“Give time and effort to your prayer life, not only in praying, but also in preparing yourself to pray.
A healthy prayer life consists not only of prayer, but also of preparation. I have long since found that the absolute best motivator in prayer is knowing what I am going to pray for. Vague ideas of prayer promote vague prayers. Disorganized methods of prayer promote disorganized prayers. Methods for prayer promote meaningful prayers.
Why don’t you take some time today to organize your prayer life?”
As well as making a plan to read the Bible this year, I’ve been making a plan to pray this year.
The starting point for this has been considering what prayer is.
“All prayer is responding to God…
Prayer is continuing a conversation that God has started through his Word and his grace…
We should listen, study, think, reflect, and ponder the Scriptures until there is an answering response in our hearts and minds.”
“For me it is absolutely essential that my prayers be guided by, saturated by, and sustained and controlled by the word of God.”
How do we pray in response to God’s Word?
“Praying the Word means reading (or reciting) Scripture in a spirit of prayer and letting the meaning of the verses become our prayer and inspire our thoughts.”
As I read through Acts in January (Romans in February, 1 Corinthians in March and so on), my plan is to pray in response to what I read using the concentric circles method.
“Consider praying in concentric circles from your own soul outward to the whole world. This is my regular practice.
I pray for my own soul first. Not because I am more deserving than others, but because if God doesn’t awaken and strengthen and humble and fill my own soul, then I can’t pray for anybody else’s. So I plead with the Lord every morning for my own soul’s perseverance and purification and power.
Then I go to the next concentric circle, my family, and I pray for each of them by name.
Then I go to the next concentric circle, the staff and elders of [the church]. I name them all by name.
Then I pray for you, [the church].
And then I go out from there to different concerns and groups at different times… The wider circles include the city and the state and the nation and the cultural and social issues of the world.
If you ask, What do I pray for myself and my family and my church and the missionaries and the city and the nations, the answer is pray Scripture.”
As well as this I’m planning on incorporating one of the prayer from the Valley of Vision collection each day.
“Daily prayer in private should be more interwoven with the corporate prayer of the church.
It is right and necessary that we learn to pray not merely from reading the Psalms and the rest of the Bible but by hearing and reading the prayers of the church.”
So, this is how I’m organising my prayer life in 2017 and the way it fits with reading the Bible this year.
But in terms of organsing my prayer, there is another side to this that comes from being a pastor and the need to devote myself to prayer. I’ll write about this in a separate post.