Do not practice long-drawn-out devotions, but rather give yourself to prayer at intervals, as you would to food.
- Comghall, Rule (Irish, 6th century)
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
- Psalm 119.164
We are mistaken if we believe that the few minutes we spend in morning devotions will suffice to nourish and sustain our souls throughout the remainder of the day. Even if we increase our morning prayer and reading to an hour or more, still, we will need to be resupplied before the day is finished.
The saints of Scripture understood this, and we frequently find them praying at intervals throughout the day, as Daniel (chapter 6) and the apostles (Acts 3). Praying at various times, even set times, throughout the day can help us to approximate the idea of praying without ceasing, which Paul commands (1 Thess. 5.17).
But how shall we do this? Well, we should make appointments with God, to meet Him for prayer. Then, come to each time - no more than 5-10 minutes - with some specific prayer item to use: a psalm to pray, or the list of the people in your Personal Mission Field, or just random reasons to praise the Lord as the Spirit leads.
Use these prayer intervals also to thank God for the day thus far and to seek His will and help for the things that remain. Hang your day on prayer and you will know greater strength, joy, and sense of the Lord's presence with you.
The hard part of this is being willing to take the time, to interrupt whatever you're doing, or somehow, in the midst of doing it, find a way to focus your thoughts on God and to offer your prayers to Him. But it's a worthwhile discipline which will enrich your walk with the Lord and your awareness of the larger, unseen realm.
Try it for a week, and you'll see just how beneficial this discipline can be.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
Please keep us in your prayers. Our Members meet next Monday night in The Gathering, and we have some important matters before us, as we consider more effective ways of serving the men in ministry to whom God has called us.
Thank you very much for sharing your prayers and gifts with us. Your support is greatly appreciated. If you'd like to contribute, simply use the donate button here or on the web page, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 100 Lamplighter Ct., Hamilton, VA 20158.
Every verse of them that thou recitest, expound their texts minutely; speak in thine own character exactly, and fix on them thine understanding; then thou shalt receive [thy request] from the King of the stars, whose protection is never-ending.
- Anonymous, Life of Colman Ela (Irish, 17th cent., from an earlier ms.)
"To whom will he teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message? Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast? For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little."
- Isaiah 28.9, 10
Colman's instruction to his monk relates to several spiritual disciplines, here all fused together into one exercise. In the context the monk is praying the daily hours, which means he has a psalm on his lips, which he is reciting - perhaps singing - aloud, and which, at the end, he will render from Latin into Gaelic.
But he is also meditating - fixing his understanding on the psalm - and reflecting, by expounding the psalm as he recites/sings it and speaks it back to the Lord in his own words.
Finally, he is turning all this into a prayer, seeking the help of his King and Savior for whatever may have been on his mind.
This is a good way to think about spiritual disciplines, not as isolated activities that we check off a list, but as exercises in bringing together, in the act of seeking the Lord, a combination of disciplines, based on the Word and processed through our own minds and concerns into meditation and worshipful prayer.
Spiritual disciplines have fallen on hard times with many believers these days, including pastors. Either we don't understand the value of these ancient and Biblical practices, or we're just too distracted or shallow - or both - to want to give much time or effort to them.
But it is in these arenas, where we have the opportunity for meeting God in His glory, that our pursuit of Jesus brings us into real and close contact with our risen and reigning King. From such encounters comes the power that transforms us into the image of Jesus Christ and refracts the glory of God to the world around us.
How is it with your spiritual disciplines? This might be a good time to talk with the Lord about how to improve your own pursuit of His glory.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
Maybe it's a problem of time management that keeps you from having a more disciplined life. If so, then our January free download, "To Number Our Days," might be of help.
Our course, "The Writing Pastor," begins in just two weeks. Now is the time to sign up for this six-month webinar to help you make writing a more integral part of your own ministry for the Lord.
If you'd like some help in learning to pray and sing the psalms, visit our bookstore and order a copy of The Ailbe Psalter or Voices Together, two valuable resources than can give your spiritual life a lasting boost.
Finally, our mentoring course, "The Road to Maturity: Practicing the Kingship of Jesus," is all about setting up a workable program of spiritual and ministry disciplines that can help you to know ongoing revival in your walk with the Lord. Why not consider signing up with one of our Mentors today?