Have you chosen a plan for this year’s Bible reading? You should be on the second day of your plan. If you haven’t started reading the Bible through in a year yet, you might want to read the Day 1 post at this link.
If you’re on track with your Bible reading, it’s time for the next challenge.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This is something most people do when they need help, but because they aren’t intentional and consistent with their prayers, it can be a source of frustration. I’m going to give you a few helpful suggestions to develop a prayer habit that will not only help you’re communication with God but will take away the frustration associated with prayer.
When and Where to Pray:
First pray one hour a day. Don’t stop reading. I’m just kidding. If you already pray one hour a day, great. Keep it up. But if you’re like most Christians, the idea of praying an hour a day is enough to cause you to give up before you get started. Instead of creating an arbitrary rule about how long you have to pray, start where you are. If you can only manage to pray ten minutes a day, than start with ten minutes.
Schedule a time to pray. It doesn’t matter when you pray, but it is important to schedule a time for it. Otherwise all the business of your life will interfere with your prayer habit. I suggest you pray at the same time you do your Bible reading, but if that’s not possible, pray when it’s easiest for you.
Do you want to pray first thing in the morning? Psalm 5:3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Do you want to schedule your prayer in the evening? Psalm 141:2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
It doesn’t matter when you pray as long as you pray. The Bible doesn’t set a time or limit you have to pray. Those are man-made rules that frustrate people.
Decide a place to pray. Find a place away from everyone to pray. It will help cut down the distractions associated with prayer. You’ll want to pray in a comfortable place so it’s easy to pray but not too comfortable, like your bed, where you might fall asleep.
Keep a notebook and pen with you when you pray. That way, if God impresses something on you, you can write it down. Also if you’re distracted easily by everything you need to remember whenever you decide to pray, you can write those things down and continue with your prayers.
How to Pray:
Many books have been written on this subject, so I’m not going to do an exhaustive essay on how to pray. But many people don’t pray because they don’t know how. First realize that prayer is talking to God. However you decide to pray, know that there is no wrong way. That being said, I like to us Jesus model for prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13.
Start with Praise. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Praise God for who He is. He is our Heavenly Father. And He is Jesus, God with Us. Sometimes I’ll recite the names of God and praise Him for what those names represent. This link has a list of God’s names.
Pray God’s Will and for God’s Kingdom to be advanced. Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done. This part may be the longest section of your prayer. Because God’s will and Kingdom encompasses so much, you may want to break this up and pray for different things on different day.
First, pray for God’s will in your life and the life of your family, friends, and church.
But you also want to pray for God’s kingdom. Here is where you’ll pray for lost people to be saved. You’ll also want to pray for your community, your state, and your nation.
But God’s Kingdom isn’t just an American thing. God wants us to be concerned with His Kingdom throughout the Earth. Every Home for Christ has free prayer maps and resources to divide the countries of the world into manageable pray bites. With these resources, you can pray for the entire world in 30 days. They also live feed prayer and resources for praying for every zip code in America.
Pray for your needs and wants. Give us this day our daily bread. God wants us to bring our requests before Him. He delights in giving us the desires of our hearts. Write down your prayer requests so that you can make a note when and how the request was granted.
Pray for forgiveness. Forgive us our debts. We have all sinned. We all need forgiveness. Thanks to Jesus dying on the cross for our sins, all we have to do is ask to be forgiven by God.
Pray for grace to forgive. …as we forgive our debtors. Forgiveness isn’t an emotion. It’s a choice. Make that choice and ask God for the grace to carry it out.
Engage in Spiritual Warfare. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. It is important to pray against evil having any control in our lives. Some people quote Eph. 12 and mentally put on their spiritual armor every day. Others pray Psalm 91 over their lives. However you choose to do this, do it.
End with Praise. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Amen. Start with praise and end with praise.
What if I don’t get to everything on the list? So what. This isn’t a magic formula. It’s a guide to help you talk to God every day.
Keep a prayer journal.
Keeping a prayer journal will help you pray in a number of ways.
1. First you can write down the model you want to use to pray. It will keep you on track. I suggest you use at least one page for each step. That way if God gives you a verse or insight, you can write it down.
2. It also keeps track of your prayer requests.
3. It can build your faith as you record answers to prayer.
4. When God speaks to you during prayer time, you can write it down. That way you’ll remember.
Prayer Journal apps: I like to use a notebook or a bound journal with empty pages for my prayer journal, but there are also some great prayer apps available at this link.
If you feel overwhelmed by all this information, start where you are. Take one nugget and apply it to your prayer life. After awhile, you can add something else. There’s no wrong way to pray to God except not praying.