“How to Ask in Prayer: “Amen”

Quiet Time Coaching Episode 256

Quiet Time Coaching Episode 256

  • I am in my third year of participating in the Renovare book club. The first book in this season’s set of four is “How to pray” by Pete Greig.
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  • Quiet time coaching episodes will focus on his book for the next few weeks. You don’t need to read it to benefit from these recordings, but you might like to get hold of a copy for yourself. I have finished the book and can thoroughly recommend it. A full review of the book will come at a later date in “What we are reading”.
  • Last week we explored spiritual warfare in prayer
  • Today we will reflect on the final chapter of the book, simply titled, “Amen”.Theme scripture: ‘For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever.’ Matt 6:13 (some manuscripts)
  • The above phrase which is often used to conclude the Lord’s prayer is not in the original manuscript, but seems to have been added to it in the very early days of the church. It looks to be modelled on 1 Samuel 29:11.

‘Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom.’

  • What is the significance of these words? Perhaps it helps us to remember that no matter our feelings, the passion of our requests, our fears if I press go on answered, everything belongs to and depends upon God.
  • We consciously return to our heavenly father that which belongs to him. It never ceases to belong to him, but we occasionally forget that this is so.

It’s to give him our little empires (family, ministry, career) and say ‘yours, Lord, is the kingdom’. It’s to give him the power-bases we’ve built and say ‘yours, Lord, is the power’. It’s to give him our credibility, our trophies of success, and say ‘yours, Lord, is the glory forever and right now’. Greig, Pete. How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People (p. 184). John Murray Press. Kindle Edition.

  • The “Amen” also reminds us that we can trust God to act on our prayers. It can be tempting to doubt whether our puny attempts of prayer truly make a difference. Our prayers change the world, change the circumstances of other people, and, most fundamentally, they change us.

‘Prayers are prophecies,’ says Mark Batterson. ‘They are the best predictors of your spiritual future. Who you become is determined by how you pray. Ultimately, the transcript of your prayers becomes the script of your life.’

  • Pete’s final admiration in his book is to remember to keep prayer simple. Is my hope that having read the book I will find my prayer life deep and, more powerful and more meaningful, but is important also to not overthink a relationship.
  • If you feel a bit at a loss at a loss as to how to develop your prayer life, remember that the Holy Spirit is with you.

C.H. Spurgeon said that ‘Prayer itself is an art only the Holy Spirit can teach us. Pray for prayer. Pray until you can really pray.’

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Rom. 8:26–27)

  • To summarise the book let me quote Pete own summary:

‘Pause’. Try to ‘be still and know’ God (Ps. 46:10).

‘Rejoice … always’ (Phil. 4:4). Your Father in heaven loves you, knows you, and interprets your heart perfectly. Give him thanks!

‘Ask and it will be given to you’ (Matt. 7:7). Ask the Father for everything from peace in the Middle East to parking spaces.

‘Yield’. Offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness’ (Rom. 6:13). Wait and trust for the light and hope to come.



Conclusion

  • Pete ends the book with this Prayer poem by Isaac of Stella:

He himself is my contemplation. He is my delight. Him for His own sake I seek above me. From Him Himself I feed within me. He is the field in which I labour. He is my cause. He is my effect. He is my beginning. He is my end. He is for me eternity. (p. 131)

  • Questions for discussion:
    • What stands out to you about contemplative prayer?
    • How might your prayer life grow if you could learn how to practice contemplative prayer?

  • Suggestion: Focus on contemplative prayer for the next seven days.
  • Resources mentioned in the book:
    • PRAYER TOOL: 1. How to Run a 24–7 Prayer Room (prayercourse.org).
    • FURTHER READING: Dirty Glory, by Pete Greig.

  • Next week we will look at how to take a prayer inventory at the end of the year and prepare for the year ahead.

  • Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.
  • Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.
  • If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.
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  • “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)
  • God bless, Malcolm
  • PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John