Thursday, 9 August 2012

Learning by example

We can learn so much from the lives of others, not to slavishly imitate them, but what their priorities were and the dedication and self-discipline that lies behind their spiritual maturity.

I recently read (in Christianity Today) about the morning routine of John Stott who readers of this blog will gather is one of my great mentors and heroes. Stott began each day with a version of the Trinitarian prayer. The CT writer chronicled the rest of Stott’s morning routine: “There is a small leather notebook, stuffed full of folded papers and pamphlets and held together by a strong rubber band, that travels as a twin with Stott’s Bible. Each morning, having read three chapters of Scripture and meditated prayerfully over them, he pulls out his prayer notebook, takes off the rubber band, and prays for friends, family, ministries, and even strangers.

“Inside the notebook is a daily prayer list that is under constant revision. In minuscule print, the pages are divided into four columns: for evangelism or new converts, for people who have decisions to make, for the sick and bereaved, and for miscellaneous requests.

“Each day he reads through, prays over, and amends these four columns. Beneath the columned pages is a short stack of prayer guides. Stott prays daily through the requests of up to seven different organizations to which he is connected. “Finally, having worked through the various handouts and pamphlets, he comes to an old, well-worn page with a handwritten one-month calendar. Each day has a list of names, some dating back 30 years, some just a few months.

“For Stott, prayer is the rhythm of each day. From the discipline of regular intercession in the morning, to spontaneous prayer at the end of a pastoral visit, to bent knees shortly before bed, each day is marked by simple, unpretentious, direct, and persistent prayer.” From Pottering and Prayer, by John W. Yates III, posted 4/2/2001, Christianity Today.

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