“How to Pray for Half-an-Hour,” by John Piper
Some have wondered: How do you spend a half-an-hour in prayer, not to mention two or three hours? Here is my three-fold answer:
(1) Resolve to do it. Don’t purpose to pray until you run dry. Purpose to pray the full half-hour. Prayer is work. It is not always a “sweet hour.” Jesus did many works with ease, but He prayed with “loud crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7).
(2) Think about what you want to see change in your heart and life and family and neighborhood and church and world. Make a list if necessary. Then pray through it, giving God reasons from Scripture why this is something that He would surely do.
(3) Put the Bible in front of you and simply read a line and turn it into a prayer. Paraphrase it, expand on it, apply it to yourself and others. This works best with the ethical portions of Scripture like Matthew 5-7; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 5, 6; Ephesians 4-6; Colossians 3, 4; 1 Thessalonians 5; 1 John, etc. You can pray all day once you catch on. And you will be surprised how many insights come as you really take Scripture seriously and try to pray it into your life. If you run into theological or interpretational problems, tell the Lord you will work on that later and move on. If we seek hard to obey what we do understand, more light will come on the hard parts.
Prayers for the week…
- As neighbors and citizens: Pray for your local community, your state and the nation. Pray for churches to be full of Gospel Word and Gospel deed. Pray for Christians to be willing to suffer for Christ and to endure trials which purify and make the light of Christ shine. Pray for your pastors and send them a note of encouragement.
- Pray for the pro-life movement around the world. Find someone who suffers with a terminal illness. Befriend them and their family. Show them love and concern and Christian grace.
- Pray for the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) ministry taking place at Texas Tech — led by Steve Percifield:
Steve hails from Van, Texas, and is a graduate of Texas Christian University (’96). He and his wife Kelly (Holton) Percifield met as camp counselors at Camp Ozark and have been married for 12 years. Kelly is an Oklahoma girl and graduated from Vanderbilt University (’96) and Texas Christian University, (M.Ed. ’02). Steve and Kelly spent the first eight years of married life in Fort Worth, Texas, before making the move to Glenside, Pa., where Steve recently graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary, (May ’08). They have five children, Lillian, Connor, Holt, Ella and Lucy. Steve will be beginning his third year of ministry at Texas Tech University this fall.
Using the new 2013 “watchlist” produced by Open Doors, we pray for the persecuted Christians of a different country each week.
Teachers/parents, consider this a great way to introduce geography into the weekly lessons. Show students where the nation is, then pray for Christians in that place.
This week we pray for the Christians of Morocco, which ranks No. 39 on the watchlist.
The government is led by an Islamic party and Islamic organizations have a growing influence. The Moroccan church is not always recognized by the authorities, but the expat church is, although restrictions apply to them and to the small traditional Catholic communities. The constitution provides some freedom of religion, but there are practical restrictions in exercising this freedom. The Arab Spring forced the King to make political concessions, with a greater commitment to respect civil rights.
- For Moroccan Muslims who convert; they are treated as criminals by the police and face rejection from friends and family
- Thank God for the hope that the Arab Spring has brought to persecuted Christian youth who are encouraged to press for more freedom
- For discipleship training and women’s training programs organized by Open Doors.
- Prayer for the nation – focusing this week on the state of Oklahoma. Let us remember those who continue to recover from devastating tornadoes earlier this year.
- In 2013, we are praying together by name for Christians in 50 nations, Christians in all 50 states and all the presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the emerging new Reformed body, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. You are encouraged to add specific pastors, lay leaders, congregations, missionaries, new church developments and other ministries to the list by posting a comment to the blog. (Please do not publicly post the names of missionaries serving in contexts where exposing their identity would cause them harm or bring harm to those they serve in Christ’s name.) Let us kneel before the Father and ask His will be done.
- Prayers for the PCUSA: Pray for the presbyteries of the Southwest: de Cristo, Grand Canyon, Santa Fe and Sierra Blanca.
- Prayers for Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC): Southeast (Jerry Clothier, stated clerk).
- Prayers for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA): the churches of the Covenant Presbytery (parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Missouri).
- Prayers for ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.
- Prayers for The Fellowship of Presbyterians.