Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Praying in the new year

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you can make peace with 2013 and that 2014 is full of God’s good things.

I am having a quiet night at home. I had thought about inviting some people over, but the reality is that my place is very small, there is nothing at all to be seen from it, and I haven’t actually made any new friends as yet in Canberra, so I don’t really know what I had in mind. I do have a lot of old friends here, but, I don't know who's in town and presumably if they were doing something (and many of them have small children so probably not) and wanted me to be there, they’d have asked. But I can’t complain – some time ago I had an invitation to go camping on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour, but because I hadn’t even moved then, and had no idea where I might be, and it required a booking and commitment, I thought it best to decline at the time. So I turned down my opportunity for the spectacular.

In the mean time, at the risk of sounding absurdly pious, I actually thought I would take the opportunity to reflect and get some things in order, and I have been writing out some prayer cards. Back when I read A Praying Life by Paul Miller, he suggested the use of prayer cards, and the things is, I actually tried a version of this method some years ago. (Tell me I am not the only person who has tried (and failed at) about 600 different prayer systems.) I have been meaning to revisit this idea since, especially because I still have the cards, so I dug the box out from where it has been going derelict in my bedside cupboard and thought I’d resurrect it. Here are a few pictures of some of the wonders I found inside.

There are some complicated and intense little cards and bits of stuff to be found in there. But now that I am older and wiser I realise that the key to sticking with these things is keeping it simple. I usually get all zealous in a burst of enthusiasm and set the bar way too high for myself, and soon fizzle out with the impossibility of sustaining my own systems.

What Miller suggests is card system like the list below (taken from the book), with a bible verse and a few key areas for prayer written on it (not a list of 56 things because you got on a roll one night and thought you’d cover absolutely everything), and on some of them, like suffering people, are just names. So, that was my new aim.

* 4-10 family cards (one for each person)
* 1-3 people-in-suffering cards
* 1 friends card
* 1 non-Christian card
* 1 church leadership card
* 1 small-group card
* 1 missionary, ministries card
* 1-3 world- or cultural issues card
* 3 work cards
* 1 co-workers card
* 3-5 repentance cards (things I need to repent of)
* 3-5 hope or big-dream cards

Here’s to keeping this going for at least some of 2014.


Gordon Cheng said...

Good one Ali! May your prayers receive the fullness of God's spiritual blessing in answer, and may all your New Years be happy ones.

Ali said...

Why thank you Gordon. Very kind of you! I hope your 2014 is filled with truly good things also!