Review. For the month of August, I’m posting a daily devotional challenge. I wanted to encourage people to spend time every day with God in prayer and in the Bible, and thought this would be a fun way to do it. You can find all of the challenge posts under the August Challenge menu (👈🏻 or 👆🏻, depending on the device you’re using to read the blog).
Inspiration. The inspiration for today’s challenge is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (I couldn’t resist that one):
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2, NIV
But let’s take a step back a minute. When I use the subheading “inspiration,” what do I mean? What does it mean to be inspired? To inspire?
Let’s look at how Merriam-Webster defines the word:
1 a : to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration
To be inspired, then, means to be divinely (that means it was done by a deity, and I believe in only one deity, the God of the Bible) influenced or guided. The Bible tells us that in writing the books that make up the Bible, the authors were inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). So when I use the word “inspiration,” I’m looking to God and the word he’s given us—the Bible—to guide our thoughts for the day.
Challenge. Today’s challenge is to consider the fourth of the “five W questions,” Where should I pray?
The question of where may seem unimportant to you. After all, we can pray anywhere—there is nowhere we can go where God is not (Psalm 139:7-8), so why should it matter? And in one sense, it doesn’t matter—at least, the physical location doesn’t. I think what does matter, especially if we are trying to establish a regular, personal prayer practice, are the characteristics of the “where.”
When Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, he described the type of place one should go for this type of prayer:
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father… (Matthew 6:6, NIV)
But what was he getting at? That is your challenge today—to explore one or more examples in the Bible of people engaged in personal prayer (meaning not corporate, or group prayer, which is different) and notice how those places are described. (Some people I can think of who prayed alone are Jonah, Elijah, David, and Jesus.) What words did the author use to describe the place? From the description(s) that you read, and from what Jesus told us, how would you describe a place that would be ideal for daily prayer in your own life—and can you think of such a place? Read about it, think about it, and most importantly, pray about it.
Participate. In the comments below, list three adjectives that describe an ideal place to pray. If you have decided to use or create a space like this for yourself, we’d love to know where it is! Maybe you could give someone else an idea for his or her own space. If you use Instagram, post a picture of it with your adjectives in the caption. Use #writinglifeaugustchallenge (and a public account) if you’d like others doing the challenge to see it.
I honestly love this concept—the “where of prayer.” I could do an entire study on it if I didn’t have other things lined up! But I spent some time this morning (a day late) and put together a response on Instagram, which you can access in my sidebar or by searching @rhondalorraineblog or #writinglifeaugustchallenge in Instagram itself. The photo is there—but I’ll put the text here, too.
Fabric on a chair and a cup of coffee, usually early in the morning before my children wake up. My place of prayer. But there is more to the “where” of prayer in the Bible.
Solitary. Deliberate. Desperate. Three of the words that can describe personal, Biblical prayer.
Of the three adjectives, I think the characteristic of solitude is the most important. Jesus told us to pray in secret, behind closed doors (Matt. 6:6), and often modeled the solitude of prayer by going off by himself to a remote place to pray (Matt. 14:23, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16). It’s in solitude that we are most likely to be free from distraction and free from interruption, and I think that is what is most valuable about finding a solitary place to pray.
But there are also places in our hearts that we can pray from, which is why I chose the words deliberate and desperate. We can choose to spend time praying, plan it out: that is deliberation. Or we can come to the Lord in prayer from a place of desperate need—this may be a choice, as with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46), or a place that both our poor choices and the Lord brought us to, as with Jonah praying as he was drowning and then swallowed by a fish (Jonah ch. 2).
#writinglifeaugustchallenge #challengeday9 #day9response #whereipray
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