We all would love to pray more effectively, pray longer and get more prayers answered. I’ve struggled to pray for as long as I would like, it just seems I can’t get to that goal I set each day. Instead of trying to pray longer, I’ve looked to pray more effectively and have a more focused prayer time. In turn, I’ve found that when I gain more focus in my prayer the prayer time extends naturally.
I want to share with you five steps to a more effective and focused prayer time. I’ve used this method for many years and I’ve found it to be extremely helpful in my prayer time. A sure way to get frustrated in our prayer time is to move back and forth from different areas of prayer and not really hit the “target” of what we are trying to accomplish. Which leads to weak prayers, less time spent in prayer and eventually leaves you unmotivated to pray again.
For example an unfocused prayer time sounds like this; “Lord I love you today, touch Bob, cleanse me from sin, I worship you, touch Hank, I’m having a bad day, You’re awesome…” We’ve all done this, we get distracted to each issue we have pop in our brain. All those things mentioned above are good, honest and direct but moving to each one sporadically without thought and intention leads to weak, ineffective prayer.
1. Start with praise and thanks- Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! Open up your prayer time with praise. Take 5-10 minutes to thank God for what He’s done for you. Spend time focused on what Jesus has done for you and praise and thank Him for that.
2. Worship- Worship is different from praise and thanksgiving. Praise is thanking God for what He’s done, but worship is about Who God is! Take the next few moments to simply marvel at the awesomeness of God. “LORD, You are everything to me. There’s none like You in the heavens or in the earth!”
3. Repentance- After about 20 minutes of praise, thanksgiving and worship take time to ask God to forgive you. Worship should always lead to repentance, worship sees God for who He is and allows us to see how unclean we are(Isaiah 6). Read Psalm 51 for a prayer for repentance.
4. Supplication/Intercession- Move to praying for others needs and for your needs. If you use a list for prayer requests, bust that thing out and start praying. One lesson I was taught in this area was to pray for other’s needs first then put your needs last. Get prayer focused on God, then others, then lastly yourself. Make categories for this part of prayer. I tend to go from family, to friends, to leaders, ministers, souls and lastly myself.
5. Meditation- I usually end my prayer time reflecting and reading my Bible. This is also a good way to listen for the voice of the LORD. Usually other needs start to “pop” into my head and I can pray for those needs as well. This part is hard because we feel like we aren’t doing anything.
What are some tips you can share for a more focused prayer time?