January 2017

Do you ever go through seasons when your prayer life feels mundane and emotionless? You may be in a season like that right now. Or perhaps you’ve never had a passionate prayer experience.
 
Knowing the purposes and promises of God revealed in the Scriptures can increase the zeal of your prayer life!
 
Nehemiah provides a vivid example of this. Nehemiah wasn’t a religious leader; he was a common person with a big job who loved God … not much different than us.

James* is a faithful friend who continually teaches me new things. He challenges me, he encourages me, and he loves me for who I am.

James is in Kindergarten and attends our after school program. I drive him home every day and we have great conversations in the car. One afternoon last year we drove past an old abandoned school building. I asked James what he thought about that being our school. He got excited and said, “That would be awesome, Mr. Matt!”
 
I replied, “We need to ask God to give it to us.”

I became aware that even as a contemplative person, I was having increasing difficulty getting quiet and still. I also knew that this was a problem for many people. We knew something was wrong but didn’t know what to do about it.
 
What I learned through my reading and research on the brain is that the neuropathways of our brain are reframed by the things we do over and over again. So as we interact with our devices throughout the day, our brains get wired to expect this kind of short experience, to be continually in motion.
 
We need to retrain our brains in order to slow down and to contemplate. We do this through practices that strengthen our souls and our connection to God.

Start the New Year 2017 with a daily prayer focus. Read through each day following the topics and verses as a prayer prompt for that day.
 
You can also share the calendar with someone you are discipling or with your small group.

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If you had time to slow down, you’d notice: You’re more easily distracted lately. You forget the details of your life more often than you used to. You get easily agitated and have trouble resting, even though you’re more tired than you remember ever being. Even your spiritual life is…