Hello regular readers of Pastor Chris’s blog!
My name is Mckenzi Marlow, and I have recently graduated college. Idling between college and grad school, I asked Pastor Chris if there was any way for me to get involved with the church this summer. To my surprise, he asked me to do a blog series on prayer. For the next three weeks, I will be attempting different pastors’ prayer methods, recording my progress, and sharing with all of you here. Though I’m nervous for the challenge of communicating my thoughts on spiritual things, I am excited to dive deeper into my own prayer life and grow closer to my Heavenly Father.
For this week’s post, I checked out Dr. Ronnie Floyd’s prayer method. Dr. Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church and founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry. In an article I found on Crosswalk.com, Floyd speaks of prayer as a “spiritual journey.” Before I read that phrase, I’d always thought of prayer as simple communication with God, like sending a passive report to your boss once a day to check in and make sure your requests are being heard. Dr. Floyd, however, understands prayer as an active expedition into our spiritual lives. When we pray, our “spiritual destination” is open communication with God, but to “reach [it] effectively and consistently” we must have a plan (Floyd). If there is anything I need after a year of pandemic and pandemonium, it’s consistent, effective communication with my Creator, Lord, and Father.
Though the act of prayer is more complex than I had imagined, Dr. Floyd assured me his plan was “simple, sequential, specific, and spiritual.” To my delight, he was correct. Usually, my prayers, whether silent or aloud, become confused or distracted by other thoughts in my head instead of staying engaged with God. Floyd’s method not only helped me talk to God, it gave me an ordered, specific way of going about it, and if there’s anything my Type A brain loves it’s order and specificity.
Dr. Floyd breaks down his process into three easy steps. The first step is simple: read your Bible. According to Floyd, “The Word of God and prayer go hand in hand.” I’m embarrassed to admit that in my eighteen years as a cognitive Christian, I had never thought to pick up my Bible before I prayed. I had heard of praying through the Psalms before, so Monday night I grabbed my black leather Bible and flipped to a random page. My eyes scanned, “You, God, are my God / Earnestly I seek you” (Psalm 63). Apparently, God was glad I’d finally figured out how to text him back. I continued to use this Psalm to open my prayers each night, and as I grew more familiar with the neat lines of black text, I grew more familiar with my Father.
If the first item on Floyd’s list is simple, the second is more so: Pray. In the Crosswalk article, Floyd outlines some principles for us to follow. To begin, we should confess our sins. I wasn’t sure how to do this since I know I sin a lot in a day, sometimes without even realizing it, but I don’t necessarily keep track. I decided to do a blanket confession. I also asked God to reveal each sin to me as it happens so we can work on eradicating those together. The purpose of my walk with God is to become more like Jesus; though I know I can never be perfect, I can at least try to be good. The best part is, I know God hears my confessions and accepts my repentance each time I stumble.
After confession, Floyd says to praise God. That one’s easy! Or is it? God has done so much both in the Bible and in my own life. . .how can I manage to praise him for everything? Floyd recommends we focus on three of God’s attributes. This week I chose His patience, goodness, and power. In my Bible, I flipped to moments in Genesis and Exodus that exhibit His power. I chose to listen to “Good Good Father” to meditate on His goodness. For patience, I reminisced about all the times in my life He had to patiently wait for me to turn back to Him. As Floyd’s method became routine for me, I noticed each of God’s attributes are linked together. Saving the Israelites from slavery with ten plagues is an example not only of His awesome power, but of His goodness and patience as well.
After we confess our sins and praise God, Floyd writes we must thank Him. This week I thanked God for tiny things in my life like the double rainbow I saw coming back from the gym, and the women’s Bible study I’ve been able to find community in this summer. Next come petition and intercession. I tend to confuse the two categories, but Floyd defines petition as “prayer on personal needs” while intercession is praying for other people. To my delight, he even provided us with a schedule for intercessory prayers! I found following it to be rewarding because I was able to devote equal time to each subject instead of rushing through everything on my prayer list without a backwards glance. I’ve included the rotation below:
Dr. Ronnie Floyd’s Weekly Intercession Rotation:
Sunday: World missions/missionaries
Monday: Lost and unchurched
Tuesday: the United States
Thursday: Christian leaders
Friday: Your local church
Petition and intercession were familiar to me, since most of my past prayers have involved a mixture of the two. For his final prayer step, Floyd devotes an extra category to requests “so critical [they require] daily attention from you for a specific time or until the crisis has passed.” These are called urgent requests. I didn’t have any this week, thank goodness, so I chose to skip this part though I appreciated Floyd’s separation. I tend to throw everything into the urgent category without a second glance, but differentiating between intercession, petition, and urgent reminded me God has everything under control. I was able to relax and simply enjoy speaking to Him.
The third and final step in Dr. Floyd’s prayer method is: journal. I was surprised to see that the type of entry Floyd encourages is a one page letter to God. He explains letters are “concrete” and “[provide] a sense of relief from your burdens,” and I wholeheartedly agree. Floyd writes, “As you document your walk with God. . .your faith in the power of prayer will increase.” At the beginning of this week, I was hopeful. I mean, that’s what this whole blog project is about: Mckenzi rekindling her faith in the power of prayer. And here, at the end of the week, the night before this blog post is due, I’m elated to report I already feel a sense of plush peace when I begin to pray instead of exhausted duty. I flipped back through my letters before editing this post, and I noticed the ones from the beginning of the week are concerned with petitions and intercessions. At the end, however, they are odes to God’s attributes and His love for me. The letters grow more personal as the days pass, and I am thankful I finally feel as if I have a true intimate relationship with a Heavenly Father even as I serve the Great I Am.
I found Dr. Ronnie Floyd’s prayer method to be easy to follow and successful in deepening my relationship with God. This Monday, I’ll be attempting to follow a new prayer method. I am excited to grow even further in my relationship with God, and I hope by the end of this project I’ll be able to create my own personalized prayer method using all of the techniques I learn.
Until next week,
Floyd, Ronnie. “How to Have a Personal Prayer Plan.” Crosswalk.com, Crosswalk.com, 19 May 2017, https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/prayer/how-to-have-a-personal-prayer-plan.html