Prayer is one of the ways we enjoy sweet fellowship with Jesus.
Fellowship… with JESUS!
So why is it, then, that we so often fail to experience consistency or to develop an ongoing habit when it comes to prayer?
I don’t think it is because we don’t want to.
In my comings and goings, I talk with grandparents and women of all ages, and I cannot count the number of times a sweet soul has shared with me their deep, deep longing for a vibrant prayer life. However, along with that expression of longing nearly always comes a, “But I just can’t seem to get there.”
As I reflect upon our plight, I can’t help but wonder if the problem is not that we don’t want to pray but that we do not plan to pray.
It reminds me of some conversations my husband and I have had over the past few months. With retirement approaching at what seems an ever-increasing rate, my husband is, of course, thinking more and more about it. Questions arise in his mind as to how he will spend his days and what he will do with all that unstructured time. His “fear” is that his retirement years will be squandered.
We talk. Yes, the years will certainly be squandered without a plan. He needs a plan. The fun part will be that in making the plan, he is the one who gets to choose.
Is it not the same with prayer?
Without a plan, we get up day after day, and our prayer time is squandered. Our feet hit the floor, and things begin happening. We jump into response mode. Distractions abound. Our thoughts are not on prayer. There is no scheduled time, no location, no procedure, no materials, nothing ready.
With no plan in place – no consistency can be developed, no healthy habit established.
It’s Time for a Plan
Let me encourage you to make a hard stop today and put an end to this merry-go-round of inconsistent prayer. Right now, this very minute, it is time to plan for prayer. And the fun part is, you get to choose.
Schedule a Time
Think about your daily routine – how and where you spend your time. Then look for a place in your schedule where you can make a regular appointment for prayer. You might get up 30 minutes earlier each morning, meet with God for prayer right after the children leave for school, or pray as you enjoy your morning coffee.
Then put your prayer appointment on your calendar. Set an alarm reminder on your phone or use a daily habit tracker, until your prayer appointment becomes a daily habit.
Determine a Place
When we keep an appointment with a doctor, business professional, or friend, we generally meet at a designated location.
As part of your prayer plan, set a place for prayer and go there. In making your selection, look for a place that is as distraction free as possible. (And each day upon arriving at your prayer appointment, don’t forget to silence all devices before you begin!)
Establish Your Strategy
Each decision of your plan is yours, but here is where the choosing really gets fun! You need a plan for your prayer appointments, but the plan does not always have to look the same. Mix things up. Sprinkle in some variety.
- Choose a passage of Scripture to guide you in prayer.
- Journal your prayers.
- Pray the alphabet – naming something in prayer for every letter, A-Z.
- Pray in Color.
- Use prayer prompts or prayer resource sheets as a guide.
- Pray the ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) model.
- Focus your prayer on a singular component of the ACTS model.
- Use a prayer calendar to guide you in prayer for different people, groups, and topics.
- Pray out loud.
Vary your strategy daily, weekly, monthly. It’s up to you.
Gather Your Materials
Using a passage of Scripture to guide your prayers? Be sure to have your Bible with you at your appointment. Praying in Color? Have paper and color pencils at your prayer location. Want to spend a week guided in prayer by prayer prompts? Print them out ahead of time.
Hint: Get your materials ready and have them in your prayer location the night before!
There is a battle to be fought (Ephesians 6:10-18) and sweet fellowship to enjoy (John 15:7), what better day could there be than today for making a prayer plan?
This book provides a wonderful roadmap for enjoying a focused and creative prayer life. Filled with suggestions and resources that have been compiled to encourage and inspire victorious praying. Praying with Purpose includes creative and real world methods for a variety of different types of prayer and prayer topics.