokel the way to York.
The yokel replied, “Well, sir, if I were going to York, I shouldn’t start from here.”
Fortunately, God can start with us where we are,
and he has ways of showing us the path of his will.
(To that end) I am quite sure that the greatest help available in discering the will of God is reached
when we deepen our friendship with him.
L. Weatherhead

Questions for reflection and journaling

It is very significant that Christ began the final phase of His atoning work on His knees, in prayer, in the garden. This was no easy effort, and we should never think of prayer as “easy.”
What examples come to mind of the consequences of failing to pray first and simply plunging into a task with human plans and efforts. Are the consequences of this pattern of activitiy always bad? Write down your answers.
What major tasks are ahead of you that might also spend some time “in the garden” on your knees in prayer to God the Father?
Try praying them out.

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 1 person
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 2 for you, 2 for other
Ask Jesus to show you how to bless a close family member or friend. Listen today for the answer.
Pray your written prayer from above if you haven’t done so already. Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

February 8, or Day 6 –

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 3 things about him
Give thanks to God: 2 persons, 3 things

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Revelation 3:20

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

It is not our prayer which draws Jesus into our hearts. Nor is it our prayer which moves Jesus to come in to us. All he needs is access.
He enters in of his own accord, because he desires to come in. And he enters in wherever he is not denied admittance. O. Hallesby

Questions for reflection and journaling

In order to hear from Jesus, “There must be a desire. Whether this arises from conscious and already existent need,or whether it is evoked by exposure to some kind of vital Christian personality or work or company, until a person is eager for what we want him to have, we cannot get him to take it.”
How would you describe your “desire” to hear Jesus speaking to you?
Would you be afraid of what you might hear him say to you? If that is the case, think of 1 or 2 things you might be fearful of hearing God talk to you about, and make your confession to God immediately. You don’t have to journal these things if you choose not to – but do make some reference to that moment of confession. Don’t forget to receive God’s absolution by faith.

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 2 persons
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 2 for you, 2 for others
Thank Jesus for answering your prayer yesterday regarding showing you how to bless. If you don’t think you received an answer, ask again, and then be quiet immediately for 15 seconds and listen. Pray the Lord’s prayer.

February 9 (or the seventh day of prayer), Day 7

Today is Sunday

1) Attend Parish Worship;
hopefully you will be able to attend the
Parish Annual Meeting, as well.

2) Take time apart for re-reading the lessons
Isaiah 58: 1-12
First Corinthians 2:1-16
Matthew 5:13-20

3) Choose one verse from each lesson that grabbed your attention.
Pick one of those three and try to memorize it.

4) Consider the implications of the Parish Annual Meeting (not simply the data, but
more the idea of the Parish meeting together) in light of the Sunday Readings. If there are others in your household, invite them to join you in that consideration together, for about 15 minutes.

5) End your “consideration” time with prayer
(together, if others joined you, and they are willing) :
Appreciate God for 1 thing about him (each)
Give thanks to God: 1 person, 1 thing in your life

6) Before going to bed, tell Jesus 1 thing you
especially are grateful for that he has done.
Then ask Jesus to tell you 1 thing he appreciates about you. Again, don’t spend too much time “listening hard.” No more than 1 or 2 minutes. But when the answer does come, in whatever way he comes to you, be sure to write it down.

Finally, in light of our parish work, say:
Lord, bless us and keep us,
Lord, make your face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us;
Lord lift up your countenance upon us; and give us your peace. Numbers 6:24-26

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Day 8 (February 10)-

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 3 things about him
Give thanks to God: 2 persons, 2 things

Today, except for the single scripture verse and Prayer Master quote will be a day of no questions or introspection or challenges.

It is catch up day for your writing things down (or, “journaling”), especially writing down how Jesus may have already been speaking to you in the questions prompted for you to ask on Day 5 and Day 7 (Feb 7th and 9th).
If you’ve seen any answers to your prayers since Day 1, write those things down, too.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Psalm 88:9
(opening your bible to read is part of the 30 days plan)

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“The first and decisive battle in connection with prayer is the conflict which arises when we are to make arrangements to be alone with God every day. If the battle is lost for any length of time at this point, the enemy has already won the first skirmish.” O. Hallesby

End your Daily Prayer

As you feel led to do so, along with the Lord’s Prayer.

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Prayer Day 9 (February 13) –
[yes, we’re off schedule a couple of days!]

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 2 things about him
Give thanks to God: 1 person, 2 things
Share with God 1 thing you need to gain control over in your life. Thank him for his help.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Luke 2:29-30
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

The battle of prayer is against two things in the earthlies: wandering thoughts, and lack of intimacy with God’s character as revealed in His word.
Neither can be cured at once,
but they can be cured by discipline.”
Oswald Chambers

Questions for reflection and journaling

Dealing with wandering thoughts is eventually something of an art form! What you don’t want to do is to start blasting yourself for even HAVING any unwanted thoughts. Such thoughts are normal parts of the prayer landscape. Simply recognize the thought, and like picking up a crumb from the kitchen counter and dropping it into the sink, remove it. ‘Thank you, but no thanks.’ Day-dreaming is another distraction. Again, once you realize you’re doing it, simply stop, refocus yourself, and move on. Sometimes such things are supposed to be paid attention to, but you need to get disciplined first hearing the Shepherd’s voice and when he is speaking in what manner before attempting such discernment. Besides, you can never lose the Lord.
Practice.

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 2 persons
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 1 for you, 1 for other
Invite Jesus to cover your sleep.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer

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Prayer Day 10 (February 14) –

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 3 things about him
Give thanks to God: 2 persons, 2 things
Bring to God your desire to be a blessing to the people in your life who look to you for love.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
First John 4:7

A Prayer quote from an Anglican monk/priest

“Adoration is itself the highest kind of resolution and the purest form of intercessory prayer, because true worship is the homage of the will and the union of the stream of our love with the great love that goes forth from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, bringing the world’s needs, fragrant with the incense of His intercessions, before the Divine Compassion of the blessed Trinity.”
‘Father Andrew’

Thoughts and Questions for reflection and journaling

“The Incarnation did not alter anything, it only revealed the love of God. One night, so to speak, a heavenly light was switched on to the earth and men saw a baby Face, and that was God.”
Father Andrew, SDC (Henry Ernest Hardy)

Your love for God, in the same way God loves you, is a matter of the whole being. In what ways do you show God, or give God, or present God your love : with your whole heart (what ever “heart” means to you) , and soul, and mind, and strength?
There’s always room for improvement: think of one way to increase your love for God in each of these areas.

Journal.

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 1 person
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 1 for you, 2 for other
Pray your written prayer from last week.
Pray the Lord’s Prayer

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Prayer Day 11 (February 15) –

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 2 things about him
Give thanks to God: 2 persons, 2 things

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Luke 11:2,3

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“It is the will of our heavenly Father that we should come to Him freely and confidently and make known our desires to Him, just as we would have our children come freely and of their own accord and speak to us about the things they would like to have.” O. Hallesby

Questions for reflection and journaling

One place where the Church has consistently stated was a moment of God’s love offered and received was at the Altar Rail as Holy Communion is being administered. It is, by faith, a powerful place or moment of the Love of God in the remembrance, and the Divine Presence of Jesus Christ. That very thought demands reflection on our part. What am I thinking when I approach the Sacrament? What is my prayer? What do I think is taking place? Are my emotions involved, as well as my mind and body, and whole soul? And then what is my response after receiving? What is my prayer?
‘Father Andrew’ wrote this prayer, among others, as a Communion devotional. Make use of it, if you wish, tomorrow at church as you “take Communion.”

“O Lord, my God and Father, I desire to give myself to thee wholly.
As long as one particle of my being stays with me apart from the offering
I wish to offer Thee, I have the principle of death in me.
With my whole soul I long to be a branch of the True Vine,
that my little cluster of fruit may be taken, consecrated and offered.
Let me not be a branch cut off, living in the poor power of its own separate life.”

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 1 person
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 2 for you, 2 for other
Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

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Prayer Day 12 (February 16) –

Today is Sunday

1) Attend Parish Worship;

2) Take time apart for re-reading the lessons
Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 119:1-8
1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Matthew 5:21-37

3) Choose one verse from each lesson that grabbed your attention.
Pick one of those three and try to memorize it.

4) Consider the implications of the Passing of the Peace in light of the Sunday Readings. If there are others in your household, invite them to join you in that consideration together, for about 15 minutes.

5) End your “consideration” time with prayer
(together, if others joined you, and they are willing) :
Appreciate God for 1 thing about him (each)
Give thanks to God: 1 person, 1 thing in your life

6) Before going to bed, tell Jesus 1 thing you
especially are grateful for that he has done this past week.
Then ask Jesus to tell you 1 thing he appreciates about you as he sees you today. Again, don’t spend too much time “listening hard.” No more than 1 or 2 minutes. But when the answer does come, in whatever way he comes to you, be sure to write it down.

Finally, in light of our parish work for this year of transition, say:
Lord, bless us and keep us,
Lord, make your face to shine upon us,
and be gracious unto us;
Lord lift up your countenance upon us;
and give us your peace. Numbers 6:24-26

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Prayer Day 13 (February 17) –

Today, after prayers of your choosing and design (and the same at the end of the day) read this statement from, once again, Father Andrew. It is a prayer, so read it as such from you to Jesus. Three times would be good.

Father Andrew – Union with Christ

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Prayer Day 14 (February 18)

Appreciate God for 2 things about him
Give thanks to God: 1 person, 2 things
Share with God 1 thing you need to gain control over in your life. Thank him for his help.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Matthew 9:36

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“The Creator neither wills to be nor can be other than good, whether in being or in will: for will and power are His to be, His essence; whereas in man will and power are separable and separate from being. If, however, man conforms with the will of God, and wills what God does, he exhibits in himself the Image of God; and if he perseveres in this even to the end, he merits, by the operation of the Divine compassion, to be close joined through eternity to his Creator’s will, and never again to be capable of detachment from it any more for ever.”
Anselm of Canterbury

Questions for reflection and journaling

When you think of the Good Things that Jesus Christ has done FOR you, what comes to mind? 2 or 3 things? When you consider Good Things that Jesus’ Spirit has done THROUGH you, what first 3 or 4 things come to mind?
When you think of the Good Things that Jesus Christ has done IN you, what couple of things come to mind?
Again, journaling these things is a very good thing to do for reference, and to assist even your thinking and reflection.

End your Daily Prayer

Ask Jesus to heal: 2 persons
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 2 for you, 2 for others
Thank Jesus for answering any of your prayers so far. If you don’t think you received an answer, ask Jesus if there is anything you need to hear from him, and then be quiet immediately for 15 seconds and listen.
Pray the Lord’s prayer.

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Prayer Day 15 (February 19) –

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 2 things about him
Give thanks to God: For every person in your birth family, and your immediate family

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Mark 4:11

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider
“Prayer is not logical, it is a mysterious moral working of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus.”
O. Chambers

Questions for reflection and journaling
One of the areas of difficulty in my own spiritual life has been the action of blessing. I would always think Israel (Jacob) giving his final blessing – not just to a couple of kids, but to 12! One thing that helped me was the reality of “Emmanuel”, and how “ordinary” (in an extraordinary kind of way) it is. That is, God is present with us. Simple.
We see it as Jesus met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and they didn’t know anything yet than his death! He broke bread with them, and their eyes were opened. And they were blessed to see Him.
In a meditation given, Evelyn Underhill said, “Lord! Open our eyes that we may behold Thee! Open our ears that they may recognize Thy voice! Not in some special religious experience, some grat moment or wonderful service or perfext setting, but just as we go along the common road. Teach us to recognize and welcome You in ordinary, homely events, for it is there that we shall surely find You, too.
Emmanuel – God with us! I am with Thee, saith the Lord. Help me to remember that , up hill and down dale, in fog and rain and storm.
“God is present with you”, is an incredible blessing. Consider how to say that as a statement of reality and faith to someone else. There is a simple blessing. Write it down before you say it.

End your Daily Prayer
Ask Jesus to heal: 1 person
Ask Jesus to meet a need: 2 for you, 2 for other
Ask Jesus again to show you how to bless a close family member or friend. Listen for the answer, and offer the blessing. Write a note to that person with the same sentiment. Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

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Prayer Day 16 (February 20) –

Begin your daily prayer
Appreciate God for 3 things about him
Give thanks to God: 2 persons, 3 things
Thank Jesus for His Grace in the areas of your life where you don’t have any idea where he is working in you.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day
Song of Solomon 5:2

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider
“It is clear that success in prayer does not depend upon the assurance of the one who prays, nor upon his boldness, nor any such thing, but upon this one thing, that he opens his heart to Jesus.”
O. Hallesby

Questions for reflection and journaling
To consider “There must be a desire”, sometimes it is the motivation that comes from someone else.
Bishop Pardue tells this story, “Igor Sikorsky, a leading layman in the Russian Orthodox Church of America, is the great genius of aeronautical design who built the worlds’ first multiple-motored airplane, the first transatlantic clipper planes, and the first successful helicopter. He is a man who frequents the Presence [of God] and has written a book of meditations on the Lord’s Prayer. He says that he did not create his aviation designs any more than Columbus created America; that all he ever did was to discover them and use them. So, he discovered principles that God had already created – he discovered them in his quiet companionship with God through Jesus Christ.”
Take some time to consider Jesus as your work companion, or your study companion, or your life goals companion. What does that relationship look like for you? Possible? Already know it? How?

End your Daily Prayer

Ask Jesus to meet a need: 2 for you, 2 for others
Ask Jesus to show you 1 thing you don’t know you don’t know how to pray for (yes, each word in that sentence is there on purpose, that is, what you don’t know you don’t know). This is more difficult, but immediately consider whatever comes to light first. If it doesn’t make sense, don’t set it aside. Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify. Give yourself a minute at most. Then move on.
And Pray the Lord’s prayer.

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Prayer Day 17  (February 21) –

Begin your daily prayer

Open the Psalms (use your Prayer Book or Bible; start at Ps 1, or just open them up anywhere) and Find one statement of praise or affirmation of God.  Say it out loud; then find one more in a different Psalm, and do the same.

Use those as you begin

the next 3 days of your prayers.

Give thanks for someone not mentioned before. Make an oblation of one part of your life.

(see pg 857 of the Prayer Book for def.)

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

Psalm 39:12

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“When a man is at his wits’ end it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way he can get in touch with Reality.”    O. Chambers

Questions for reflection and journaling

Half-way through 30 Days is like half-way through a week’s work, or a week-long conference.  This is the time of the “hill of incline”; mid-week is often called “hump day”, as in going over a hill physically, emotionally, mentally, and now spiritually.  The internal struggle with the hope of accomplishing our goal of hearing the voice of Jesus Easily is full on.  You may not feel like you’re getting anywhere or accomplishing anything.  In other settings the daily schedule can simply carry you through the mid-week slump.  In this personal desire to do 30 days of prayer, however, it is a matter of the will.  Tough.  So, to assist slightly, I’ve asked you to discover statements of praise already prepared, rather than relying upon your own energy.

It is important here to consider the realization of human frailty, and yet God’s faithfulness. For the next few days, we’ll make use of Anselm of Canterbury to help with that realization. In the meantime, please remember God has not abandoned you.  And he never will.

Today, read 3 times out loud, and then one time to yourself (slowly), Luke 11:9-13.

Write down a few things you hear about God’s faithfulness and our struggles.

If you’d like to go a little deeper (and it will take a little time), consider your earthly father.  Get a picture or impression of him in your head.

It is human nature to unwittingly conclude that our heavenly Father, God, has the same nature and characteristics or our earthly father.

How far apart or how close are those images and understandings in your life?

How much has this imaging limited your relationship with God?

Don’t leave it there, though!  Either Give Thanks!, or Pray for Healing! Or a combination of both.

End your Daily Prayer

Use this prayer, or something like it of your own making:

“God, your presence and care for me is more than I can comprehend.  Forgive me for creating you in my or someone else’s image.  Give me strength to keep my eyes on you.  Please never let me limit who you are by putting my images of fear, or need, or woundedness on your Reality.  Amen.”

 Give thanks for God’s faithfulness.

Ask Jesus to bring healing to you as you sleep.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

 

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Prayer Day 18  (February 22) –

Begin your daily prayer

Say as prayer your Psalm verses from yesterday. Give thanks to God for a former prayer that was already answered

Bring to God your desire to be the light of Christ

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

Luke 18:1

A Prayer quote

“Of all the duties enjoined by Christianity none is more essential

and yet more neglected than prayer.”            Fènelon

Thoughts for reflection and journaling

With Anselm of Canterbury, consider the dwelling place of God, the positive attributes of God, and our human limitations.

“Truly, O Lord, this is the unapproachable light in which thou dwellest; for truly there is nothing else which can penetrate this light, that it may see thee there.  Truly, I see it not, because it is too bright for me.  And yet, whatsoever I see, I see through it, as the weak eye sees what it sees through the light of the sun, which in the sun itself it cannot look upon.  My understanding cannot reach that light, for it shines too bright.  It does not comprehend it, not does the eye of my soul endure to gaze upon it long.  It is dazzled by the brightness, it is overcome by the greatness, it is overwhelmed by the infinity, it is dazed by the largeness, of the light.    O supreme and unapproachable light!  O whole and blessed truth, how far art thou from me, who am so near to thee!  How far removed art thou from my vision, though I am so near to thine!  Everywhere thou art wholly present, and I see thee not.  In thee I move, and in thee I have my being;  and I cannot come to thee.  Thou are within me, and about me, and I feel thee not.”

 Journal.

 End your Daily Prayer

Ask the Holy Spirit to bring Jesus’ voice to you in a new way today.

Ask Jesus to meet a need:  1 for you, for 2 others.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer

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Prayer Day 19  (February 23) –

Today is Sunday

1)       Attend Parish Worship;

2)       Take time apart for reading or  re-reading the lessons

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

Psalm 119:33-40

1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23

Matthew 5:38-48

 3)       Choose one verse from each lesson that grabbed your attention.

Pick one of those three and try to memorize it.

4)       Consider the implications of the Passing of the Peace in light of the Sunday Readings.   If there are others in your household, invite them to join you in that consideration together, for about 15 minutes.

5)       End your “consideration” time with prayer

(together, if others joined you, and they are willing) :

Appreciate God for 1 thing about Him. (each)

Give thanks to God: 1 person, 1 thing in your life

Pray a blessing upon a person who is your “enemy.”

6)       Before going to bed, tell Jesus 1 thing you

especially are grateful for that he has done this past week.

Then ask Jesus to tell you 1 thing he’s given to you through his Spirit.  Again, don’t spend too much time “listening hard.”  No more than 1 or 2 minutes.  But when the answer does come, in whatever way he comes to you, be sure to write it down.

 Finally, in light of our parish work for this year of transition, say:

Lord, bless us and keep us,

Lord, make your face to shine upon us,

and be gracious unto us;

Lord lift up your countenance upon us;

and give us your peace.              Numbers 6:24-26

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Prayer Day 20   (February 24) –

Begin your daily prayer

Say as prayer your Psalm verses from Day 17.

 Give thanks to God for the first prayer you can remember that was answered.

Bring to God the first person you recognized was shining as the light of Christ

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

John 8:28

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“We have not the remotest conception of what is done by our prayers, nor have we the right to try and examine and understand it;  all we know is that Jesus Christ laid all stress on prayer.”                                  O.  Chambers

Questions for reflection and journaling

With Anselm of Canterbury, continue to consider the mid-way struggle of presence with God.  Hear Anselm proclaim in his own unique way the attributes of God.

“Still thou art hidden, O Lord, from my soul in thy light and thy blessedness;  and therefore my soul still walks in its darkness and wretchedness.  For it looks, and does not see thy beauty.  It hearkens, and dose not hear thy harmony.  It smells, and does not perceive thy fragrance.  It tastes, and does not recognise thy sweetness.   It touches, and does not feel thy pleasantness.  For thou hast these attributes in thyself, Lord God, after thine ineffable manner, who hast given them to objects created by thee, after their sensible manner;  but the sinful senses of my soul have grown rigid and dull, and have been obstructed by their long listlessness.”

In your own words what does Anselm suggest is the struggle?   Make a list of the attributes of God.

End your Daily Prayer

Again, ask the Holy Spirit to bring Jesus’ voice to you in a new way today.

How did that go yesterday?

Ask Jesus to meet a need:  2 for you, 2 for other

Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prayer Day 21   (February 25) –

Begin your daily prayer

Say as prayer your Psalm verses from Day 17.

Or search for a couple of new ones.

 Give thanks to God for whatever comes to mind first.   Ask God to bring blessing to your family, whomever they might be. 

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

Matthew 26:39 

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“Jesus was able to meet the enemy full of courage, and in the power of God,  gave Himself over to the death of the cross.   He had prayed.”                     Andrew Murray 

Questions for reflection and journaling

And now, with Anselm, we see victory:

     “And now, my soul, arouse and lift up all they understanding, and conceive, so far as thou canst, of what character and how great is that good.

     “I pray, O God, to know thee, to love thee, that I may rejoice in thee.  And if I cannot attain to full joy in this life, may I at least advance from day to day, until that joy shall come to the full.  Let the knowledge of thee advance in me here, and there be made full.  Let the love of thee increase, and there let it be full, that here my joy may be great in hope, and there full in truth.  Lord, through thy Son thou dost command, nay, thou dost counsel us to ask;  and thou dost promise that we shall receive, that our joy may be full.  [So] I ask, O Lord, as thou dost counsel through our wonderful Counsellor.  I will receive what thou dost promise by virtue of thy truth, that my joy may be full.  Faithful God, I ask.  I will receive, that my joy may be full.  Meanwhile, let my mind meditate upon it;  let my tongue speak of it.  Let my heart love it; let my mouth talk of it.  Let my soul hunger for it ; let my flesh thirst for it;  let my whole being desire it, until I enter into thy joy, O Lord , who art the Three and the One God, blessed for ever and ever.  Amen.”

End your Daily Prayer

If you didn’t already, pray Anslem’s prayer.

Give yourself and all your life to Christ.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

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 Prayer Day 22  (February 26)

Begin your daily prayer

Appreciate God for 3 of his attributes

Give thanks to God for your awareness of him in your life.

Thank him for his life-giving help.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

1 Kings 19:12

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider 

“You say, ‘But He has not answered.’  He has, He is so near to you that His silence is the answer.  His silence is big with terrific meaning that you cannot understand yet, but presently you will.”

O. Chambers

Questions for reflection and journaling

In the book of meditations, “Jesus Calling”, Sarah Young presents words from scripture with the voice of Jesus to the reader.  My wife, Angela, has chosen this book for her own devotions this year.  As you read, consider the voice of Jesus.

“I have promised to meet all your needs according to My glorious riches.  Your deepest, most constant need is for My Peace.  I have planted Peace in the garden of your heart, where I live, but there are weeds growing there too:  pride, worry, selfishness, unbelief.  I am the Gardener, and I am working to rid your heart of those weeds.  I do My work in various ways.  When you sit quietly with Me, I shine the Light of My Presence directly into your heart.  In this heavenly Light, Peace grows abundantly and weeds shrivel up.  I also send trials into your life.  When you trust Me in the midst of trouble,  Peace flourishes and weeds die away.  Thank Me for troublesome situations; the Peace they can produce far outweighs the trials you endure.”

Allow this word to saturate your soul and spirit.  Again, journaling  is a very good thing to do for reference, and to assist even your thinking and reflection.

End your Daily Prayer

Ask Jesus to heal: 2 persons

Ask Jesus to meet a need:  2 for you, 2 for others

Pray the Lord’s prayer.

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prayer Day 23  (February 27) –

Begin your daily prayer

Appreciate God for 3 of his attributes

Give thanks to God for each time His love and presence has been made known in St James Church over its many years.

Offer your day today to God’s ways.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

Acts 1:8

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“The great need of the Church in this and all ages is men of such commanding faith, of such unsullied holiness, of such marked spiritual vigor and consuming zeal, that they will work spiritual revolutions through their mighty praying.”

    E.M.Bounds

Questions for reflection and journaling 

Again, from  “Jesus Calling”, Sarah Young presents Jesus speaking to you:

Save your best striving for seeking My face.  I am constantly communicating with you.  To find Me and hear My voice, you must seek Me above all else.  Anything that you desire more than Me becomes an idol.  When you are determined to get your own way, you blot Me out of your consciousness.  Instead of single-mindedly pursuing some goal, talk with Me about it.  Let the Light of My Presence shine on this pursuit so that you can see it from My perspective.  If the goal fits into My plans for you, I will help you reach it.  It if is contrary to My will for you, I will gradually change the desire of  your heart.  Seek Me First and foremost; then the rest of your life will fall into  place, piece by piece.”

Consider this word in the context of the parish’s work of discernment for a new rector this year.

Journal.

End your Daily Prayer

Ask Jesus to heal: 1 person

Ask Jesus to meet a need:  2 for you, 2 for other

Ask Jesus to show you a close family member or friend who needs a blessing.  Offer the blessing.  Write a note to that person with the same sentiment.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prayer Day 24  (February 28) –

Begin your daily prayer

Begin with the Sanctus (“Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might”, etc.) from the Holy Eucharist (which is from scripture) as an act of praise.

Give thanks for someone not mentioned before. Make an oblation of a part of  your life you don’t want to give up.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

Song of Solomon 3:1

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“There is neither encouragement nor room in Bible religion for feeble desires, listless efforts, lazy attitudes;  all must be strenuous, urgent, ardent.  Inflamed desires, impassioned, unwearied insistence delight heaven.  God would have His children incorrigibly in earnest, and persistently bold in their efforts.  Heaven is too busy to listen to half-hearted prayers or to respond to “pop-calls.”  Our whole being must be in our praying.”

EMBounds

Questions for reflection and journaling

Engaging in even 20 days of prayer can be a stretching spiritual exercise, especially if daily prayer has not been a part of your life order.  And it is normal to hit times of daily prayer where you don’t think you are “connecting” with God, or hearing from Christ.  Keeping at it is important.  Still it can be a time to consider any other impediments.  So,

Think back to earlier this week when the concern was for trying to get over the mid-30 days “dryness” in the Spirit (if that did happen for you).

Where was the struggle in your soul and spirit and body and mind?

What things or situations or discipline has kept you from accomplishing the prayer time?

End your Daily Prayer

Offer to Jesus the reflections on the questions above.   Ask him to speak to you about it.

Give thanks for God’s faithfulness.

Ask Jesus to bring a zeal in your spirit as you sleep.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prayer Day 25  (March 1) –

Begin your daily prayer

Say the Sanctus again to begin.

Continue with 3 statements of adoration to Jesus each beginning with, “Jesus you are ________”.

Give thanks for each person in your immediate family

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

James 1:2-3

A Prayer quote

“Your walk with God is essential.  His heart is not seen in an occasional chat or weekly visit.  We learn His will as we take up residence in His house every single day.”

                               Max Lucado

Thoughts for reflection and journaling

“Let me help you through this day.  The challenges you face are far too great for you to handle alone.  You are keenly aware of your helplessness in the scheme of events you face.  This awareness opens up a choice: to doggedly go it alone or to walk with Me in humble steps of dependence.  Actually, this choice is continually before you, but difficulties highlight the decision-making process. So consider it all joy whenever you are enveloped in various trials.   These are gifts  from Me, reminding you to rely on Me alone.”

Journal.

End your Daily Prayer

Ask the Holy Spirit to bring Jesus’ voice to you in a new way today.

Give thanks for the ways that Jesus has spoken to you already.  What are those ways?

Ask Jesus to meet a need:  1 for you, for 2 others.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prayer Day 26  (March 2) – 

Today is Sunday

1)       Attend Parish Worship;

(Find your palm cross from Palm Sunday and bring to church, so they might be collected and burned for Ash Wednesday).

2)       Take time apart for reading or  re-reading the lessons

Exodus 24:12-18

Psalm 99

Matthew 17:1-9

2 Peter 1:16-21

http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/matt5d.htm

3)       Choose one verse from each lesson that grabbed your attention.  Pick one of those three and try to memorize it this week.

4)       Consider the implications of the Passing of the Peace in light of the Sunday Readings.   If there are others in your household, invite them to join you in that consideration together, for about 15 minutes.

5)       End your “consideration” time with prayer

(together, if others joined you, and they are willing) :

Appreciate God for 1 thing about Him. (each)

Give thanks to God: 1 person, 1 thing in your life

Pray a blessing upon St. James Search committee, and Vestry, by name (see March newsletter)

6)       Before going to bed, tell Jesus 1 thing you

especially are grateful for that he has done this past week.   Ask Jesus to share with you one time or place or person in this parish that He caused to be transfigured in His light.  Give thanks!

Then ask Jesus to share with you one thing or person who He wants to transfigure.  Pray for it to happen.  Again, don’t spend too much time “listening hard.”  This time no more than 3 or 4 minutes.  But write it down when the answers come.

Finally, in light of our parish work for this year of transition, say:

Lord, bless us and keep us,

Lord, make your face to shine upon us,

and be gracious unto us;

Lord lift up your countenance upon us;

and give us your peace.              Numbers 6:24-26

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prayer Day 27   (March 3) –

Begin your daily prayer

Begin with praise, saying the “Gloria in Excelsis” (Glory to God in the highest, which can be found in the Canticles section of the Prayer Book, or at the beginning of either Rite of  Holy Eucharist).

 Give thanks to God for the works He has done.

Give thanks for an answer to prayer that came after you struggled in prayer.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

2nd Chronicles 7:14

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“All true revivals have been born in prayer.

When God’s people become so concerned about the state of religion that they lie on their faces day and night in earnest supplication,

the blessing will be sure to fall.”

                                                            EMBounds

Questions for reflection and journaling

Coming quickly to the end of the 30 days, choose not to be anxious or be worrying about “how” you pray, or “What” you’ve prayed.   Actually, I am the one to be anxious that these daily words have caused more stress than cause toward the goal!

In Jeanne Guyon’s, “Short and Very Easy Method of Prayer”, she said to church leaders, “Teach this simple experience, this prayer of the heart.  Don’t teach methods; don’t teach some lofty way to pray.  Teach the prayer of God’s Spirit (who is the Spirit of Jesus Christ), not of man’s invention.  Take note! You who teach believers to pray in elaborate forms and meaningless repetition!  You actually create the major problem new Christians have. “

I have found it is difficult to be eloquent when you are lying on your face and trying to pray out loud.  But as Madame Guyon said, “Speak to Christ honestly in your own words.  No matter how crude and simple [or muffled!] those words are, they are not crude and simple [nor muffled!] to Him!”

Have you ever felt you were unschooled enough in praying, which then hindered you from even praying at all?      What and how and when?

End your Daily Prayer

Again, ask the Holy Spirit to help you give voice to your prayer of the heart to Jesus.

Ask Jesus now to speak to your heart.

Ask Jesus to meet a need:  1 for you, 3 for others

Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prayer Day 28   (March 4, Shrove Tuesday) –

Begin your daily prayer

Say the ‘Gloria in Excelsis’ again as praise and adoration.

Take a minute to write down parts of the Gloria that you recognize as “adoration” and “praise.”  Use those liberally in your daily prayers to come. 

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

Matthew 11:28

 A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“You are born into this world and will probably never know to whose prayers your life is the answer.”

                                    Oswald Chambers

“To the soul who has been delivered from some sin or danger, or been brought from darkness to light, ‘How do you know whose prayer it is which has prevailed before God and won you this grace? Perhaps it is that old beggar at the church door, or the apple woman in the market.’”

                        Evelyn Underhill, quoting Father Pierre Charles in his book “Prayer for All Times”

Questions for reflection and journaling

Prepare today for tomorrow.  It is a day heavy in introspection; it is not a day for immersing yourself in shame.   If you have something that is generating guilt, then this is the perfect time to bring yourself to the Lord and make your confession, so God can accept your guilt, take it, and set you free.

Because it is such a day, it is important to be prepared!   Consider yourself before God, consider  your Lenten discipline of prayer and fasting (including what kind of Fast you will undergo tomorrow especially), and identify someone who will be your accountability for the 40 days.

In order to help provide a sense of balance, to keep from being overwhelmed:

Move beyond your own self-examination just for a moment (its all good today) and ask Jesus to show you someone who needs to be delivered from some sin or danger, and also how to give word to your prayers back to Jesus on behalf of the person.

End your Daily Prayer

Invite Jesus to show you what your focus for your Lent might be.  Pray out the above.

Give yourself and all your life to Christ.

Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prayer Day 29  (March 5, Ash Wednesday)

A Day of Obligation for Prayer and Fasting

7 am,     Noon,    or    6 pm

Ash Wednesday Services

Your daily prayer for today is to

Go to Church, taking part in one of the 3 services  noted above  (each one is the same service)., and  trying to match the same time of the day that you have been doing your daily prayers so far.   That is your daily prayer for today.

You will find there lots of scripture to hear,  a formal reflection (a homily/sermon), the opportunity for self-examination, to pray, to worship, to receive.

In Reflection and Journaling

Write down after the service you have attended how prepared you were for the day.

Also, how did you feel (your emotions, not mental observations) at the end of the service?

Did you have a sense of Jesus talking to you during  the service?  At what point, and what did you hear Him saying to you?

If there is anything further you would like to do for your Lenten walk, write it down, and commit to it now.

End your Daily Prayer

Ask Jesus to heal: 2 persons

Ask Jesus to meet a need:  2 for you, 2 for others

Give thanks that God’s mercy allows you to reflect and ask for mercy, prior to judgment administered.

Pray the Lord’s prayer.

  ++++++++++++++++++++++++

Prayer Day 30  (March 6) –

Begin your daily prayer

Appreciate God for 3 of his attributes

Give thanks to God that He desires an intimate relationship with you.

Offer your day today to God’s ways.

Scripture verse to mull over during the day

Philippians 3:10

A quote from a Prayer Master to consider

“The whole meaning of prayer

is that we may know God.”

                                                Oswald Chambers

For Consideration

How does Jesus speak to you?

Outside of your secret prayer place (see Matthew 6:6), which has been so much of the context of these 30 Days, Christ speaks through individuals, such as pastors, teachers, apostles, healers, evangelists, prophets, and sometimes your next door neighbor; Christ speaks to us through a sermon, a hymn in worship, a Gospel reading, hearing of God’s work in another person; in ministry to you, or ministry by you to another; in so many ways, since Jesus is not limited in his Spirit.  But how do you know his voice in these disparate ways?  Exactly because you have spent time with Him in your private devotions, especially in that place of privacy where your prayers are able to be offered unabated.

And when you are in private prayer, what do you make use of to hear the voice of Jesus speaking to you?   Through the Word of God, your bible, because you have that with you;  through the offices and prayers afforded through the Book of Common Prayer, which you have with you; and through your ever-deepening intimate relationship with Jesus, practicing and pressing to hear Him speaking, that is, through your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength.

Relax from your striving, since striving in and of itself does not bring about a willing ear.

“Union with Christ” only is achieved because there is a move on the part of Almighty God Himself.  But Jesus HAS come to us; God came Near.  So, then, we can come to Jesus.   Go to Jesus.  Believe in Him.  Invite the Holy Spirit to activate your listening.   And listen.

Final thoughts for reflection and consideration to help lead on from this point:

When you have heard the Lord speaking, what have you done with it?   If this is all new to you, and you are not sure whether you have or have not heard the Lord’s voice speaking to you, what do you think Jesus wants you to do with what He says to you?

And if  you’re not sure what to do with it…….ask Jesus, and Listen.

If the Lord has spoken to you, and you are sure it was the voice of the Good Shepherd, and it was a word looking for a response, and you haven’t responded in some way, now would be a good time.

Finally, would you take the time to share with at least two other people (unless you already have been doing this with a small group) one or two instances in these 30 Days where you believe you have heard the voice of Jesus.  Start, though, by inviting that person to share first!

End your Daily Prayer

Congratulations on completing this Parish 30 Days of Prayer!  Well done.  Give thanks!

Ask Jesus to heal: 1 person

Ask Jesus to meet a need:  2 for you, 2 for other

Ask the Holy Spirit to open the hearts and minds and ears of every member of the parish to hear the voice of Jesus.

Commit now to praying for God’s hand and guidance to be welcome and accepted in every aspect of this parish’s Search for the next Rector.

Ask that the Search Committee will be especially attuned and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and that the Lord will speak with the clarity that only He can provide..

 Pray the Lord’s Prayer.

Father Andrew – Union with Christ
http://stjamespasorobles.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/father-andrew-union-with-christ.docx
http://stjamespasorobles.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/father-andrew-union-with-christ.docx

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