“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” [Mat 6:9 ESV] Eastman’s prayer pattern begins with praise. This is how the Lord began his prayer when teaching his disciples how to prayer; he began by asking that GOD’s name would be set apart. This is fitting, because we are his creation, made for him. As the Westminster Shorter catechism answers in its first question, the chief end of man is to glorify God, [a] and to enjoy him for ever. [b] (see below for verses) Praise lends it self to this kind of relationship because it decentralizes self as an unselfish act that puts GOD at the heart of what we are doing. (pg.23) Eastman offers four categories to consider during your opening time of praise:
- Praise GOD For His Name: Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! [Psa 115:1 ESV]
- Praise GOD For His Righteousness: Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. [Psa 35:28 ESV]
- Praise GOD For His Creation:Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! [Psa 105:2 ESV]
- Praise GOD For His Word: In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise… [Psa 56:10 ESV]
Looking at Psalm 19 he points out that we can pray GOD’s word to praise his word. This is great because it begins and end with the Lord. 7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. [Psa 19:7-9 ESV] One could literally pray this back to the Lord or use it in paraphrase, adding to it your own words of exultation. Chapter Summary: (pg 28)
- Sanctify, or set aside, a period of time specifically to praise God at the beginning of your prayer.
- Select a specific theme for your praise, such as GOD’s righteousness, his word, or his creative acts.
- Drawing on your selected theme, declare vocally all that God is.
- Expand your theme as much as possible. Allow GOD to reveal new themes for worship as your time of praise develops.
My Personal Reflection: I begin all my prayers with praise, as I am sure most of you do. The idea of picking a theme is a good one and one of the way I do this is going through the Psalms, looking for a particular Psalm related to something for which I want to praise GOD. I often read it and them begin my prayer. I will sometimes go line-by-line, praying the scripture and then expanding on that particular praise in my own words. Don’t feel rushed to move on if your time is up and your are feeling close to the Lord and want to continue in praise. Even Eastman points this out in the beginning of this book when he says that this is a tool that should be used as a guide, not as a legalistic regimen. Did you read the summary of the one-hour prayer guide yet? Have you tried it? I would love to hear about your experience. I have been using a modified plan. I have one that is strictly by the Eastman road map, but 30 minutes long, and one that is geared more toward longer times of intercession so I can pray for those I know are in need of prayer. Both of these change from time to time as I find that I need more time in one area or another, and i am trying to do this a couple times each day besides shorter prayers of praise, intercession, or petition throughout the day. BTW, if you are reading this, know that I am praying for you. Will you pray for me?
[a]. Ps. 86:9; Isa. 60:21; Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Rev. 4:11 [b]. Ps. 16:5-11; 144:15; Isa. 12:2; Luke 2:10; Phil. 4:4; Rev. 21:3-4