Episode 230: The Means of Grace – Hope in Prayer
May 17, 2022
“All that increases our awareness of God is prayer.” -Rueben Job
Prayer is an invitation simply to be with God and to be in God’s presence. That’s all the hope we need, isn’t it?
While you may think, “I know all I need to know about prayer,” today Tim and Sara offer a few reminders in the form of stories about what it means to engage in prayer as a means of grace.
As you continue your journey to become more like God and embody God’s love, prayer is an essential component of being faithful. Prayer is a way to encounter God’s love and model living in God’s ways. Additionally, prayer is a way we are in a relationship with Jesus.
As Christ center leaders, we have the same responsibility to model for others how to encounter God’s grace and to be formed in Christ through the means of grace.
Here’s a reminder of all the prayers at your fingertips. There are 35 sentence prayers at the bottom of the list.
- Lord’s prayer
- Serenity prayer
- Written/journaling prayer
- Intercessory prayer
- Prayers of adoration
- Prayers of confession
- The Book of Common Prayer
- Sentence Prayer
- Popcorn Prayer
- Silent Prayer
- Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
- Prayer of St. Francis
- Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
- 35 Sentence Prayers
Exploring and engaging in any form of prayer is about the quality of your prayer life, not the type of prayer you choose to engage in. Prayer helps us encounter God’s love and transform our hearts into the image of God. That’s the point of the means of grace.
As you continue your journey of being formed into God’s image, may prayer be an encouragement, a blessing, and a powerful reminder of who and whose you are to find resources for this episode, including prayer resources.
[00:00:00] Sara: You're listening to Leadercast episode 230.
[00:00:05] You're listening to Leader Cast, Transforming Mission's podcast with Tim Bias and Sara Thomas. Providing you with resources to navigate the challenges and opportunities of courageous Christ- centered leaders
[00:00:21] Tim: Rubin Job wrote All that increases. Our awareness of God is prayer.
[00:00:29] Sara: All of that increases our awareness of God is prayer. Okay. We're going to talk about that one in. But before we do, let me remind you that you can find show notes for this firstname.lastname@example.org forward slash 2 3 0. And maybe you'll find a few prayers on that page as well to encourage you and bring you.
[00:00:53] Tim: Today, we're continuing our series on hope And the means of grace. And as a past few episodes, there are two purposes for this series. One is to encourage you as Christ centered leaders, to tend to your own faith formation. And the second is to revisit the means of grace as a source of.
[00:01:17] Sara: And in each of the episodes, we're exploring one big idea, as well as answering two questions. What is the leadership message and where is hope? So, Tim let's circle back to where you started us off in this episode. All that increases our awareness of God is.
[00:01:36] Tim: Yes. Ruben job went on to say, therefore, all you do and your daily prayer time is prayer today. We want to explore another one of the means of grace prayer. And because this topic is.
[00:01:52] so big, huge, we're continuing our exploration of hope in the means of grace. So this week is hope and prayer. And Sara, I think you have a story you want to share with.
[00:02:08] Sara: Yeah. I don't know if I'd call it a story because it's not very long, but here it is. And I've updated the language a bit from what? Mr. Hallesby is B. Here's what he had to say. My young son came in one day and stuck his little head into the doorway. In my study. He knew that he was not supposed to disturb me during work hours.
[00:02:30] And he was a little self-conscious as a result, but he looked at me with his kind round baby eyes and said, Papa, dear, I'll sit still. If you'll only let me be here with you. And of course his requests cut right to my heart is. Of course I said yes to him. And then experience gave me a great deal to think about after all.
[00:02:54] Isn't that? Not just the way we often feel with regard to God. We love to be with him just to be in God's presence.
[00:03:05] Tim: Yeah, prayer is an invitation simply to be with God and to be in God's presence. I'm just thinking, and that's all the hope we need. Isn't it.
[00:03:20] Sara: So friends, this is going to be a short episode this week.
[00:03:25] It all seriousness, Tim you're right. It is all the hope that we need simply to be with God. So here's what I'm wondering for the leaders who are listening. How often do you simply sit in the presence of God?
[00:03:41] Tim: Somehow we don't think about being in God's presence as accomplishing anything. I mean in, in the culture, in which we live, we're driven by productivity and simply being, and God's presence, doesn't feel like, , doesn't feel like I'm doing much of anything.
[00:04:00] Sara: No, it might not feel like you're doing much of anything. And I know what you're pointing to. And so when I hear you say that everything in me wants to shout, yes, you are accomplishing something you're spending time with God. You don't have a quote unquote result to show for it. But what if the result is being formed in the image of God?
[00:04:26] Well, it seems passive. There's something very active about being still in God's presence.
[00:04:34] Tim: I'm still thinking about that story you shared at the beginning of, if I sent real still, can I sit here and be with you? I remember a story. I won't tell it, , as well as what mother Teresa tells it, but she says she was once being interviewed and she was asked, if she ever talked with God and she said, well, yes, I talk with him every day.
[00:05:02] I talk with him and then I listen. And the person who was in interviewing her ask her, well, what does God say to you? And she says nothing. He's silent. I just sit and listen.
[00:05:16] I think that's the key to prayer and that story, I'm still hearing that story, man. I just come in and sit with you if I'm real quiet. I'm just wondering how often. How often we set just in God's presence, being quiet.
[00:05:38] Sara: Yeah. So we've given you two examples today. One from mother Teresa, one from the little boy and his dad about what it means to be a person of prayer for mother Teresa, she engaged in the means of grace. She was on a lifelong journey to be come more like God to embody God's love. And how often have we lifted her?
[00:06:07] As a model of God's love, , a model of living in God's ways. And yet, are we doing it or not? Are we modeling our life after mother Theresa, but are we seeking to be in relationship with God? . As Christ center leaders, we have the same responsibility to model for others, how to encounter God's grace and to be formed in Christ through the means of.
[00:06:34] Tim: Sara, what I think I'm hearing you saying is that prayer like searching the scripture. Isn't something to check off the list and say, well, I did a spiritual discipline today. I prayed today and I got to tell you sometimes when I listen, uh, I hear people say when I was praying this. And I, I applaud that.
[00:06:56] I think that's good, but why aren't you praying now? Prayer is actually being formed in Christ. It's about being in God's presence and it doesn't even need words. It can, it can, but it doesn't have to be. And I'm just thinking that if we're aware of being in God's presence, , setting still, even in a group of people, you can be so aware of.
[00:07:29] God that God shows up in the people around you. So I've gone off someplace else. You've got me thinking about prayer today.
[00:07:40] Sara: You're pointing to a life of prayer. And, and how do we live that out? And maybe that's where we need to go. , part of what I think about when I think about prayer, the different ways that we pray. So maybe we are continuing down that road that living your life as a prayer is, is one of them.
[00:08:01] We also have prayer in the Psalms. We have prayers in hymns. We have prayers that are familiar to many like the Lord's prayer or the serenity prayer. Some people may write out their prayers.
[00:08:19] Tim: And don't forget intercessory and personal prayer.
[00:08:22] Sara: Hello, a couple of the most obvious forms of prayer,
[00:08:27] Tim: and some of that you've mentioned, but, adoration, confession. Thanks.
[00:08:33] Sara: and there's a few more forms of prayer.
[00:08:35] Tim: And prayers for yourself and the ministry you, your lead.
[00:08:40] Sara: Are you hiding any other forms of prayer there? Tim bias?
[00:08:42] Tim: Well, there are some, there's a book of common prayer there. Sentence prayer I've even been in groups, whether it's popcorn, prayer, or so concept prayer.
[00:08:56] Sara: Oh, and I thought that this episode was going to be over quick. What you're reminding me of is, common prayer liturgy for ordinary radicals. It's an updated version of the book of common prayer. So maybe what we need to consider having name all these different forms of prayer or methods of. you journaling singing, spoken, silent prayer, popcorn.
[00:09:21] Prayer is, as you named is the importance of the quality of your prayer life. When I think about the mother Teresa quote and the Reuben Jo quote, and the story that I shared, all three of those point to a life or the practice of prayer and all of that. Uh, point to the point being, being in God's presence.
[00:09:51] Tim: I point to prayer is a means of grace, a spiritual discipline that, oh, what's it do. It helps us encounter God's love and transform our hearts and to the image of God. That's the point to the means of grace.
[00:10:08] Sara: So are we going to conclude this episode with a time of silent prayer, Tim?
[00:10:15] Tim: Well, we could say that the next 10 minutes we're in silent prayer and have everybody sit in the presence of God as we set it up on the zoo,
[00:10:26] Sara: Oh, goodness.
[00:10:28] What wise words do you have for our listeners, Tim?
[00:10:34] Tim: Oh, Sara is this important is prayer is this episode went pretty quickly. So maybe what we can do is have people w once the episode concludes is to take a few minutes just to sit in silence and listen to God.
[00:10:51] Sara: May I interrupt you before you go anywhere?
[00:10:54] Tim: Yes.
[00:10:55] Sara: and share another story. Maybe I've shared this story before. It was when I was in seminary and I was serving in full-time ministry at a local church in seminary full-time and in our, what we called core group, the question was asked was how do you pray?
[00:11:14] And where do you pray? And I said, I pray in my car. Because honestly, that was where at that point in time in my life, I spent so much of my time going from one place to the next, going back and forth between church and seminary, between seminary and home, between home and church. And so that was every time I got in my car, I prayed.
[00:11:42] And I remember one of my classmates saying, you don't close your eyes. Do you. But it was one of, and this sounds silly as someone who lives alone, but it was one of the only places in my life at that point in time that it was quiet and that there weren't other distractions. I could turn off the radio, turn off everything and, you know, take that 45 minutes that I was on the road to drive to the seminary that took 45 minutes driving home.
[00:12:17] That was my, that was my prayer time. That was when I was in the presence of God. And yeah, I was on the move, but, but that was the quiet space. So I guess I wanted to share that to say sometimes the places and ways that we pray are unconventional to other people,
[00:12:38] Tim: but, but even driving, you could encounter the presence of.
[00:12:44] Sara: right.
[00:12:45] Tim: right.
[00:12:46] over the years. There are several things that, well, number one, that I've learned about prayer, but then number two, just the practice of prayer as a means of grace that, um, now it's been almost 30 years that I've prayed the same prayer every day.
[00:13:05] Now, does that mean it's not meaningful? No, it's the prayer. Over the years, something has been added to it in some way or another. And it's a prayer for my formation and included in that prayer time is also St. Francis prayer. Make me an instrument of your peace and, uh, John Wesley's prayer. the covenant prayer.
[00:13:31] I'm no longer moan, but it's fine. Those are prayers that come every day and, and I didn't leave out the Lord's prayer that comes to, but along with the prayers that I, that, that I've developed, and I do make it sound like that it's me, that, that have helped make me who I am. , and that's usually in the early part of the day, but at night, , plenum reflecting back upon the day.
[00:14:01] , it's pretty short. Thank you God, for the day. And for the people who have helped me become who you created me to be today, maybe I've got it backwards. I don't know. But, prayer has been more of a formation for me as I've learned to sit in silence. , I'm not good at sitting in silence.
[00:14:24] Because it's not always God who I hear, it's all this other stuff in my head that I hear that I need to push aside. So God can say I'm still in the midst of all this confusion and chaos. , but that's, for me when I understand Wesley, , using prayer as a means of grace, it certainly has kept me in connection with God and it keeps me looking for God and the people I meet each day.
[00:14:53] So it's taken different forms over the years. , but it's still, still there. Every.
[00:15:03] Sara: Thank you for those reminders. And let me remind you once again, prayer is an invitation simply to be with God, to be in God's presence. And that's all the hope that we need as you continue your journey of being formed into God's image. May prayer, be an encouragement, a blessing, a powerful reminder of who and whose you are to find resources for this episode, including prayer resources, head over to transforming mission.org forward slash 2 3 0.
[00:15:36] And remember who you are is how you lead bye for now.
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