Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Techniques of personal prayer - A Teaching Note for March 30, 2014

Speaking in general terms, private, or personal, prayer, is by nature “free-flowing”.  It is a loving conversation with the God who loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for you.  In it you pour out expressions of your love and faithfulness, and “remind” Him of your needs and the needs of others by offering your prayers and intercessions.
Although we are bidden to “pray at all times”, what we are talking about here is setting apart a time, or two (or more?) a day to pray.  Find a quiet place (Jesus said to go into your room and shut the door).  Take a few deep breaths to try to stop the noise of the day in your head.  And then begin praying.
Some people find it helpful to start with some written prayers.  Personal Prayer after one of the Daily Offices is always a good time.  Or devotional books such as the St. Augustine’s Prayer Book offer many options for “getting the juices following”.
Ascetical Theologians (those who study the Art of Prayer) recommend a 5-fold prayer form to help guide personal prayer.  They form the acronym ACTIP.
Adoration – this is worship, acknowledging God as God.  It is here that we spend a little time praising him for His goodness.  As one writer said, adoration is like goopy love between newlyweds.
Confession – admitting failing in light of God’s expectations for us.  This doesn’t have to be daily wailing and breast-beating, but rather a daily inventory of failings, seeking God’s forgiveness and help in avoiding such pitfalls again.
Thanksgiving – The old adage of “counting your blessings” is a good one.  It helps to put us into an Attitude of Gratitude for the blessings and mercies God has show to us.
Intercession – praying for others.  Keep a list of people’s prayer requests, make notecards of people and ministries you want to pray for regularly.  Pray for St. John’s and her clergy.
Petition – Praying for you own needs.  This order is not random.  If we start off concentrating on Him, and then others, putting ourselves last, we will find this will aid our struggle to be humble as well.   But be sure you remember to add your needs too!