Dr. Richard Pratt spoke of the priorities of the Lord’s Prayer at the 16th Stated meeting of the Gulf South Presbytery on September 27.
Do you struggle with a habit of prayer? Many of us have this general notion that we ought to pray more than we do, but struggle to do it. Where do you start? Who should I pray for? What should I pray? Let me share what has helped me.
In terms of when to pray and for how long, set aside some time each day. For example, set aside time in the morning to start your day with prayer. Aim for 5 minutes but don’t shy away from working your way up to a half hour or more. Martin Luther was said to pray sometimes for six hours each day! If you’re married or have kids, take some time in the evening to pray together, even if its just a short prayer.
In terms of what to pray, I find focusing on a different group each day helps.
- Sunday: Focus on praise of God for his attributes and giving thanks for benefits of salvation. Look to Psalm 103 as a good example.
- Monday: Focus on your immediate family.
- Tuesday: Focus on your Church family.
- Wednesday: Focus on your community – leaders, organizations, neighbors, co-workers, other churches, etc.
- Thursday: Focus on your nation – leaders, culture, spiritual direction
- Friday: Focus on the world – supported missions and missionaries
- Saturday: Focus on yourself – personal needs, wisdom, direction, etc.
As far as how to pray for these things each day, use the Lord’s prayer as a model. The Lord’s prayer is made of several petitions. The first have to do with the glory of God, the coming Kingdom, and the will of God being done. This is our chief end and should be our chief focus in prayer. When we pray for others, we should pray for them in light of this chief end. So that our family, our church, our community, our nation, and our world can move toward this end, we pray for daily needs to be met, sin to be forgiven, and deliverance from the evil one and his influence. And we end our prayer remembering that all authority has been given to Christ, in whose name we pray.
I hope this helps you. If not, find a method that helps you work prayer into your routine. Many use a journal to track their prayer, which allows them to update when the Lord answers them. Remember, the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective!
May the Lord bless your prayer habit.