Sunday, December 9, 2012

Conversational Prayer

Yesterday, a few Friends of Pravaham met for Praise, Prayer and Potluck. We were wonderfully and unexpectedly blessed by our awesome, mighty God. Marilyn led us in conversational prayer, as she had learned it from her friend Rosalind Rinker. Rinker (1906 - 2002), of whom I'd never heard before and I learned today, is the author of one of the top selling books on prayer of all time, Prayer: Conversing with God. (Grand Rapids, Mich., Pyranee Books/Zondervan, 1959). Anyway, Marilyn brought three books by Rinker and I borrowed two of them (Prayer: Conversing with God, and Learning Conversational Prayer). I am reading the first title and find it filled with invaluable reminders and thought-provoking questions about the practice of prayer. I share below some of the things that are touching me deeply.

Preface

I have discovered that prayer's real purpose is to put God at the center of our attention, and forget ourselves and the impression we are making on others. (opening line)

Ch. 1, Three Prayer Meetings

Why, I said to myself, she can't even speak English. No one can understand a word a she is saying, and here she is praying where people can hear her. I listened some more. A sentence or two in German, then a smattering of English, then more German. ... She was speaking to Him. Not to us. And He was there. I knew it. He was there. (p. 14)

Perhaps I understood as only the very young understand easily, that He meant it when He said, 
...where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.(p. 15)


Then with the freedom which comes from a new discovery, I stopped praying and spoke to Mildred. "Do you know what? I believe the Lord taught us something just now1 Instead of each of us making a prayer-speech to Him, let's talk things over with Him, back and forth, including Him in it, as we do when we have a conversation."
She took it right up, "Yes, and we could bring up one person or one situation at a time, and both of us pray back and forth about it, until we feel we have touched God, until our hearts are at rest." (p. 19)

Ch. 2, Prayer is a Dialog

The simplification was: we had become conscious of His presence with us. (p. 21)

It has all been simplified for me to this extent: prayer is a dialog between two persons who love each other. (p. 23)

Ch. 3, What is Conversational Prayer

When we pray, to whom are we really speaking? (p. 28) 

Ch. 4, To Whom Should We Pray?
Does it make any difference whether we pray to the Father, or to the Son, or to the Holy Spirit? (p. 29)

Now and then we should face our need for fresh beginnings. If you have been praying to the Father, and never addressed the Son in prayer, why not get on speaking terms with Him, too? If you have never addressed the Holy Spirit in prayer, you have a great Counselor who is waiting for you to get acquainted with Him. He knows all about You. (p. 29)

Why has God shown himself in three Persons? (p. 33)

We neither offend Him nor pacify Him by the name we choose to use when we speak to Him. His love is unchanging. It is not at all dependent on us the phrases we happen to use. (p. 33)

Our God is infinite, but we are so earthbound that He has done everything possible to help us grasp and understand something of His eternal dimensions. (p. 35)

I am forever convinced that anyone who comes to the place of realizing that God and Jesus Christ are one and the same, has reached the potential of a new plateau in prayer. Somehow it is easy to speak to Jesus. After all, we know that he knows what it feels like to be one of us. Wherefore in all things it behooves him to be made like unto his brethren... (Hebrews 2: 17).

Rinker's book Conversational Prayer continues with more chapters (listed below); I'm looking forward to savoring them slowly over the next week. Thank you, Jesus, for once again renewing and preparing my heart for celebrating your birth on earth. Thank you, dear reader, and may your heart and soul be renewed by our Lord Jesus too this Advent season.

Chapter 5: Prayer begins a new relationship; Chapter 6: Why pray aloud together?; Chapter 7: Why pray alone?; Chapter 8: What is faith?; Chapter 9: What is unanswered prayer?; Chapter 10: What are faith-sized requests?; and Chapter 11: When people pray together; Appendix: Daily quiet time, Aids to personal worship, A diagram of the trinity, Heart-searching Scriptures, and Recommended Reading. I wonder if my favorite book on prayer is listed: Touch the World Through Prayer by Wesley Duewel. I will let you know! :)




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