Summer Practices 2020
Summers in Colorado are amazing, even whilst under safer-at-home guidelines. You can give yourself to so many things and activities. As a church, we’re inviting you to give yourself to God in two particular ways. We’re calling these our summer practices. One is a daily practice, while the other is a weekly one:
Practice #1: Pray the Psalms daily
What is it?This summer, we’ll be preaching through Psalms 100–109. Our invitation to you is to use the psalm from the previous Sunday to pray throughout the week that follows (Monday through Saturday). Ex: Gary preached on Psalm 100 on June 7, so we’ll be praying that psalm June 8–13. Chris will be preaching Psalm 101 on June 14, so we’ll be praying that psalm June 15–20.
Why the Psalms?Though we were created to commune with God, we also really struggle to pray. We end up praying, as author Donald Whitney put it, “the same old things about the same old things.” The Psalms help us interrupt our prayer ruts and invite us to bring our real selves and real emotions to a real God. John Calvin called the Psalms an “anatomy of all the parts of the soul.” They teach us that no emotion is uninvited to our prayer lives, but rather each of these emotions are to be welcomed guests who have a place and a voice at the table of prayer. These include joy, pain, sorrow, anger, depression, cries against injustice, etc.
How to do it?It’s about as simple as it gets. Go through the psalm (or a portion of the psalm) line-by-line, praying what you find in the text or what it brings to mind. If nothing comes to mind, or if you don’t understand the verse, go to the next. You might choose to linger longer on one verse. Conversely, there may be only a handful of matters that prompt prayer as you go through many verses. Nothing says you have to pray over every verse. Continue praying this way until you run out of time or run out of psalm. It’s that simple! This method of prayer is found in Donald Whitney’s book Praying The Bible. If you’d like a PDF of our “Praying The Bible” Cohort Guide in order to go through the book with others, click here.
Practice #2: Prayer walk weekly
What is it?It is what it sounds like: praying while walking. We’re used to associating prayer with a closet or a church sanctuary, not city streets. Some have described prayerwalking as “on-site intercession.”
Why are we doing it?It helps us pray in a new way in the neighborhood God has placed us, seeing new things we might never have seen and immediately bringing them before God in prayer. It helps slow us down from our frenetic pace! It breaks us out of our routines and gets us out of our normal four walls. It reminds us that our neighbors are real people and there are really issues to talk to God about for our neighborhood. God’s heart is to see His kingdom come and His will be done in Denver as it is in heaven, and prayer is one of the main ways of us participating in His work! As Dallas Willard said, “Prayer is talking with God about what we’re doing together.”
How do we do it?While you can always prayerwalk alone, we also encourage you to go in groups of two or three. Consider pulling in someone from your household or someone from your Gospel Community. Before heading out, pray for the leading of the Spirit as well as spiritual protection and insight as you go! Briefly plan where you are going to walk and then do it. Remember that as you go, don’t be creepy & don’t make a scene. Here are a few directives as you go:
- Pray Scripture. While not necessary, some choose to pick a particular Scripture to pray as they walk. You can even read the Scripture out loud and then expand on that passage in your own words.
- Pray as the Spirit leads. He might give you discernment or insight into something that you can pray about.
- Pray aware of your surroundings. This includes people as well as your 5 senses. Observe houses, buildings, posters, signs, graffiti, anything that might direct your prayers. Pray with your eyes open!
- Pray for your neighbors. This is a great time to get to know your neighbors and actually pray for them. Some might want to ask neighbors what they can be praying for if they see them, or perhaps just say hi and stop to talk along the way if they’re open to conversation.