When I was first saved I remember talking to women who seemed to have the “prayer thing” down. They had lists, books and plans for prayer. I was intrigued and inspired, but I really needed someone who could help me understand prayer better.
From the pulpit, I heard messages about how prayer is just talking to God. I learned the ACTS of prayer.
It was a great place to start on my path to pursuing a significant prayer life, but it seemed like something was lacking. The acrostic helped me find focus in my prayers, but I longed to become a prayer warrior. One who understands what it means to intercede on the behalf of others.
Oswald Chambers said, “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” He also said, “The meaning of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer.”
Real prayer is real work. It’s the desire to get ahold of God regardless of the answer. It’s seeking His face for the sheer privilege of knowing the God of the universe and longing for our heart to align with His about whatever it is we’re praying for. Asking for His will to be done on earth.
Prayer is the greatest privilege we have, yet it’s our greatest neglect. Perhaps it’s because we’re too busy, too lazy, too independent…or maybe it’s because we just don’t understand the grandness of the privilege of prayer, the power that is ours through prayer or the reality of His presence through prayer. Sometimes we just need a plan to keep our need for prayer on the forefront of our hearts and minds.
It’s been said that if we aim at nothing, we will hit it every time. The same is true for prayer. If we are aimless in our prayer-life we will pray randomly, at best. I realize everyone is different, but I’ve found that my consistency in prayer is improved when I implement a plan for prayer. It may be different from season to season, but at least when I have a strategy for prayer, I’m less likely to have prayerless days, weeks or months.
Today, I hope to offer a few ideas to formulate your own prayer plan. Some may work for you, others may not. But it’s certainly better than random attempts at prayer.
1. Make a daily prayer list – An example would be Mondays (Family & Missionaries), Tuesdays (Family, Pastors & Teachers), Wednesdays (Family & Country), Thursdays (Family, Health & Finances), Fridays (Family & Friends), Saturdays (Family, Influence & Ministry Opportunities), Sundays (Worship)
2. Make a list of all the things that you need to pray for each month and date them and check them off as God answers them (whether the answer is the “yes” or “no”)
3. Begin a prayer journal – Talk to God on paper. You may want to write various prayers using specific colors to define whether it’s for family, friends, finances, pastors, ect… You also may want to use a highlighter to accent answered prayers
4. Have a pen and a pad of paper beside you when you pray – That will accomplish several things. It will help alleviate the distractions of the day that clamor for your attention because you can write them down as they come to mind so you won’t have to worry about forgetting them later. It will also help you keep track of specific needs that God may bring to your mind during your time in prayer. And finally, it can help you keep track of the things God lays on our hearts as you’re spending time in His presence
5. Have a specific time and place where you meet with the Lord – That may be your office, bedroom, prayer closet or car. But there’s something about setting apart a special time and place to meet with the Living God that beckons our hearts to His spend time in His presence
Many of you have no problem with your prayer-life. Some of you may be looking for some tips to take it to the next level or to help you be consistent. What ever your need, I pray these ideas were helpful and will encourage you to value your time with the Lord in prayer and in His Word. He loves you and longs to hear your heart.
What would you add to this list? Do you have any ideas about how to have a more consistent prayer life?