Each year, many people commit to a new Bible Reading Plan. As we approach the end of this year, I’ll post about several that you could use and about what I’ll be doing. However, few of us ever take the time to create a Prayer Plan. By not doing so, we pass-up on an opportunity for spiritual development. It is a shortsighted mistake that can be solved. Here are a few steps to develop a Prayer Plan.
1. Dedicate to a daily routine. Prayer is something that requires discipline. A daily plan will keep you focused when life tries to get in the way.
2. Commit to a weekly prayer topic list. We all have a default mode of praying and it likely leaves out subjects that need attention. Creating a list of topics, needs, and even people groups to pray over can help in having a well-rounded prayer life.
3. Plan a monthly time of extended period of prayer. Engaging in long periods of prayer will clear out your cache of clichés. Use these times to search through the heart of God for the significant circumstances of life.
4. Keep your Bible open. God speaks authoritatively through His Word. Your Prayer Plan should include frequent referencing of the Scriptures to keep your mind on track with who God is and how He works.
5. Devote yourself to silence in times of prayer. As you read the Bible and submit yourself to God in prayer, give way for the Holy Spirit to convict and guide you. To do so, you’ll need to be quiet before the Lord.
6. Get an accountability partner. We need a trusted friend to check in on our spiritual maturity on many levels. Allow for someone else to consistently ask you about the progress you are making in your prayer life.
7. Record answers to prayer. A frequent command of God to the people of Israel was to remember what He had done in the past. Keeping a record of God’s work in your life will encourage growth in your faith and faithfulness to prayer.
8. Keep a record. It could be a physical notebook, smart phone app, or something like Evernote that syncs across digital platforms. Keeping a record of topics, needs, and answers will encourage consistency.
9. Feel free to use prompts from various resources. Great books exist that record the prayers and plans from other people. You can start with The Hour That Changes the World or A Diary of Private Prayer to see a plan and a set of prayers. These resources can give you insight into additional areas of prayer.
10. Decide what will require fasting. Some people fast on a regular basis; even once a week. Others wait until there is an event that calls for it. Decide what will definitely require fasting and be open to the Spirit’s call for engaging with this spiritual discipline.
11. Pray for the lost to be saved. As believers, we need to cry out for the Spirit to break the hearts of the lost so they might put their faith in the Christ. Pray for the lost you know and the lost who make up billions of people on our planet.
12. Pray for the church to be revived. Too many churches are apathetic toward the God’s mission and God’s praise. Focus on both your own congregation and the local bodies around the world that need revival.
13. Focus your attention on God’s presence more than physical needs. As you plan for prayer, ensure it is about God first and everything else second. While in seminary, one of my professors defined prayer as talking to God about the most important topic – God Himself. Our prayer lives should be deeply characterized by worship and the desire to know God more fully.
14. Be flexible. Prayer is not a club of coercion but an intimate conversation with God. So, though you have a plan for prayer, be ready for things to change. As the unexpected is bound to occur, be ready to give way to simply allowing prayer to be about the relationship and not the routine.