By Penny Vinden

Revolutionize the Way You Pray

Mombinou Dorichamou is Assistant to the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES) Regional Secretary for Francophone Africa and lives in Benin. Recently he discovered a book on meditative prayer. He writes“Prayer had become somehow a routine, a mechanical activity, a duty that I performed as a Christian. I felt the need to revolutionize the way I pray.”

I asked him to write a prayer journal as he experimented with a new form of prayer which integrates prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and silence. Here are some excerpts from Mombinou’s diary, where he traces some joys and difficulties he encountered in his adventure in prayer.

January 25: I realize that I have trouble concentrating when I pray. Being silent in my heart is rather more difficult than I thought.

January 27: Today I come up against a major obstacle. I realize that my daily agenda is more important than the time I spend in dialogue with God. But why? Is it because, Lord, I love things more than you? I sing the song “the pleasures of the world don’t attract me anymore” but I cannot live it.

January 28: I meditated today on John 1. I realize that Jesus took flesh in the world. Today and every day, I have to let him “take flesh” in me so that my life and ministry will be pleasing to him.

January 31: Thank you Lord for helping me understand that prayer, this act of personal encounter with you, is not the result of human effort. It is a divine work that you produce in me so I can know you more.

February 1: I take full advantage of prayer when I learn to drop at your feet everything that deprives me of the joy of life and I rest in you.

February 2: Today I realize that my silence speaks more to God than my words. He already knows my intentions and requests. He only needs to read in my heart my total dependency in order to take away my burdens.

February 4: Reading and meditating on your word, especially on this day dedicated to fasting, I transcend my physical needs to focus my thoughts on you. Now I understand that I must pay particular attention to my thoughts. You want them pure. You want them just and honorable. You want them fixed on you.

February 6: The more I meditate on what you have created the more I realize I do not know you. The more I meditate the more I thirst to meditate. I spend 30 to 45 minutes meditating without even noticing that I do. Time loses its importance.

February 7: Finally I realized that the purpose of prayer is not presenting a list of requests to God but to submit my heart. If I am going to exercise daily discipline it would be good to learn to surrender my heart to God continually.

February 12: In my prayers, the sovereignty of God is becoming more and more important to me. Lord, I understand that everything that you refuse to give me is because of love, not out of malice or even less from unwillingness or inability.

February 13: Today I see the answer to my prayer from nearly three months ago. It is not what I wanted, but I see that it was the best decision for God’s glory as I prayed, “Thy will be done.” Thank you.

I’m challenged by this young man, by his openness to God, his persistence in wanting to know God better. May he inspire us to take time to revolutionize our prayer life so that we might be more effective in God’s kingdom.

What is God teaching you as you spend time in prayer?

When not writing for the IFES Global Communications team, Penny is building and facilitating community amongst IFES students and staff around the world. Her other loves include ministry to international students, hill walking, and finding bargains.

InterVarsity is one of many student movements around the world that make up IFES. Check out their blog to read more about God's work among students all over the globe.

During Holy Week, follow Mombinou's lead by meditating on Scripture. Allow it to shape your prayers. Even more, allow the Holy Spirit to shape you, so that you can truly pray, "Thy will be done." The last prayers of Jesus while he was on earth are a great place to start:

Jesus' prayer in the garden of Gethsemane

Jesus' prayers for his followers

Jesus' prayer from the cross

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