The practice of prayer

This week I was reminded of David’s practice of praying seven times per day (Ps 119:164), Daniel’s practice of praying three times per day (Daniel 6:10), Jesus’s practice of getting up at dawn to pray or even pull an all-nighter in prayer (Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12), and Peter’s practice of observing hours of prayer (Acts 3:1; 10:9).

Reading these practices reminded me that having a plan to practice praying can be good, healthy, and soul-nourishing.

It also reminded me that we make time for what we value.

And oh yes, it reminded me that without a plan to practice prayer, it is easy to fail to pray.

Want a more enriching prayer life? Plan a practice of prayer.

Cleaning Up My Motives

Sometimes I need to just sit, read, and re-read these words from David. As I read I pray, asking God to clean up my heart, including any improper motives I may have. I find it especially meaningful to read from these three translations.

Over the years I have found that it is a serious matter to ask God to identify problems in your heart and clean them up. Why? Because He always seems to answer those prayers and sometimes the results can be painful for a while. Painful, but in the long-run, well worth it.

Psalm 139:23-24 NIV
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24 NLT
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24 MSG
Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.