You know the adage: “a failure to plan is a plan to fail”? There are few places where this is truer than on the battle field. It is literally life or death and you need to get your plan right.
Prayer is a battle and the New Testament alludes to this: Men are to stop fighting with each other and wrestle in prayer together (1 Tim 2:8). Peter warns his readers as a commanding solider might: “Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer.”(1 Pet 4:7 HCSB)
If you are in professional ministry, can I remind you that you have been set apart for the Word of God and prayer? We must be dedicated to praying for the people under our care, or we will be crushed by the weight of ministry.
So this means we should have a plan for prayer, so what’s yours? Here are my 5 points that I have found that have helped my prayer life:
1. Know yourself
Just like no one Bible reading plan will work for everyone, no one prayer plan will work for everyone. I am not a guy who can pray big, long deep prayers (yet!). At the moment it is more effective for me to pray more machine gun like prayers: lots of points, lots of people. But that’s just me. It is not the length of our prayers that make the difference but who we are praying to (Matt 6:8), so I am OK with the plan I have at the moment.
2. Schedule time
If you are serious about working out, you make time to go to the gym and train. If you are serious about a relationship, you make appointments (dates) and keep them. If you are serious about prayer, you need to set up some time and do it. Again for me, once I am in the Word I tend to lose track of time. Prayer comes first. It’s the first thing that I do when I get up or realistically, it doesn’t get done. This means I need to make the time to get up (and make sure I go to bed at a reasonable time).
3. Plan your list
You need to work out what you are praying for. When I say I will pray for someone, I try and add it to my list as soon as I can. I use PrayerMate because I lose paper and it is better than other prayer apps. The list does not have to be long to start off with, in fact, it is better it is not. Pray for your family, church, and friends and build from there.
4. Scripture your list
It is one thing to know who you are praying for, it is another to know what you are praying for them. Once you have your list, find from scripture what you should be praying for them, that is Scripture your list. I think one of the reasons we get frustrated in prayer is that we don’t see answers, and yet how do you expect God to answer the prayer “I pray for X person”? Be specific, but be Scriptural and pray for the things that would please God
5. Do it.
There really isn’t any substitute for just praying. It’s like any other habit we have, the more we do it, the better we get at it, the more we do it.
This is my plan, you need to work out your plan, but feel free to start with my plan to work out your first steps.