paul miller

Three Ways To Pray For God's Kingdom To Come

Image As a church, we want to pray throughout 2014 for God's kingdom to come to Athens. I was reading Paul Miller's fantastic book, A Praying Life, and he mentions three kingdom prayers that we seldom ask:

  • Change in others - because it feels too controlling...too helpless
  • Change in me - because that feels too scary
  • Change in things that I don't like in our culture - because change feels too impossible

Miller lays out some helpful suggestions for praying for change in these areas on our own and reminds us that our underlying struggle in prayerlessness is an overconfidence in our abilities and a lack of confidence in God. Simply put, the reason we don't pray is because we don't trust God.

One additional practice to help us grow into kingdom prayer is to learn to do this together. Every week across our city, our church hosts prayer groups that we call community groups. They're great places to pray because you're in an extended family environment - eating a meal together - with the express purpose of connecting relationally and growing spiritually. So here are three ways that I'd encourage community groups to pray:

  • Change in us - pray for the things we share that we want God to change in our lives
  • Change in our church - pray for the things we see in our church family that we want God to change
  • Change in our city - pray for the things that we don't like in the people and places around us who don't know Jesus (yet)

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Paul Miller - Seven Simple Suggestions For Praying In The Morning

Image From Paul Miller's A Praying Life, my favorite book on prayer:

Here are seven simple suggestions for how you can spend time with your Father in the morning:

  • Get to bed. What you do in the evening will shape your morning. The Hebrew notion of a day as the evening and morning (see Genesis 1) helps you plan for prayer. If you want to pray in the morning, then plan your evening so you don't stay up too late. The evening and morning are connected. 
  • Get up. Praying in bed is wonderful. In fact, the more you pray out of bed, the more you'll pray in bed. But you'll never develop a morning prayer time in bed. Some of my richest prayer times are at night. I'll wake up praying. But those prayer times only began to emerge because I got out of my bed to pray. 
  • Get awake. Maybe you need to make a pot of coffee first or take a shower.
  • Get a quiet place. Maybe a room, a chair, or a place with a view. Or maybe you do better going for a walk. Make sure that no one can interrupt you.
  • Get comfortable. Don't feel like you have to pray on your knees. For years I was hindered from praying because I found it so uncomfortable to pray on my knees. 
  • Get going. Start with just five minutes. Start with a small goal that you can attain rather than something heroic. You'll quickly find that the time will fly. 
  • Keep going. Consistency is more important than length. If you pray five minutes every day, then the length of time will slowly grow. You'll look up and discover that twenty minutes have gone by. You'll enjoy being with God. Jesus is so concerned about hanging in there with prayer that he tells 'his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up (Luke 18:1)

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