Spiritual Practice

The 30/30 Challenge

Richard Maffeo

You can do a lot in thirty minutes. You could eat half a dozen pepperoni pizzas (not by yourself, I hope), talk on the phone, cruise the mall. Or you could do something that could change your life.

Take the 30/30 Challenge: Commit thirty minutes a day for the next thirty days to worship, prayer, and Bible reading. Spend five minutes praising God, five minutes confessing your sins and praying, fifteen minutes reading the Bible, and five minutes praying for others.

devozine Guitar Guy FTR TSP 144719000
The First Five: Praise

Play a praise song or two from a CD or tape. Sing along. (Lip-synch if singing aloud would embarrass you.) Or sing hymns of praise. (Borrow a hymnal from your pastor, or buy one from a bookstore.) The lyrics of a song of praise celebrate the glory, wonder, grace, and love of God. As you sing, close your eyes and prayerfully focus on the words.

The Second Five: Confession & Prayer

Begin a time of prayer by confessing your sins. If you can’t think of anything you’ve done wrong, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see what needs to be forgiven.

devozine Praying Teen Guy TS 117402350Choose a passage of scripture and make it a prayer. For example, Roman 5:1–2 (NIV) says, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

Make the scripture a prayer by replacing we with I and God with you. Or use the theme of the passage as a basis for prayer: Thank you, God, for your gift of grace in Jesus Christ. Amen.

devozine Lectio Divina TS 97648012Fifteen for Scripture

Read the Bible and meditate on the text. Choose a book of the Bible and start reading. (Mark, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 John are good places to start.) Read one or two chapters and think about what they mean. Write down some of your insights.

The Final Five: Prayer

Pray for family, friends, and acquaintances. Pray for political leaders, teachers, and employers. Many people we know need hope or courage, and some need God’s gift of salvation.

Customize Your Challenge

The 30/30 Challenge is designed to take 30 minutes a day, but you might want to consider building in a few extra minutes. That way, if you are deep in prayer near the end of the 30 minutes, you don’t have to watch the clock. You have already given yourself permission to stay focused on God for as long as you need. Also, if you miss a day for whatever reason, don’t feel guilty or try to make it up. Just start fresh the next day.

Scripture urges us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8, NRSV). By comparison, pepperoni pizza has the flavor of warm glue. Take the 30/30 Challenge, and God will meet you in ways you could never imagine.



devozine Breath Prayer2 TS 100635105SAY A PRAYER OF THE CHURCH:

Open wide the window of our spirits, O Lord, and fill us full of light; open wide the door of our hearts, that we may receive and entertain thee with all our powers of adoration and love.
          Christina G. Rossetti, England, 19th century

REFLECT: In your daily devotions, how can you be more open to God?



Richard Maffeo is a writer in San Diego, California.

—from devozine (September/October 2000. Copyright © 2000 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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