MODULE 1 RESOURCES
ASSIGNMENT: Spend a week doing the Introduction to Prayer Practices below. Make note of any challenges, breakthroughs, or insights you gain from the Lord by writing them in your journal or in a note taking app.
By Megan Koch (Adapted Version)
It may seem like there’s a lot that goes into prayer—especially if this new to you! But don’t worry; prayer is simpler than you think. It’s all about finding what works well for you.
Take note of some of these steps to help you begin your prayer practices.
Find a Space. Find a space or two you’re fond of and won’t mind returning for prayer each time. It could be an office, a comfy chair, the kitchen with a warm light turned on, a coffee shop, a porch. If the space isn’t working for you, then there’s no harm in finding a new prayer space.
Find a Time. Find a time or two during your day that you can set aside for prayer. Start small; it’s okay to start with five to ten minute prayer sessions. The key here is to work your schedule around your prayer time, not the other way around.
Remove Distractions. This could include external distractions, like other people, the television, your task list, turning your phone to airplane mode, or playing soothing music. When talking with God, eliminating extra noise is key.
This also includes internal distractions—the stuff inside your head that might keep you from hearing God’s voice clearly. Is there someone you need to forgive who’s on your mind? Is it hard for your mind to settle down? Perhaps you’re restless because of how much you have to get done today, or you’re uncertain how to pray. Whatever it is, put it out there. Know and trust that God is in the room with you (even if you don’t feel it yet) and let the Holy Spirit help you to even picture Jesus sitting with you like a friend.
Interact with God’s Word. An excellent way to begin prayer practices is by reading a passage from the Bible. Go over the day’s passage once to read it, a second time to know it, and a third time—more slowly this time—to let it sink in. Let this be the sounding board for your conversation with God.
Start the Conversation. You’ll see there are some prompts provided. Complete them in a new way each day. Grab a journal or notepad, and talk to God as you write your answers to the prompts. He hears your prayers whether you write them out or not. The action of writing it down is for you, not for him. Or, if writing isn’t your jam, try thinking your responses, or even talking out loud.
Work through this practice slowly. Remember, this is an experiment with God, so it’s ok if it feels a little strange. You’re just trying things out. As you write, sit and listen. After you speak, pause long enough to see where God may take your thoughts. Then, when you think you might be hearing God’s voice, respond. It most likely won’t come in an audible voice, but journal through the experience as you go. Come back next time ready to share with your disciple at least one way God spoke to you through the practice this week.
ASSIGNMENT: Spend next week practicing a new set of prayer practices: Contemplative Prayer. These practices will help the disciple slow his or her mind down to be with God in silence, solitude, and stillness. Contemplative prayers are not so much about talking to God as they are about listening to God and sitting in his presence.
Introduction to Contemplative Prayer Practices
By Jake Thurston
Prayer isn’t just talking to God; it’s hearing from him, too. But how can we actually hear from God? Believe it or not, God is speaking to us all the time. We just need to slow down enough to hear what he’s saying.
This is the purpose of contemplative prayer. Contemplation is simply being present with God and filling our minds with him. However, it’s often not as simple as it may sound. To practice contemplative prayer, it begins by getting in the right posture to be with God. This includes removing the distractions and noise of everyday life, slowing down our activity, and getting by ourselves away from crowds and others’ expectations. We do these things in contemplative prayer all so we can better soak up God’s presence. Think of it like turning off your phone and television so you can have a good heart-to-heart conversation with a friend over coffee.
There’s not a lot of talking in contemplative prayer—but there is a lot of sitting with God. Because there isn’t a lot of activity that goes into contemplative prayer, these practices can feel pretty uncomfortable at first. In fact, contemplation is a lot easier said than done! These prayer practices reveal just how distracted and chaotic our normal every day lives can be. Contemplation gives our souls the space to unplug from the world a bit and rest in God.
On the next slide are are some key exercises to try when you’re practicing contemplative prayer this week. Try a single exercise per day, or experiment with a combination of exercises. Try different places, times of day, and lengths of time. Whatever you do, keep it simple and make it your own. Write down what you do and any insights you learn along the way.
Introduction to Intercessory Prayer
By Jake Thurston
“Intercessory” seems like a big fancy word to describe prayer—but it’s a word Christians have used for this type of prayer for hundreds of years. Intercession means to intervene, or to come between two people to help them out. So intercession, or intercessory prayer, is when we stand in between two people—another person and God.
Prayer is not just a conversation where we tell God our personal requests, nor is prayer just a time of sitting in God’s presence. Prayer is a way to call God to action on behalf of other people. This is why we share prayer requests. Prayer requests are things we ask someone else to pray for. When you and your discipler prayed for one another at your last meeting, that was practicing intercessory prayer! However, people don’t need to share a prayer request for us to pray for them. We can pray for other people whenever we want!
Before you practice intercessory prayer this week, here are the key parts of praying for other people:
Identify a person or people. This could be a person, like a spouse, child, friend, co-worker, or friend of a coworker of a friend; or it can be a group of people, like a family, team, church body, city, or an entire nation!
Identify a problem. What is the person or people struggling with? The flu? Confusion with a work project? Pain from a surgery? An addiction they can’t break? Racial injustice in the country? A war in another country?
Identify a solution. What is a solution the person or people need to help their problem? A vaccine for the flu? Clarity for the project? A speedy recovery and healing? Friends to help break the addiction? Harmony across all racial backgrounds? Peace in the foreign country?
Present it to God. Take what you identified from the first 3 questions, and then package it in a prayer request to God. It can look like this: “God, help my friend (person) get the vaccine (solution) she needs to heal from her sickness (problem).” Or, “Jesus, my spouse (person) is very confused on a project for work (problem). Could you give her clarity (solution) on the project she’s working on? She needs your peace (solution).
ASSIGNMENT: Spend next week doing yet another new set of prayer practices: Intercessory Prayer. Click through the slideshow below for an introduction to intercessory prayer and a practice guide for the week.
ASSIGNMENT: Review everything you have experienced with prayer this month. What worked? What didn’t? Make note of all these things, and complete your Daily Prayer Rhythm attached below.
Finally, watch the video Gift in preparation for the next module on Confession.
Roots written by Phil Wiseman, videography by Jay Wilde.
My Daily Prayer Rhythm
By Megan Koch
The best time of day for me to participate in focused prayer is:
The best space for me to participate in focused prayer is:
Write down your ideal daily prayer rhythm. What would you like to include in your prayer time?
Example 1: Starting in silence, reading a Scripture passage, and then praying through a list of prayer requests.
Example 2: Do a breathing prayer for 2 minutes in solitude, pray to God for personal requests, then pray for others’ requests. Will also commit to praying while driving in the car by myself.
It is best to have some way of focusing ourselves in prayer, so that we don’t get bored or our minds wander aimlessly. For example, you might use a prayer list each day. You might journal your prayers, or use the Lord’s prayer as a framework. Describe your strategy for focused prayer below:
Gift video: written by Megan Koch, Phil Wiseman, & Jake Thurston.
Videography by Jay Wilde.