Challenge 7: Reinforce the Attitudes of Faith by Following a Set Routine of Morning and Evening Prayers
One of the best ways to raise the thermostat of your devotion is to chew your way through the prayers of heroic Christians. How incredible would it be if you were able for an hour to download the spirit of Hudson Taylor, of Dawson Trotman, of John Fletcher, and use them for prayer. This is what you get to do by praying the prayers of great saints. You clothe your mind with their thoughts and infuse your spirit with their passion until, progressively, the gap between their walk with God and yours begins to narrow.
For this challenge we will be using an edited set of prayers by John Wesley to achieve two objectives: (1) to get you into the daily habit of morning and evening prayer and (2) to push your mind and heart to stretch beyond their current capacity so that you can grow into new dimensions of faith, passion, and obedience. Don’t expect all of these prayers to dissolve in your heart like a buttery piece of caramel. Men who want easy paths to godliness need to give up on the Decathlon. Expect these prayers to be like honey in a beehive, which takes courage, resolve, work - and perhaps a bit of pain - to enjoy.
There are a couple of further things you need to know about these prayers. First, each day will focus on a different spiritual aim. Thus, for example, the focus of Monday will be humility, the first beatitude. In order to help you evaluate your heart and life, besides the set prayers, there will also be questions for you to use for self-examination.
Finally, a word about how to maximize the benefit of reading through a prayer. Most importantly, read prayerfully, that is, as you read, think about the meaning of each word. Slow your pace down until you can register the main point of every phrase and follow each thought. Imagine the text to be a musical score and your heart to be a musical instrument. The aim of this exercise is to practice the prayer until you can play the melody flawlessly such that, not music, but devotion results. Also, aspire for feeling as well as understanding. Try to match the sentiment, or emotion, represented in the prayer. If the prayer is leading you into repentance, ask the Holy Spirit to give you an attitude of contrition. If the prayer is focused on thanksgiving, ask the Holy Spirit for joy.