10 (or so) Ideas for Centering Your Day Around Prayer

Thinking and praying about prayer this past week (see previous post on prayer), has led me back to the question that started this whole process. It is a bit overwhelming to consider. I’m not sure I am up for what the Lord might ask of me. This is the question.

How can I center my day around prayer?

If prayer is to be more than a transition (in a service, at home, in a Bible study), it needs to take center stage in our daily lives. It can’t just be something we talk about. We must actually do it, do so regularly, and improve the quality of prayer in our lives.

I’m going to give you a list of ideas. Originally I was going to try and come up with 10 ideas, hence the title of this post. Don’t try and do everything all at once, obviously. Grab 3 ideas that jump out at you and pick one of them to start this week.

  1. Keep a list of prayer requests. Pray for each once a day or once a week. Once every week or two, follow up on those prayer requests.
  2. Find some written prayers and pray those daily. Decide how many times a day you are going to pray them and stick to it. Might be once, twice or even several times a day.
  3. Adopt an Unreached People Group as a church and pray for them during your weekly service.
  4. Pray the same prayer everyday.
  5. Pray through the Scriptures. Psalms are a great place to start.
  6. Pray different prayers everyday.
  7. Write your own prayer to recite in prayer.
  8. Pray on your knees.
  9. Don’t talk. Just listen. Ask the Lord to speak to you.
  10. Use Samuel’s prayer, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” Then listen.
  11. Get a group of friends together at church. Play some worship music as everyone prays individually for 30 minutes to an hour. Then group up and make prayer requests. Pray for the person next to you.
  12. Pray for your neighbors.
  13. Pray with your family/roommates.
  14. When people request prayer online, you follow up with an online message, text, call and/or visit.
  15. Try short repetitive prayers, like the Jesus Prayer: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Google it. I dare you.
  16. Pray from the hip. Just pray what comes to mind.
  17. Pray in a group using Lectio Divina.
  18. Pray with your neighbors.
  19. Ask and listen prayers. Begins with saying, “God, what do you want me to do with this time” Or ask, “God, how do you want me to pray for (insert name, place or situation here).” Then listen. Then pray accordingly.
  20. Grab a copy of Operation World or go to the Operation World website and pray for a different country each day/week. Use this in Sunday School or in a small group.
  21. On Twitter, search “pray for me.” Then pray accordingly.
  22. Pray in the bathroom.
  23. Watch the news, but not too long. Write a prayer for someone or for a group of people in need.
  24. Adopt a country as a small group and pray for it regularly. Find missionaries in that country and reach out to them for prayer requests.
  25. Hang out with people that pray a lot.
  26. Prayerwalk. Yes, it’s just praying while you walk.
  27. Go to a high place in your city/town and pray over that place. You could do this on a vacation too.
  28. Facebook message people the week of their birthday asking for prayer requests. Then pray for them on their birthday. Maybe even message them on the day praying a prayer, typed out.
  29. Prayer text someone. A friend of mine, at a weekly Bible study, spends time, between worship and study, asking everyone to pray for someone and then text that person telling them you prayed for them…
  30. Pray the Lord’s Prayer alone or in a group.
  31. Pray for your pastor, even when you don’t like him/her.
  32. Pray for that person that made you have a bad day. Ask God to bless him/her.
  33. Go to the same coffee shop/restaurant regularly. Pray for the servers.
  34. Make a list of people who don’t know Jesus. Pray for them everyday.
  35. When I was doing ministry at En Vivo in Spain, we used to have a weekly staff prayer time. We would keep a running list of prayers, a really long list! We would first read through the whole list for updates and for new requests. Then we would run through several at a time, give each person 2-3 prayer requests, and each pray silently. Once you were done, you were to raise your head and open your eyes. Then we would divy up another 2-3 per person. “En Vivo Style” praying allows you to pray for a lot of people, not miss anyone, but then get back to other work.
  36. Send a note, card or email to someone on the anniversary of the death of a loved one. Holidays and birthdays are also big. Let them know you are praying for them.
  37. Stressed? In addition or in place of the things you normally do when you are stressed, try praying. Perhaps you should write a prayer for those moments.
  38. Pray for your family.
  39. Invite people to pray for a specific purpose for a specific number of days or weeks. Update them during that time. Possibly give them prayers to pray. “Pray this with me and/or create your own prayer as the Lord leads you.”
  40. Write prayers down (yours or others) and put them in a system to remind you to pray for them regularly. When the reminder brings up the prayer, pray it and then reset a new reminder for another date. I call these “rotating prayers.” Yes, I use Evernote for this.
  41. Prayer Calls. Invite people to join you in a group prayer call (using FreeConferenceCall.com, Skype, or Google Plus). Option 1: Do this weekly. Option 2: Make it a once a week commitment for 3 weeks. Then start a new group.
  42. Facebook Group Prayer. Invite friends to join you in prayer on Facebook. Again, you could do this ongoing or just do a 2-4 week group. The cool thing is you wouldn’t have to all be online at the same time.
  43. Ask God how he wants you to pray. Then do what he says.

Do you have any ideas to add? Please do so in the comments section.

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Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)

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2 Corinthians 9:15

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Monday Prayer

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Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherd, and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen

~ Christmas Prayer, Robert Louis Stevenson

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I’ll Pray For You. Really?

“Oh my! I’m so sorry. I’ll pray for you.”

Ever say something like this? I do. A lot. What does it mean?

In a sermon recently, a pastor challenged his congregation, “When you say, ‘I’m going to pray for you,’ what do you really mean?” This is a great question. He went through a couple options, the one standing out being that it doesn’t mean anything.

What We Really Mean                                                                                                                      When someone (we’ll keep in third person here so I don’t feel too guilty) says, “I’ll pray for you,” here are some of the options of what it actually means:

  1. I am going to pray for you everyday. I am going to check back with you to see how things are going. I really care.
  2. I am going to pray for you when I remember to pray for you. It will be a quick prayer. If I don’t remember, or if someone doesn’t remind me, I may not pray for you again.
  3. I am going to pray for you right now. I probably won’t pray for you again.
  4. I am not going to pray for you, but this is the Christian thing to say, so there you go.

Now, before we criticize persons 2-4, let’s talk. Between personal interactions, social media and the news, we are confronted with prayer needs more now than ever before. It can be overwhelming. What do we do with all of these prayer requests?

I think we need to give ourselves grace. Number 4, I would admit is a little dishonest. I think it would be better to find another phrase or at least transition to 3, where you pray quickly for the person right there.

Priority                                                                                                                                                      Personally, prayer has not been a priority for most of my spiritual walk. Anyone else with me out there? I often see prayer as a transition. At church it transitions the different parts of the service. At home it transitions to meal time and sometimes to bedtime. Even in Bible Studies, it transitions “social time” to “Bible time” and then back to “social time.”

However, as I look at Scripture, I see something different. Luke 6:12 tells us, “Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

Have you ever spent the night praying? I mean who does that? Well, apparently Jesus. Seems like that might be something he would want his followers doing as well.

If you take a look at Jesus followers throughout history, prayer is not a transition. It is a central part of one’s walk with God. Some have even centered their life around prayer.

Stop and think about that for a moment. What would it look like to center your day around prayer? Future blog post coming your way.

Prayer Matters                                                                                                                                      I think one of the reasons I have struggled to focus on prayer is I haven’t always believed it really matters. Perhaps I just thought God was going to do what he wanted regardless of my prayers. Is that consistent with Scripture though?

The answer to the last question is “no.” In the Bible, we see things change when prayer is involved. On top of this, it is a clear expectation in Scripture for God followers to be involved in active prayer.

So let’s get to it. I’m not saying everybody needs to be Person 1 (above). However, prayer needs to become a more central part of our walk with the Lord.

More to Prayer                                                                                                                                      Lastly, I want to say prayer is more than asking God for stuff. Prayer involves listening. Prayer involves quietness. Prayer can involve walking. Worship can be included during prayer.

I’m no prayer expert, but I have learned there is more to this praying thing than going through a list of requests. It can be something we recite or something flowing off the top of our heads. It can be brief or long, involving others or something we do solo.

Prayer is a type of communion with God. It is not just you and I telling him stuff. It is intended to form you spiritually.

What about you? What has been your greatest hangup with prayer? Share in the comments section. 

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Give This Christmas Away – Matthew West

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What can I give Him?

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