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The one hour prayer experiment

It seems that if you like to pray, you fit into one of two categories. Either you prefer to take blocks of time to pray, or you tend to pray through your day. Scripture tells us to do both, but finding a block of time to pray in our hectic society requires discipline. If you’re already too …
By Seth Barnes
prayer 3It seems that if you like to pray, you fit into one of two categories. Either you prefer to take blocks of time to pray, or you tend to pray through your day. Scripture tells us to do both, but finding a block of time to pray in our hectic society requires discipline. If you’re already too busy, what do you do?
At the start of AIM’s ministry, Dick Eastman and his prayer ministry had a profound impact on me. Through his books, he taught me to pray an hour a day.
 
Recently my daughter Emily found an Eastman book on praying for an hour on her own and has been using it.

The premise behind it is based on the scene at the end of his life where Jesus rebukes his disciples because they couldn’t tarry with him in prayer just one hour. Of course we want to pray in the Spirit at all times. But he’s also looking for more focused times from us as well.

I threw it out to some disciples and friends of mine a few days ago. 22 of them wrote back and said they were game. So, we’ve just started.
 
If you’d like to join us in our one-hour prayer experiment, please let me know. Try it for a week and then check back in with me. I’ve sent out a few encouraging emails and people have emailed back with reports. Here’s a link to a link to a 10-page paper about praying an hour that may help you get going.* Eastman divides an hour into 12 five-minute blocks.  It may be too structured for you (it is for me), but it at least gets you started moving in the right direction. If you’re ambivalent about committing this much time to God, I strongly recommend you do it.

Discipline is hard and the structure it requires can feel unnatural.  Somehow watches seem incompatible with prayer times.  Muslims pray five times a day.  I’m not clear on if many of them pray more than words.  But at least there is the opportunity for the heart to open up and their heart to cry out.

On my first day, I began my prayer time with a song.  I journaled a bit, read something out of the Bible and then I was seized by this thought that I sensed was God saying: “our lives are like a story.” I started to write about that and before I knew it, had a blog.

I don’t know what to think about interrupting prayer to write a blog.  Is it distraction or is it part of the prayer time?  Yes to both. Look – spending extended time with God can lead you in a lot of different directions. I’m just trying to listen to God’s voice and follow his lead.  For me, it’s more important to carve out the time in my schedule than it is to stick to a plan about how to fill it.**
 
*Go halfway down the page to “English” and click on the link “Hour that changes the world.” A pdf file will pop up.
 
**Some links that may help you here and here. For a list of my posts on prayer, go here. And for posts on listening prayer, go here.

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