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Episode 020 – Is Memorized Prayer the key you’ve been missing?
Today I’m going to make a recommendation that is honestly surprising to me. My spiritual life has been deeply impacted by a practice that I looked down on for most of my life.
I’m learning I’m not as smart as I thought I was! Hopefully, my learning can be a benefit to you.
Oh, and in case the title doesn’t grab you, this is about mental habits, how we can really experience abiding in Christ, and a prayer that has changed my spiritual life.
Show notes will not be a transcript. At least not now. You’ll find a few key bullet points, any scriptures references, as well as any other books or resources referenced.
- This is part 2 of the Anchor Prayer Series.
- Jesus taught us that our primary task of faith is to abide or remain. See John 15.
- “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
- This is often called The Abiding Life, Abiding in Christ, or just “life in Christ.”
- How do we really do this? Not as a theological abstraction, but as a lived and experienced reality?
- We already abide. Whatever thoughts we allow to occupy our mind is where we’re abiding.
- Many of our thoughts (most?) are actually the result of mental habits that we’ve built over the course of our life. The more practice certain kinds of thoughts, the easier and more natural those thoughts become.
- Abiding in Christ isn’t difficult because he is far away. He’s not far. He is in all ways near:
- Psalms 34:18. God is close to the brokenhearted.
- Ephesians 2:13. We have been “brought near” through Christ.
- John 14:18. Jesus promised not to leave us as orphans.
- Matthew 28:20. Jesus promised to be with us always.
- John 14:20. Jesus told us that He was with us intimately. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you.”
- Abiding in Christ is difficult because the habits of our mind lead us to focus on other things. But that means we can learn new habits!
- Prayer can be a part of this process.
- Extemporaneous Prayer — The way many of us have been taught to pray. Spontaneous, focused on our needs, authentic to what we are feeling, hoping, needing. Very good at helping us express ourselves to God. See Philippians 4:6
- Prayer has another purpose, and extemporaneous prayer is not very good at this one. Prayer is meant to form us, to shape our thoughts.
- Memorized, or Liturgical prayer, is best for this 2nd purpose. By repeating words of truth, often based on scripture, we plant those words in our minds, and they form the basis of new ways of thinking.
- This is part of how we participate in the Spirit’s work of “renewing of our minds.” (Romans 12)
- You are invited to my first live event! June 1st, in Vancouver WA. The Untangled Heart Workshop. I’m doing this in collaboration with a close friend who is a trauma therapist with more than 30 years of experience. This 1-day event will give you practical tools so that by the end of the day you’ll be better able to navigate your own emotions and the emotions of other people.
- More info or to register: Go here!
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