Prayer: beyond a casual relationship #discipleship

 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

late afternoon in Tyler Run

Early this morning I met with the Saturday men’s covenant group I belong to here at WFPC. We were talking about prayer, and a specific insight emerged that I believe is worth sharing with everyone; it applies both to serious disciples and to those who own a faith that’s right on the edge of embracing a more committed walk with God.

Our conversation moved around the relationship between spontaneous prayer, and the more deliberate – or routine – prayer discipline of a regular time set aside for daily devotion.

Both are valuable, we agreed. But the author of the book we’re reading (Rediscover Jesus) suggests spontaneous prayer is never enough, and faith cannot be sustained with any depth unless it is backed up by a more disciplined prayer life.

“I tend to agree with the author,” I said. “Keeping Jesus close is like any relationship. If Rebekah and I stopped being deliberate about our life together (dates, retreats, adventures, deliberately talking about tough issues, constructing the kind of intimate conversations we had when we first got to know one another, etc), and relied exclusively on spontaneity to maintain our marriage, we’d soon fall back into a kind of surface-level familiarity and begin to grow apart.”

“This men’s group is another example,” David pointed out. “If we didn’t meet together like this, with the structure of a covenant group, it’s unlikely the intimacy would be sustained by casual encounters during the week. As it is, our spontaneous contacts are more alive, deep, and meaningful because of our Saturday morning meetings.”

prayer while hiking…

If we want a relationship with Jesus that is going somewhere – that actually leads and guides us, that changes us and equips us to be Christ’s ambassadors in this word – then we need to ground it in intentionality, nurture it via some kind of a structured devotional life, and then engage it, moment by moment, in the form of spontaneous prayer/conversation.

  • Ground it in intentionality
  • Nurture it via some kind of a structured devotional life
  • And then engage it, moment by moment, in the form of spontaneous prayer/conversation.

Peace. promise, and encouragement on the journey – DEREK 

(ps – look for an additional “foodie” post later today)


faith life relationships The Church

derekmaul View All →

Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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