Wednesday, October 28, 2020

An Easy Hour in Prayer


The Big Idea: Break an intended hour of prayer into twelve 5 minute sections. 

Do you start to pray on your own and find a fly in the room is more interesting? If so, you may find a method I learned in college on how to spend an hour in prayer. I used to have a hard time keeping my mind focused for just ten minutes of prayer so I couldn't imagine this could help me. But I wanted to cultivate a prayerful life so I decided to try it. It was revolutionary for me.


My favorite thing to do is to find some quiet spot outdoors. I love someplace with a view if possible. A bench works. I have sat on a rock or with my back to a tree and gotten ants crawling on me! I have also wandered paths around a lake, and sat by a rushing brook. I have gone to a quiet room in the house, or spent time in a church tucked away in a corner by myself.

Sometimes I have done this on a monthly basis; sometimes it has a been a year or more between this retreat time. This can be done with another person or a group. It works best for personal prayer. I usually like to journal with the date, location and what I prayed for or the verses or songs I sang at various points. It is interesting to look back at my notes years later.

I try to take a small blanket to sit on, a water bottle, a watch or something to keep time, my Bible and a notebook and pen. Dress for the season if it is a cool fall day or a very sunny hot summer day. Sometimes I bring a hymn book with me because singing is part of this. I have also brought my ipad in more recent years to look up the words to a song, or sing along with a music video of a worship chorus.


The concept is fleshed out in a book by Dick Eastman, An Hour That Changes the World. He has divided the hour into twelve parts. You spend five minutes on each section. This is relative. You can certainly have those time periods shorter or longer intervals. Here are the twelve categories to work through.

1. Praise and Worship

2. Waiting on the Lord

3. Confession

4. Pray the Word

5. Watching

6. Intercession

7. Petitions

8. Thanksgiving

9. Song

10. Meditation

11. Listening

12. Praise

It is useful to select a focus before you begin. This may relate to what you are going through and need to affirm. If you are feeling insecure you may want to focus on God's Love. If you feel life is out of control you may want to focus on God's majesty or His power. If I have not start prayer time with a topic, the Lord has led me by His Holy Spirit in a certain direction. It always seems to be just what I need at the time. He, my Creator, is the one who knows me better than I will ever know myself.


1. Praise and Worship: It is helpful to focus on an attribute of God or a series of attributes.  It may trigger a song about worship or give praise to Him. Though singing is #9 on this list, this is your prayer time. You are allowed to sing and pray if you want to here! But don't get distracted or spend time looking stuff up. Just talk to God and focus on Him and who He is!

2. Waiting on the Lord: This might be hard for you if you are not used to listening for God. Just wait quietly. You can start off focusing on His character but don't spend your time talking to Him. "Be still and know that I am God," it says in Psalm 46:10. Quiet the anxious or bored thoughts in your mind and focus on Him. Quiet your heart before Him.

3. Confession: When we focus on Him and His character we often become aware of where we come up short. If you are not sure what to confess, pray this verse: "Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts".
Ps. 139:23

4. Pray the Word: Use a passage of the Bible as a tool to pray. The Psalms work wonderfully. Read a line to guide you then pray it in your own words. Let His Word teach you to pray.  

5. Watching: This is similar to waiting on the Lord but it is a searching time. Ask God to bring to mind the sort of things and the specific people you should pray for today. Ask God to guide your time in prayer for yourself and for others. You can also scan world events in your mind to see if there is something that you should pray for, such as world leaders and situations, international Christians in a difficult part of the world right now, etc.

6. Intercession: Now that you have a direction for prayer, start praying for the people and situations the Holy Spirit has put on your heart.  Pray for them. Pray for Christian workers like pastors and International Workers around the world.

7. Petitions: Petitions are different from intercession for others because you pray for your own needs. We are to pray for our basic needs physically (Give us this day our daily bread), emotionally and spiritually. Are you struggling with something in your life such as work, or a family difficulty, or physical illness? Pray for that now. Pour your heart out to God. He cares for you.

8. Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is different from Praise. We praise God for who He is. His attributes. We thank God for what He has done for us. For His blessings. Count your blessings here.  

9. Song: Now is the time to have a worship song or hymn to sing or meditate on. If you don't sing or don't want to sing out loud where you are, you can read the words. But learn to use carefully written songs and hymns to guide a few minutes of your prayer time.

10. Meditation: So you have already waited on God and spent some time watching in prayer on what to pray for. Meditation is focusing on and dwelling on a verse or a truth God has brought to your mind in this prayer session. Read a verse over and over focusing on different aspects of it. Think about what it means for you, for your life situation, for those around you. Think about what it teaches you about God.

11. Listening: Another quiet time before God. Ask the Holy Spirit what He wants to tell you. Little Samuel in the tabernacle thought someone was talking to him. The old priest Eli told him (I Samuel 3:9-10) “Go and lie down again, and if someone calls again, say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went back to bed.

10 And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!”

And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

 12. Praise: You are near the end of your prayer time. It is time to close focusing on who God is. Praise Him for what He has done, even in this hour of prayer for you.

I hope this has been helpful to you. It is a helpful tool to me. I always finish refreshed. I pray that this may deepen your prayer life and give you a new, fresh way to spend time with God.

Up Next: Walk n pray

Previous Post: Popcorn Prayers and other on-the-go prayers



What might be valuable about quieting your heart and listening to God or meditating on Him?

Are you likely to try this? Why or why not?

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