“How can I organise a time of personal prayer?” – a question often asked by people who want to be more systematic in their devotions.
We all lead very busy lives, and many times in the Bible God tells us to make time to pray.
- “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2).
- “As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (Words of King David in Psalm 55:16-17 KJV)
What is the “proper” way to pray?
There is no right or wrong way to pray. But Christians have found certain things to be very helpful.
1. Find a suitable place. Somewhere quiet, with few, or no distractions. Somewhere, if possible, where you can be alone.
2. Set a time. Next, if possible, set a time. It is a great help if we can set aside a regular time to pray. Any appointment is easier to keep if it is regular. Setting a similar time each day can help us get into the good habit of talking to God.
- The start of the day has the advantage that you can commit yourself and your plans for the day to God. A morning prayer time prepares you for what lies ahead.
- The end of the day gives you an opportunity to reflect on what has happened that day. You can consider how God has helped you. An evening prayer time also allows you to gather up the frustrations and cares of the day and lay them down, committing them all to God’s care. It can be a very calming experience which helps restful sleep.
Many Christians fit both morning and evening prayer times into their lives. But for some people, circumstances mean this is difficult. The main thing is to make it a priority to have a time of prayer each day.
3. Keep notes
The notebook is a useful tool for Bible Study, but also for Prayer Times.
You can write in it:
- Things to pray about
- The answers God gave to those prayers
- Bible verses that have helped you to have faith as you pray
- Thoughts that might distract you. For example, things you need to do later! Write them down and forget them until your prayer time is over!!
What do you pray about?
Here is one guideline which may help you organise your time effectively. The main headings form a memorable acrostic, the word STOP.
S – Sorry
Start your prayer time by confessing to God any sin you are aware of.
1 John 1:9 says that he will make you clean again, if you really mean it.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
That way, as we repent and accept God’s forgiveness and cleansing, we can be like “clean pipes” through which God’s blessing can flow as we pray.
T – Thank you
God has given us so many good things in our lives. Every day, even in hard times, God is with us and looking after us. That’s something to be thankful for! There are other blessings too:
- Times we have been helped
- Things that have given us pleasure
… and so much more.
If you have been keeping your note book and jotted down how God has answered some of your prayers, you will have a good start to this “Thank You” time with God.
O – Oh!
We can say the word with wonder and awe! God is so awesome and great!
The “Oh!” speaks of that overwhelming sense of God’s majesty. This open-mouthed awe is often seen in the Bible. Here are just two examples:
- “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome.” (Deut.10:17 NIV)
- “You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” (Psalm 68:35 NIV)
The word “Oh!” stands for our worship. Worshiping God is not the same as thanking him for what he has done. Rather, it is more like thanking him for who he is and what that means to us.
- Great creator
- Loving Father
- Caring Friend
- Lord over all the universe
If we don’t feel a sense of awe when we speak to God, then we can pray for that awareness of his greatness! Ask him to help you see just how wonderful and truly awesome he is. He certainly deserves our worship in this way.
P – Please
This is last of all! Only after we have spent some time with the other aspects of prayer should we begin to ask God to answer our requests. We can pray for other people and their needs, then finally for ourselves.
Again, the notebook can help us to keep track of our requests and God’s answers.
We need to be sure that each day we are doing what God wants us to do that day. It is good when our thoughts are focused on his greatness and willingness to help us, rather than on our problems, or selfish wishes.
Adapt the talk to your situation
It is very versatile as it is suitable for children, youth or adults.
It can be developed in several different ways.
- a 5-minute “mini-teaching spot” to supplement Bible teaching
- a discussion starter
- a longer stand-alone teaching session.
The PowerPoint slide show
As with most of our teaching posts, there will soon be a PowerPoint presentation to accompany this post. We’re sorry it isn’t available for you now.But as soon as it is finished, we will upload it so that you can view it yourself, and use it to teach others.