For all Christ-Followers
It Is Time to Pray as Never Before!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: The Call to Pray
BOOK ONE: EXPOSITION
Chapter One: My Story
I Needed More
Stirred by a Nobel Theme
Chapter Two: New Covenant Prayer
Prayer the Way Jesus Taught It
Prayer the Way the Apostle Taught It
Chapter Three: The Apostle Paul on Prayer
All Kinds of Prayer
New Language of New Covenant Prayer
Chapter Four: Prayer in the Early Church
Public and Private Worship
The First Century Prayer Paradigm
The Church in the Book of Acts
Chapter Five: Ancient Wisdom
The Rule of Prayer Is the Rule of Faith
The Life of Prayer—Pray without Ceasing
The Colossians Credo
Chapter Six: A Short History of Prayer
The Ancient World (33 A.D. through 1054 A.D.)
The Medieval and Modern World (1054-Today)
BOOK TWO: INSPIRATION
Chapter Seven: Prayer and Renewal
A Flame for each of Us
Chapter Eight: Prayer and Healing
Candles in the Desert
The Gift of Tenacity
Chapter Nine: Prayer and Change
The Refiner’s Fire: A Cleansing Flame
Private Prayer Is Spiritual Warfare
Chapter Ten: Conclusion
Secrets of the Secret Place
Charge: A Call to the Life of Prayer
BOOK THREE: APPLICATION
7 Days of Prayer
Morning Prayer Sunday through Saturday
Why a book on Private Worship?
Into the Secret Place tells two stories:
- My story is one of a life-long struggle to be as effective in the Secret Place at prayer as I was in the Public Place of worship. At age 51, I began the Doctor of Worship Studies degree program at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. This was a major turning point for me. When I learned of the DWS program at IWS, I felt a strong leadership from the Lord to do the degree. This leadership proved to be correct and now I have enjoyed 20 years of writing and teaching ministry on issues of worship renewal with the tools and skills I learned at IWS. Book One in this book is a reduction of my doctoral thesis on private prayer. If one is going to do a doctoral thesis it needs to be on a subject one needs to explore. A good summary of my need for a better way to pray in private is in the chapter title, “I Needed More.”
- The other story is the story of the practice of personal prayer in what Jesus called “The Secret Place.” As much as I learned in 40 years of study and ministry in public worship, problems remained everywhere I looked. Pride and performance on the platform, Pop culture instead of Scripture as a primary source of content, strife between the pastor and the board, staff conflicts behind the scenes, and the unending worship wars in the congregation. I saw that these sad dramas may be played out on the platform, in the board rooms, in staff meetings or in whispered complaints behind the last row in the sanctuary but they are not rooted there. They are planted in that neglected garden called The Secret Place. I had been saying for years that it was time for leaders of the church to start leading private worship. My thesis was my opportunity to make a deep study of the issues involved. Throughout the history of Christianity one of the most challenging of all the apostolic challenges is this: “Pray without ceasing.” What could this mean? How is it even possible? Through the ages the answers have been many. I provide a brief historical report to give the reader at least an introduction to the history of private prayer. My emphasis remains on finding contemporary applications for the ancient principles and commands of scripture.
What did I learn in this study of private worship?
In short, I learned that my struggle with private worship was rooted in the lack of a service. Public worship worked because I had a plan and followed it. The idea I discovered from the history of private prayer was that this could also be done for the Secret Place. I courageously stretch beyond the limits of my Pentecostal tradition and investigated The Book of Common Prayer. I had to overcome my prejudices against written prayers in general but once I did a whole new, ancient, and rich method of prayer opened for me. I deal with the issue of prejudice against written prayers in Chapter One, “Stirred by a Noble Theme.” Part of my thesis, Experiment in Prayer, included a contemporary prayer book. Book Three of Into the Secret Place is 7 Days of Prayer, the latest version of the often-revised prayer book that began life with my thesis back in 2004. My these work reported to me that many contemporary worshipers were blessed by these daily prayer services.
The Apostolic Prayer Paradigm
Perhaps the most enlightening and liberating discovery I made in my thesis work was what I call the Apostolic Prayer Paradigm, also called the New Covenant Prayer Paradigm. Under the first Covenant with Israel prayer was expressed in two modes:
- Written Prayers from Scripture and those composed for the purpose of prayer, and
- Simply conversing with God, talking with God as one would a close friend.
These were the two ways Jesus and the Disciples prayed at home, in the local synagogue, and in the Temple.
With the New Covenant came a new mode of prayer: Prayer in the Spirit. This was decidedly different from the other two modes of prayer. What was the difference? What is the difference for us, today? Because of Calvary and the cleansed condition of the Believer’s heart, the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts. At the Last Supper, Jesus told the disciples much about the coming New Covenant ministry of the Holy Spirit. A summation of that ministry could be said to be this: “He has been with you and now He shall be in you.” (Jn 14:17) The New Testament makes it clear that we can now pray as directed and empowered by the Spirit of God. Here is my representation of the New Covenant/Apostolic Prayer Paradigm.
The power of prayer in the Secret Place is the transforming power of the Holy Spirit writing the Word of God into our hearts.(Heb 8:10) The book is available now from Kingdom winds and from Amazon.