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Summary: Eighth in a Series on Prayer drawing a pattern of prayer from the Psalms

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“Divine Dialogue” Pt 8

Patterns of Prayer – T.I.M.E.S. with God

I. PERSPECTIVE ON PRAYER -- What is prayer?

II. PURPOSE OF PRAYER – Why Pray?

III. PREREQUISITES FOR PRAYER – Who can pray?

IV. PROMISES REGARDING PRAYER – What does God promise to do?

V. PURPOSES FOR UNANSERED PRAYER – Why doesn’t God answer?

VI. POSTURES IN PRAYER – What should I do with my body?

VII. PASSION OF PRAYER – What priority should I give to prayer?

VIII. PATTERNS OF PRAYER – What should I pray?

The Bible does not prescribe any specific prayer except perhaps the Disciple’s Prayer taught by Jesus might be considered a model prayer to pray. There are numerous examples all through the Bible from short to long prayers. As we mentioned last week, if prayer is dialogue with God, then such conversation is not something you can script. The content of the prayer follows the heart and mind of the individual. Just as a written poem or song may communicate a sentiment of our heart to someone, a “scripted prayer” may serve to better express the depths of our heart. Just as a writing out a well-thought out letter of request to someone best communicates our desires, a written-out prayer may better serve to express our requests to God. At times, we find ourselves at a loss as to what to pray for one another as well as ourselves in accord with God’s will. Taking clues from recorded prayers of God’s servants in the Bible proves an invaluable resource. Last week we explored the pattern given by Jesus to His disciples.

A. The Disciples Model Prayer

This week I offer a pattern I observe in the Bible prayer and song book; the Psalms.

B. T.I.M.E.S. with God

I have suggested this pattern previously but thought it would be good to review it again and take some time to practice it. Years ago, I did an extended study of the Psalms. The Psalms consist of prayer songs used by the Israelites in their worship. These are prayers inspired by the Holy Spirit. These are prayers that address most every subject and emotion. A good number (73 of 150) of the Psalms were written by King David who God Himself identified as a “A man after My heart”. 1 Sam 13:4; Acts 13:22

Given these factors, I decided to look for some sort of common elements that would aid my own personal prayer and worship practice. Many have observed technical patterns in the Psalms such as Lament, Imprecatory (God get ‘em), Messianic, Ascent, Royal, National, Penitential. I focused on common elements in all the Psalms beyond the specific literary forms. I settled on five reoccurring categories that don’t necessarily appear in every Psalm or in any specific order but appear throughout the book of Psalms.

Talk – Invite – Meditate – Embrace -- Submit

To help you remember, it spells out T.I.M.E.S. with God.

TALK (“O God, I…”)

The Psalms express every category of emotion. This category deals with the expression of both negative and positive emotion. Not all emotional expression in the Psalms is negative. Many phrases express extreme joy and wonder. In this phase, we don’t ask God for anything. We honestly share how we feel now. This honesty in prayer clears the way for meaningful interaction with God and generally leads to a perspective change which facilitates an emotional change. God grants the freedom to simply tell Him how we feel as we share our heart.

He knows what we feel anyway. There is no sense trying to mask it or hide it. Since the Holy Spirit sanctioned such expression and superintended its recording, God must be OK with it.

Here are some examples.

Lord, how my foes increase! There are many who attack me.

Many say about me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah Psalm 3:1

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Psalms 13:1-2

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing; my strength has failed because of my iniquity, and my body has wasted away. Ps 31:9

I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me. O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit. Psalms 30:1-3

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