Prayer and Practices Resource List From Kody Stavert
As a high school student I often thought of prayer as a means of asking God for things I wanted. I would “call” God when I was in trouble, when I wanted to do well on a test, win a water polo game . . . this list goes on but the general idea is my prayers as a high school student were relegated to asking God for things that I wanted. As we dive into the practice of prayer I am reminded of how often I treat the opportunity to connect with our Creator like picking up a phone to call my heavenly Father when I’m in need. It’s beautiful to know that God takes that call but as we go forward in the discipline of prayer let’s hold on to the simple definition of prayer that Jenni shared with us this last we week:
“God talks to us and we listen; We talk to God and He listens.”
The following is a set of practices I have found to be helpful in engaging in the practice of talking and listening to God:
Talking to God:
- Tell God everything
- Find some way to express to God everything you are feeling, good and bad. He can take it! God is not worried or hurt when we express honest feelings or questions to Him, in fact He invites us to do so as an opportunity for Him to grow us.
- You can try journaling or writing letters to God expressing to Him what your day was like, how you felt, hopes, dreams, doubts and disappointments.
- Go on a walk and talk out loud to God like you would a friend. Imagine in your mind the true reality of God’s presence with you always and speak to Him openly.
- Pick a psalm and let the words of that Psalm form your prayers. It’s helpful to have someone else's words especially when talking to God or forming your own thoughts are difficult.
- This one can be a bit confusing at first but you can sign up for emails to receive daily prayers. Join in with thousands of others praying the same thing and let time honored prayers rooted in Scripture set the foundation for your time talking to God.
Listening to God:
- Listen to Scripture
- Find a time and a place that is quiet and listen to Scripture out loud. You can use an audio recording or read it to yourself out loud. Acknowledge in your mind that this is in fact God’s words being spoken to you and rest in His words to you. I would recommend starting with a passage like John 15 or Matthew 5-7. Spend a little time reflecting on anything in particular that stood out to you.
- Sit outside for 30 minutes trying to quiet the other voices and focus thoughts on God. Try to empty your mind of distractions and fill your mind with thoughts about God.
- In a journal, pose questions to God and then write down what it seems like God might be saying then go back and review which ones sound like the voice of God from Scripture or bring them to a friend or someone close to you and ask if what you heard sounds like God.
Different practices of prayer appeal to different people. It’s valuable to find practices that are uniquely appealing to you as an individual but always growing and beneficial to engage with God in a new way. As you survey the list above we encourage you to try them all and spend time exploring new and meaningful ways of connecting with our creator!
Below are some additional resources:
The Listening LifeEmbracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam McHugh
The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson
Experiencing Prayer with Jesus: The Power of His Presence and Example by Henry & Norman Blackaby
With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray (also available as a 31 day study guide)
Echo Prayer app helps track prayers and set reminders to pray