As a pastor and an author, I cannot tell you the number of times that I have looked back on something I have written or preached and said, “I wished I had done that a bit differently.”
Having spent a good deal of time praying through my book, Jesus: 21 Days That Can Change the Way You Pray, I have discovered there might have been a better order for the daily devotionals.
The pinnacle of this prayer book is The Longest Prayer (Days 12-19). I have come to believe this is where the prayers of Jesus lead us. This prayer seems to be the culmination of all of Jesus’ prayers. As such, the other prayers are leading us to this prayer.
From this perspective, I might would re-order the previous prayers (Days 1-11) as a method to provide a systematic method of preparing to pray The Longest Prayer.
I might suggest following the daily prayers in this order.
Day 1: The Place of Prayer
Day 3: Revealing Prayer
Day 4: God’s Will
Day 11: Sent
Day 9: I Give Myself to You
Day 5: Don’t Leave Me
Day 6: May You Not Fail
Day 7: Strengthen Your Brothers
Day 2: Blessings
Day 8: Forgiveness
And then Days 12-19: The Longest Prayer, wrapping it up with Day 10: Thanks for Listening.
Here’s why. Follow with me. Day 1: I begin by praying. I must learn to pray anywhere. If I am to trust God will put people in my path, then I must be prepared to pray with them.
Day 2: As I am learning to pray anywhere, I thank God for revealing himself to me; realizing he must also be revealing himself to others.
Day 4: I then begin praying for God’s will in my life. God’s will is first and foremost that I have a relationship with God and his son. But God’s will is also, as taught to me by Jesus, that I go into the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20).
Day 11: So therefore, I am sent. I need to pray that God will help me to believe that I sent.
Day 9: Now I have a decision to make. Will I give myself to God for this purpose? Will I commend myself to God to do what God has called me to do? If not, then going in these prayers any further has very little significance. So, hopefully in this prayer I give myself to God.
Day 5: Now I am saying to God, “Okay, I will go. Please do not leave me. I need you as I go as you have commanded.”
Day 6: I am adding, “Lord as I go, do not let me fail.”
Day 7: I am adding a prayer that God will help me strengthen others in their discipleship as I go.
Day 2: Since I am going to share the faith, I begin praying that God will bless those I encounter. Remember: The greatest blessing you can give anyone is that we have eternal life.
Day 8: The path to eternal life rests with forgiveness. So, before I ever begin going, I ask God to forgive them. Forgive others.
Days 12-19: So now I am ready for The Longest Prayer, asking God to give me a place to glorify him. Asking he will give me the words and help others to hear those words. I pray that God will protect those who believe and even, those who will believe through them, making us all one in God and Christ.
Day 10: Finally, I give thanks to God knowing that he has heard my prayers and will answer them. Now, all I must do is be ready to share freely what I have freely received.
Just another offering for a method of studying and praying the prayers of Jesus to intentionally grow in our discipleship and prayer life.
What other ways have you discovered these prayers help you grow in your discipleship?