Maturing Toward Wholeness in the Inner Life


Being with God and Interacting with Him about All We Are Doing Together

1 – Jesus lived a life of prayer. He often withdrew from activity to be with his Father. In his humanity, prayer was the source of his strength.

2 – Jesus taught a life of prayer. He formed prayer in his disciples by example and teaching. Prayer is foundational to being his follower.

3 – The apostles lived and taught a life of prayer. It permeates the New Testament. They learned to pray from Jesus. Prayer empowered the Church’s birth and growth.

4 – Examine Judeo-Christian history. You will find no one who walked with God or accomplished great things for him who was not a man or woman of prayer.

5 – What is prayer? Prayer is interacting with God. I talk to him; I also listen for what he is saying to me. Prayer is two-way communication.

6 – There is something special about prayers we form using our own words. What father does not love to hear honoring words from his own child?

7 – But we do not know how to pray. We need the Holy Spirit to help us (Romans 8:26). The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1).

8 – We also learn much about how to pray through prayers that have stood the test of time among God’s people down through the centuries.

9 – The prayers of David (and others) in the Psalms have shaped the worship and prayers of our spiritual forefathers and mothers for millennia.

10 – The prayers of Jesus and his followers, found in the New Testament, laid the initial foundation for Christian worship and prayer.

11 – We have received a rich heritage in the prayers of Christian history, formed by ones who walked with God, representing every Christian tradition.

12 – Unaided, we can pray amiss. The heart may be innocent, but the understandings which form our prayers may be wrong—even spiritually dark.

13 – Scripture includes repetition in prayer (Psalm 136). Repetition supports meditation, facilitating hearing God more thoroughly and accurately.

14 – Some equate prayer only with intercession. Intercessory prayer is certainly essential! We will focus on prayer as it relates to living in the Presence.

15 – Prayer is primary in practicing God’s Presence. To learn how to live in God’s Presence continually, we must learn how to pray continually.

16 – The biblical directive to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) seems unattainable. But it is a command. Let’s ask the Lord to teach us how.

17 – “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Rejoicing, praying, giving thanks are to characterize our lives.

18 – “Perfection” is different from “maturity.” We will never be perfect in praying without ceasing, but we can increasingly mature toward it.

19 – Jesus directs us to abide in him (John 15:5). He said apart from him we could do nothing. “To abide” means “to remain.” Remain for how long?

20 – The Scriptures say we are to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). For how long? Is this just a one-off experience? Or a way of life?

21 – Praying without ceasing, abiding in Christ and being filled with the Spirit all point to one reality—living in unbroken communion with God.

22 – This is the condition for which we were created. We can re-learn this. But the old life must be brought to the cross that a new life may be formed.

23 – When we try to pray without ceasing, our mind wanders. Keeping our mind on anything means learning to bring our mind continually back to it.

24 – To learn prayer as a lifestyle I practice shortening the intervals when my thoughts are not on God. I look for ways to bring my thoughts back.

25 – There is no “right” way to shorten the intervals between returning my thoughts to God, but history has many examples from which I can learn.

26 – In New Testament times the liturgical day in Judaism included set hours for prayer (Acts 3:1). Cornelius, a Gentile, prayed them (Acts 10:30).

27 – Cornelius was a Roman centurion, an army officer with 100 men under him. He had a demanding schedule, but he “prayed continuously” (Acts 10:2).

28 – “Seven times a day I praise you” (Psalm 119:164) guided early Christian houses of prayer (monasteries) to set hours of prayer day and night.

29 – Historically seven hours of prayer have been used by Christian communities: upon rising, 6 am, 9 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm and before retiring.

30 – How can I develop a lifestyle of prayer? 1) Start with one prayer time a day. It can be short! Connect with God.

31 – In learning any discipline, we start where we are. Don’t overdo. Attempting too much too soon will be counterproductive. Let it take time.

32 – The more we are with God, the deeper our desire to be with him will grow. Once one prayer time per day is established 2) add a second one.

33 – Two prayer times a day might look like one in the morning and one in the evening. In time, 3) a third one might be added at lunchtime.

34 – A next step may be 4) to set our watch timer to sound every so often—once an hour? Upon hearing it we pause to speak briefly, quietly to the Lord.

35 – For example, as I write this, my watch timer is sounding every five minutes. I pause for a 5-second prayer. I don’t feel interrupted; I feel empowered.

36 – Each of us can discover unique ways to return our thoughts to God throughout the day for a 5-second prayer. The result will be transformative.

Draft: Last edited —January 13, 2017

Copyright © George Miley. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in whole or in part by any means, including graphic, electronic, or mechanical without the express written consent of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews. To obtain permission to use this material, contact us.