Formational Prayers

By Jeff Doeringer, Coordinator of Prayer Ministries

I want to share a prayer with you that I pray numerous times each week.   I have found it helpful in my prayer life to either write my own prayer that I repeat for a few months or find one that captures something God is doing in my heart.  They usually start out really fresh and alive. But then, I can sometimes lose interest in it, making it harder to pray.  I may even want to stop praying it all together, though I know I still need it.  At some point, I know it’s okay to stop my routine of praying that prayer when I sense God is releasing me from it and bringing another one to my mind.

The prayer I’m going to share with you and invite you to pray, if it captures your heart, is by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.   I’ve been at this one for well over a year now and as you begin to pray it, I think you’ll know why it’s still around.  It’s a formational prayer and gets at the shaping work of God in our lives.  In the earlier part of our spiritual journey, God prunes some of the easy to get at branches.  This serves to encourage us and show us how it works.  But the longer we keep saying “yes” to his “come follow me”, the longer and deeper the formational work goes.  Many things in our lives can take many years to uproot and will require work in multiple areas.  In fact, it can be discouraging and seem like something is wrong.  Staying put while the Spirit does this deeper work is needed if you desire oak tree kind of followership.

As you read the prayer below, perhaps the Spirit will invite you to make this a regular prayer for a time.  And as you pray it, if things get stirred up and you’d like to pray with someone, I’d be happy to sit before God with you.

Gracious and loving God, you know the deep inner patterns of my life that keep me from being totally yours. You know the miss formed structures of my being that hold me in bondage to something less than your high purpose for my life. You also know my reluctance to let you have your way with me in these areas. Hear the deeper cry of my heart for wholeness and by your grace enable me to be open to your transforming presence.  Lord, have mercy.   (by M. Robert Mulholland, Jr.)