We have created these 31 prayers, one for each day of the month, as a way of giving structure to our daily prayer time. These prayers are primarily composed of Scripture, especially from the book of Psalms, which has been the primary prayer book of God’s people. There is also an emphasis on the Words of Jesus, especially taken from the Sermon on the Mount, historically seen as powerful summary of Jesus’ call to discipleship and description of life in the kingdom of God. We have also included prayers by those who walked closely with Jesus throughout the centuries, who represent different Christian traditions, reminding us that God’s beauty, and fullness cannot be contained in just one Christian tradition. We have found that these prayers can help us go deep with God by rooting us in who He is and His grand story, that we are part of. They connect us with the Church universal. We join with others who are praying the same prayers. They give us words when we lack our own and strength during the days of darkness and doubt that we all encounter.
These prayers are framed around six sections:
These prayers are the creative outflow of the Apprenticeship to Jesus fellowship, as we have journeyed the past ten years together seeking to grow in our love for Jesus, as his friends working with him to see his kingdom come and will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.
It is our hope that these daily prayers be a conduit of grace to help us grow in the practice of being with God This is where our hearts will be reshaped into the likeness of Jesus. It is in His presence where we will receive clarity and strength to face each day with all of its challenges, ready to be a servant of all in the name of Jesus.
-Ryan Thurman, friend and follower of Jesus
More Thoughts on Prayer
Prayer is Being with God
Prayer means yearning for the simple presence of God.
It is, loving communication with God.
All we need for prayer is an open heart
When we talk of prayer today it can bring up a variety of emotions and ideas. For some prayer can trigger a sense of shame because they think they don't do ‘it’ enough. While for others the topic of prayer can reveal deep rooted anger or frustration because they feel ‘it’ does not work. Many of us know prayer is important and desire like the first friends of Jesus to not only learn how to pray but also to grow in it. I wonder if we might benefit from a fresh perspective; a rethinking of what prayer is. I believe prayer in its essence is about relationship. It is longing for the simple presence of God, who created us, loves us and is always with us. George Miley writes,
In its most basic form, prayer is simply coming present to God and dwelling in His Presence. God is always right there near us. It is not God who has left us, but we who have left Him. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, in their un-fallen state, knew unbroken communion with God. This is the condition for which the human soul was created. Our fallen state has left us spending large amounts of our time without a conscious awareness of God’s Presence. This absence has left a huge, inescapable hole in our hearts. In moments of honest self-awareness, we know that there is a profound yearning within us for the Presence of God.
What is essential in our journey of prayer is to keep it centered on relationship and recognize like any relationship we have, it requires quality time and effort to build and maintain intimacy and trust, which is essential for a loving relationship. This is what we were created for; just like fish were made for water, so are we are made for prayer. Being with God is deeply satisfying! Jesus knew this, for him, prayer was always more than a form of words expressing praise, sorrow, needs, or desires. Prayer, was recognition that God was constantly present at every moment. For Jesus, prayer involved speaking with God, and a turning towards God and most deeply it meant being with God.
We learn to pray from Jesus
We who long to walk more closely with our Father and be drawn more deeply into his heart, can learn so much from Jesus. Perhaps the most important and foundational lesson about prayer that we can learn from Jesus is that there is a rhythm of prayer which can be integrated into our everyday life. For Jesus prayer was habitual.
Most individuals and communities who develop a meaningful life of prayer that grows over the years do so because they develop regular habits of prayer. What this looks like—how often we pray, or where, or when, or how—is not the point. What is necessary is to discover a pattern of prayer that fits well with our personality and unique situation, and then commit ourselves to do everything we can to plant it into our lives so deeply that it becomes difficult to uproot. Prayer can become as natural and integrated in our lives as eating or sleeping. But it takes work to develop the habit. Again, looking at Jesus, we see he had the custom of going to the synagogue to pray. He was known by those around him for his habit of withdrawing into solitude to be with His Father., as well as slipping away in the early mornings to pray. We learn from Jesus that being with God is about knowing our Father’s heart and his will and receiving the grace to hear and obey him.
We grow in prayer as we receive the gifts of the Church
The Church is the body of Christ. The Church is holy and beautiful because of Christ and at the same time it is frail and broken because it is made up of men and women. Throughout history Christ has inspired many gifts to be created through the Church. Christian worship is a primary gift that goes back to the writing of Paul in Colossians where he encourages Christians to, “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your heart.”
From its earliest beginnings Christian worship developed within two settings: The first was the gathering of believers on the first day of the week. Here worship was structured around the gospel and the shared meal. The second was a rhythm of worship and prayer ordering weekdays. This was typically done in smaller groups, such as families, or individually. It came to be understood as the Church’s work. One of the fruits of this second rhythm of worship and prayer was the development of written prayers that would eventually be compiled into prayer books so that followers of Jesus could have a guide for their daily prayer time.
Written Prayers help us in our prayer journey
In our current Christian culture we tend to see ourselves as having the primary role in prayer and worship and we feel pressure to express our love and devotion to God in a genuine way. This can lead us to rely heavily on our feelings, do we feel close to God, do we feel passion, do we feel good. Written prayers remind us that God is the primary actor. He initiates relationship. He is always with us, and pursues us when we leave Him. We learn to trust that whether we feel God’s presence or not, He is with us and we will be met and reshaped by Him. God initiates we respond.
1) Written prayers give us words: I would imagine that there have been multiple times in which you, like me, felt the need to pray, but felt at a loss for words. Written prayers can help us learn Scripture and specific prayers, “so that one day when you are so completely low, so profoundly desperate that you cannot call out of your soul any spontaneous expression, any spontaneous wording, you will discover that these words come up and offer themselves to you as a gift of God, as a gift of the Church, helping our simple lack of strength. And then you really need the prayers you have learnt and made a part of yourself.”
2) Written prayers create a structure that can help us remain balanced, so our time with God does not focus too much on ourselves but remains rooted in God and also on others, both near and far. They remind us their are prayers that we share in common, as part of the human family. It is deeply encouraging to realize that other followers of Jesus have walked the same path we are walking and felt the same sorrow, pain, joy, and hope we are experiencing.
3)Written prayers connect us with the Church universal. It is humbling to know that around the world many are praying these same psalms and prayers that we are. In fact, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-3) who are the authors of some of these prayers and have prayed the same prayers that we are now. Finally, we are joining with a large heavenly host who are forever offering similar words of praise and blessing to God. (Revelation 7:11)