Tag Archives: prayer

I recently finished Roger Steer’s biography of the late Anglican pastor and renowned author John R.W. Stott titled Basic Christian. Thank you InterVarsity Press for sending this book to me during the Christmas season. What an amazing, full and exemplary life was lived by this giant of the evangelical faith. I have read several of his books over the years, most notably his The Cross of Christ (several times) which I learned in this biography was the book he considered his greatest work. But I regret that I never had a chance to hear him speak nor to learn more about his private and public life. I am especially intrigued that he was an avid birdwatcher and always took time to enjoy his hobby all over the world and sometimes at great personal expense and risk. This encourages me somewhat as I also have some obsessions (like bluegrass music) which is sometimes hard to explain to people in ministry circles. I have often suggested that people who do ministry should take up a hobby, an “other life,” a passion outside of ministry that is healthy, invigorating, fun and irrational. I’ve discovered that pastors and ministry leaders who do not have such an “other life” often become full of themselves and are more likely to burn out or fall into an other life which is more often than not self-destructive.

One big take-away for me from this book about Rev. Stott (and there are many) is his morning prayer which Steer reprints and notes that John prayed it daily. “Each morning (usually before five a.m.) John swung his legs over the side of his bed and before placing a foot on the ground started the day (whenever possible) with this Trinitarian prayer.”

“Good morning heavenly Father, good morning Lord Jesus, good morning Holy Spirit. Heavenly Father I worship you as the creator and sustainer of the universe. Lord Jesus I worship you, Savior and Lord of the world. Holy Spirit I worship you, sanctifier of the people of God. Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Heavenly Father I pray that I may live this day in your presence and please you more and more. Lord Jesus, I pray that this day I may take up my cross and follow you. Holy spirit, I pray that this day you will fill me with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in my life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons in one God, have mercy upon me, Amen.”

I want to make this prayer mine also. And I want to go back and read more of Stott’s books now that I know more about the man. I am at an age when I am seeking out contemporary mentors–dead or alive–who lived their lives completely dedicated to God with immense integrity all the way to the end of their lives. I have found one such mentor in the life and ministry of John R.W. Stott.

 


Category: Ministry

henri-nouwenWhen I was editor of Youthworker Journal many years ago I conducted a phone interview with the late priest Henri Nouwen for an issue we were doing on personal spirituality (spring 1993). I recently found the mini-cassette of that interview tucked away in a desk drawer and thought I’d make a digital copy of it since old cassettes tend to deteriorate over time.

You can listen to our conversation below. It took place about a year after Marci and I (and six other friends) spent a week with Henri at his residence in L’Arche Daybreak near Toronto, Ontario, Canada in December 1991. We talked a little bit about that time together at the end of the interview.

The topic of this particular interview is prayer and in the magazine we titled the article “Gazing at Jesus: A Conversation with Henri Nouwen.”

While this interview was edited for the magazine article, no editing was done on these audio recordings. I did however break it into four segments. They vary in length, from about seven minutes to more than thirteen. Only the first question is indicated below.

After listening to this 15-year-old conversation again, I am re-challenged to shift some priorities in my life and spend more time with God in prayer. How about you?

If the mp3 audio player is not displaying or functioning properly below, just click on the links and you will hear the interview in your Quicktime or Windows Media Player.

Segment One: “Why is prayer so important?”

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Segment Two: “How do you ‘listen’ to God when you are praying?”

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Segment Three: “What is contemplative prayer?”

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Segment Four: “What is a spiritual director?”

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Category: Ministry, Personal