Establish a healthy daily prayer life with these tips.
"I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer."
- Martin Luther
We all know that spending time with God is of the utmost importance if you're going to grow in Christ, but getting into the groove with a healthy daily prayer life can be more difficult that it seems for some – Lord knows I struggle to get it happening. So, I am putting down a plan of action that you might find helpful to establish your own good routine.
I am definitely not saying that to be a good Christian you have to do it this way, but if you have found it hard to get your time with God happening, then you might like to try going along for the ride on this.
The Big Picture
Here is what we are aiming for, a daily half-hour meet alone with God time, where we pray, read the word, worship, and train; and keep a journal of our ride. This might seem like a HUGE undertaking if you have not had this habit. But I am going to show you a way to make it happen and make it GREAT! I am also going to offer two ways of doing this – tech savvy and old school. These are all hints, so you may even choose to mix and match as you go.
Prepare to Establish your Routine
If you have got a party coming up or you are going to catch up with old friends, I bet you don't just turn up. You plan in advance, set reminder alarms on your phone, purchase a card or a present, etc. In the same way, we're not just going to jump in. Instead we are going to prepare in advance for when we actually start – let's say, next Sunday.
Let's Go Shopping.
Get a good bible app, and a good journal app (not an appointment diary, but a diary to write thoughts and notes). You will also need a straight notes app or an app that can help you keep lists. You will see what they will be for as you read on. Setup a folder and put all these apps into it so they are easy to find and ready to work together.
If you haven't already got a bunch of great worship songs on your device, get onto itunes or google play and spend some bucks on a bunch of new worship songs. If you want to know what's hot today, just punch top 100 worship songs 2016 into google – you'll find them, listen, pick and buy. Make sure you also have a set of headphones ready to go as well.
Grab your favourite bible, get a nice journal (not an appointment diary – it can simply be a notebook) Get some highlighters or coloured pencils to mark your bible with, and you will also need a pen and a writing pencil. Raid your cd collection or go and buy some fresh new worship CDs and have them handy where you are going to have your quiet time.
OK, you have your stuff ready to meet with the Lord now to work out where…
Where to Go?
Picking a PLACE to go to meet with the Lord can also be a difficult thing to do. You need it to be a place that you know you can go to whenever you need it. In the movie "War Room", the suggestion is made to clean out a walk-in closet, or cupboard, or cloakroom. I know the story of a man who literally built a shed in the back yard for his place. My grandfather built one in the back yard out of chicken wire and papier-mâché! It might be your bedroom. It might be a particular chair in the house. But find that space!
Now test your space with these tests:
- Do I have what I need in this space for my prayer time? For instance, is there enough light to read; Power for your device; a place to sit if you need that.
- Will you be free from disturbance and distraction there? Can the kids just walk in, or is there stuff there to take away my focus that I need to remove?
Another major blocker to people establishing a prayer life is not having a realistic expectation on their own lives. Also not taking the matter of finding time with God seriously. It's not good enough to say "I'll just get up half an hour earlier every morning". While that might be part of your strategy, is that really going to work? Look at your normal weekly pattern and work out your appointment with God for each day separately. When you have worked it out, use that wonderful smart phone of yours and set a recurring alarm for each day, 15 minutes before your appointment with the Lord is due, so you have time to prepare properly to meet with Him.
Now that you have your resources ready and you have find your when and where, it is time to prepare. Remember, you are going to do this IN ADVANCE. This isn't you starting your routine yet… this is just getting ready.
First of all, you are going to set up some lists, if you are going old-school you might want to do this in the back of your journal, or as the front pages of it. This is going to take you about half an hour to do this. But you only have to do it once.
Spiritual Family List
Write a list – as best you can of all the people that make up your spiritual family – your Ecclesia, your Church. Don't worry if you don't know their surname or their kids names, you can add that in later as you go. This is your body or related believers, so it might also include people you count as precious to you that are in other places as well. Take 10 minutes to list as many as you can think of. This is so when you are in the heat of prayer, you can remember everyone!
Who do want to see get saved? Take some time and write down everyone that you wish would come to Christ. Don't be stingy about it… you've got time to do this – and you can add to it later. Give yourself ten minutes to put as many names down as you can.
What do you want God to do for you or others? What are things you find yourself commonly asking God for? It's OK we are told in Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
List everything you can think of that you want to see God do. Healings, miracles, financial release, work situations, family troubles, missionaries, whatever it is, take 10 minutes and list down as much as you can.
Now that you have all these lists ready to go, you have already got PLENTY to pray about!
Are you feeling prepared? Excited? You have all your resources ready. You have your space. You have planned and set aside your time. You know what you want to pray for. YOU ARE READY.
You are ready to go! I am sure you could just stop there and happily fill half an hour on your own. But in case you are still not sure let me give you some more tips on how to use your time.
Start with some Worship Music.
Put on some music and for one song, just stop, sit and listen to it. This is a chance to calm you mind, will and emotions and prepare to meet with the Lord.
Speak in Tongues
Take note of the time or set a stop watch and speak in tongues for five minutes. This will charge your spiritual batteries and awaken your spirit to hear from the Holy Spirit. Don't discount this. It is possible that most important things of your prayer time are being said in that five minutes! This may be the longest 5 minutes of the half hour, but it will be worth it as a habit to develop.
Pull out Your Lists
7 "When you pray, don't babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don't be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Matthew 6:7-8 New Living Translation (NLT)
I know, I know you have spent so much time writing these wonderful lists, but you are only going to spend 5 minutes here. Let your eyes run over the list, and allow your spirit to lift it all up before the Lord. If there is anything specific that the Lord highlights, quickly pray for it. But let your mind and spirit move with the Holy Spirit faster than your lips ever could! How powerful is this! All the things on that list will be brought before the Lord daily! Add to your lists as you go – not just in your prayer time but throughout the day as well.
Read the Word
Now it is time to let the God speak to us!
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
Go to the-way.com.au and look at read the day's reading. It is usually only 3 chapters and will take you about 10 minutes at most. You don't have to study it… just read it and let it wash into your spirit. You will find yourself meditating on it for the next 24 hours, so just get it into you. After a year of this, you will have read the whole Bible too!
Now take the last five minutes of your half an hour and write down the date, the scripture you read, and any key points of prayer and revelations you had. Don't do this while you are praying and reading – save it till the end and just jot down the key points.
Sorry, but your time is up! You have just spent half an hour in worship, speaking in tongues, furious prayer, the word, and recording your revelations. I think you have found half an hour pretty easy to fill.
Add ten minutes of reading a good Christian book, spend 15 minutes instead of 5 in prayer, add a second song to your worship time and give yourself 5 more minutes to record what the Lord is saying to you and you are at an hour before you know it!
Take the 40 Day Challenge
They say it takes 6 weeks to establish a new habit. Try this out and report back in the comments how you have found it. We would love to hear your progress along the way too.Let us know also if you have found any of this helpful in your daily prayer life.