saturation (2)


Prayer is not the seasoning for the real meat of Bible study. It is not a necessary additive to the real work of the church. It is not something we do briefly before we begin to worship. It is not to be a perfunctory way of opening to a sermon. I think it might better be thought of as the marinade that must saturate every aspect of Bible study. Prayer is the fire that cooks real spiritual meat; that warms the fellowship; that empowers discipleship; that prepares everything we do for and by God on the earth.

My nephew once told me a story from the church in China. A traveling evangelist was introducing the gospel to two remote mountain villages. He was very much afraid he would not be able to return to these new believers for many months. So he devised a plan to disciple them in his absence. He painted scriptures on small rocks and gave them to individuals in the villages. He told each person to memorize the verse and pray over it all day every day for a month. Then they were to share with the church what God told them in their verses. The man needed to leave before any believers were at all mature in the faith. And sure enough he was away even longer than he expected. Years had gone by before he was finally able to make his was back. He feared he would not find anyone remaining faithful. But when he arrived he found the churches thriving with many strong leaders in their midst.

What would God do in your life if you memorized a single scripture and prayed and meditated over it day and night for a month?

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I pray for a list of extended family members each night after I lie down in bed. I have specific scriptures memorized that I pray over for some family members. I have prayed for some of the children on my list every day of their lives.  Of course I sometimes fall asleep before I finish the list. There are worse ways to go to sleep. And since I pray for them in a certain order, I am able to pick up the prayer in the morning as far as I remember praying the night before.

I have done this for years. So I don't remember how I came up with the order. To some extent, I think I developed the list simply by repetition. I do not know how long it takes me to get through the list. In fact, no two nights are quite the same.

I do this each night because of continuing needs in my family. My grandchild has a need this week. My nephew will probably face a crisis tomorrow. And several family members seem to have ongoing problems. But I suspect the primary benefit, like most prayer, is in what God does and will do in me. I believe going to sleep in prayer may help saturate every aspect of my life in the presence of God.

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