There is far more to developing a rich prayer life than can possibly be covered (or even touched on) in such a brief course. Yet, in these few weeks it may be possible that we will whet your appetite for knowing God more fully, experiencing anew the rich joy of your salvation and delighting in his glory as you continue to grow in the depth and breadth of your relationship with the risen Christ.
In this short practical workshop on the prayer life of the believer you will be encouraged to read a book from the attached annotated bibliography (or pick one you’ve never read but have it on your reading list). It is not mandatory, but you may find it helpful to read the book (or as much of it as possible) in advance of our time together. For those who decide to read a new book on prayer there will be a brief opportunity to share with the group how you profited from your reading. In advance of each meeting I will provide a short essay as a preparation for discussion. While the essay may occasionally seem a bit academic it may serve as a springboard for our discussions of biblical texts that enrich our prayer lives. We will not be covering the particulars of the handout, so, don't be put off by the handout. However, we will look at a corollary biblical text or two that addresses its theme and learning to incorporate God’s promises in our pray life (e.g. in Daniel 9:2 the prophet remembers Jeremiah’s prophecy 25:12 and prays accordingly). If nothing else, the handout may serve as a future reference tool as you delve into various aspect of the disciplines of prayer.
Each week I intend to follow a workshop format that Dallas Willard uses in his excellent book Hearing God: Developing a Conversational relationship with God. Keep in mind that fundamentally, prayer is communication and we hope to sharpen our communication skills in our dialog with God. I will provide a Biblical text that will help you cultivate your prayer life and we will follow this format in each meeting: Read – lectio, Reflect – meditatio, Respond – oratio, Rest (contemplation) – contempalatio.
Of course, it is of little value to read / discuss / ramble on about prayer if one doesn't pray; so, we will spend an extended time in prayer. With just a brief guideline regarding the format of our prayer time on the first night, every session will begin with an extended time in prayer. Afterward we will unpack our theme for the week.
For anyone who may be interested here is a link to ten short (relatively) essays on prayer on my website: https://www.myevensong.com/thoughts-on-prayer.html Several of these essay (listed below) will serve as the weekly handout.
Having said all of the foregoing, I do not want to you to be intimidated or overwhelmed with too much expectation on my part; the reality is, you are welcomed to just show up and glean whatever you can from our time together. Regardless of what you do or do not do by way of preparation, I believe you will find our time together worshipful and spiritually enriching.