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Practice


 

Committing to an active prayer life is a crucial step in growing our faith
and trust in God.  The reality is many people don't know how to pray.
God gives us all we need when we put our trust in Him. 
We just have to take the next step. 


Below are some "prayer prompts." Each opens with a scripture passage, followed by a brief reflection and question for prayer. 
 

For the next week, make a commitment
to trying one a day as a way to put prayer into practice.

Day One




The Pharisee performed much better than the tax collector. He fasted and tithed. He avoided major sins. While the tax collector’s actions were wrong, Jesus says the tax collector left the temple “justified” or accepted by God, while the Pharisee left with a gap still existing between him and God. This is because the tax collector acknowledged his need for God’s love and mercy, while the Pharisee did not. The tax collector humbled himself. The Pharisee did not. Our world tells us to perform well so that we will then be accepted…but that’s not God’s way. Jesus tells us to acknowledge our need for mercy, and God will accept us and our performance will improve. The world says to be good so you will be accepted. Christianity says that God accepts you and then makes you good.

Today, make an examination of conscience and humble confession of sin and reflect on the great mercy of God. Pray for any sin or regret that is weighing you down, asking God simply 
"Lord I repent of this, please forgive me." 

 


Day Two



After the episode of the Pharisee and the tax collector, people began bringing children to Jesus to talk to and heal. Children in first century Rome and Palestine were thought of differently than today.
that time, children did not receive their full value in society until they were of working age and could help a family produce and earn a living. Until then, they were considered a burden. In extending his time and attention to children, Jesus continues the lesson about humility and the lie of being rejected. For Jesus, children are to be valued primarily because of who they are — sons and daughters of God — not for what they can do or produce in economic gain. Do you tend to value the people around you for the wrong reasons?

Today, pray to see your friends and family in the light of God’s kingdom,
and not so much based on what they can do for you.



Day Three



The fear of rejection that causes problems in our lives is a lie based on a backward idea
of acceptance. We think that as long as we can produce enough, we will be accepted by others,
by ourselves, and by God.

But Jesus instructs us to accept the kingdom of God like a child. What does that mean?
Children are the best symbol of humility for Jesus because the very fact that they give glory
to God without producing anything of quantifiable value in the eyes of the world is an image
of our true identities in the Kingdom of God.
Their entire value is based on who they are as sons and daughters of God.

Today, consider what it means for you to be a son or daughter of God. What makes you valuable in God’s eyes? Try to imagine how God sees you.

 

Day Four



Jesus is on a journey to Jerusalem, ultimately the journey that would lead to the cross.
Jericho is about 20 miles from Jerusalem, so he is closing in on the final days of his life.
Many people are following Jesus or want to see him, including a man named Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus is a tax collector, which means that his countrymen despised him as a greedy sellout
to the corrupt Roman government. He had made money his god and sold his dignity for more possessions. This desire to simply see Jesus shows that, despite his wealth and affluence,
Zacchaeus has an ache in his heart. Zacchaeus had organized his whole life around money, but his great wealth and possessions proved unsatisfying for the deepest desires of his heart. A lie we buy is that if only we had just a little more money and possessions, we would be happy. However, we see from Scripture and human experience that more money without Christ does not bring happiness.

Ask for the grace to not equate having more money and possessions with happiness.



Day Five



Zacchaeus just wants a glimpse of Jesus but, as is typical with Jesus, he gives more than Zacchaeus could have expected or imagined — Jesus asks to come and stay at his house.
Luke says that Zacchaeus quickly responds with joy. This is probably the happiest moment
for Zacchaeus in many years. This was the personality of Jesus. People who were monumental sinners, who didn't live anything like he lived, were drawn to Jesus and wanted to be with him. People who were nothing like him, liked him. Pray for the grace today to be like Jesus.

Ask God to use you to bring people who are far from him back to him.


Day Six



Jesus and Zacchaeus spend some time together. How much time? We don't know.
What did they discuss? Luke doesn't say. But we know that as a result of that conversation,
there is a conversion. Zacchaeus has a total change of heart and experiences a total transformation of his life. As a result of this meeting, Zacchaeus decides to break the greed that has grabbed hold
of his heart and give half of his money to the poor.

 

Additionally, the Old Testament law said that if you stole from someone you had to pay back what was owed, plus 25 percent more, a 125 percent restitution. Effectively, Zacchaeus says he will give 400 percent more. Zacchaeus no longer lives out of fear. His actions indicate
that he has put total trust in Jesus, replacing the lie that his life consists of possessions
with the truth that his life is found in a relationship with Christ. In giving to the poor
and making restitution, he breaks the power of greed in his heart.

Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can grow in generosity
and destroy any greed in your heart.



Day Seven



I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.

R. I will praise your name forever, my king and my God.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.

R. I will praise your name forever, my king and my God.

Let all your works give you thanks,
O LORD, and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.

R. I will praise your name forever, my king and my God.




How can we pray for you? 

Prayer Request