A Plan to Pray

A Plan to Pray

Pray without ceasing.
—1 Thessalonians 5:17

How many of you believe that God communicates His direction, His peace, and His desires to us as we pray? Then let me ask you another question: Why don’t you pray more? If the sovereign God of the universe wants to talk to you about direction, if He wants to give you His peace, and if He wants to show you His good desires for you, then why don’t you spend more time in prayer?

I think it is not so much that we don’t want to pray; it is that we don’t have a plan to pray. The natural, unplanned flow of the spiritual life sinks to the lowest ebb of vitality. There is a race to be run and a fight to be fought. If you want renewal in your prayer life, you must plan for it. Let me suggest a plan for prayer where you can listen to the voice of God. In many ways, this resembles your plan for reading the Bible. There are three essential ingredients if you really want to hear from God through prayer.

First, you need a period of time. Now, we ought to pray at all times. First Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” Prayer ought to be as natural as breathing. When we are driving, we pray, “Lord, protect me.” Or when we are stopped at a red light, “Lord, please take care of my family today.” Or before we go into an important meeting, “God, give me wisdom.” We ought to pray without ceasing. But we also need to set aside a period of time every day not only to talk to God but to listen to Him. For Jesus, it was in the early morning hours. For some people, it might be during the noon hour. For some people, it might be at night. But there needs to be a time we set aside as holy, sacred, to listen to the voice of God.

Second, we need a place. There needs to be a place we meet with God to pray and listen to Him. When I was in high school I would ride my bicycle, then later drive my Volkswagen Beetle, to the park every morning. I would sit on that park bench and read my green Living Bible. Then I would pray and listen to God. It was on that bench where God spoke to me about some of the most important issues in my life. That park bench is a special place to me. Over the years the place has changed, but the principle has remained. There are places I go to meet with God. And I suggest that you find a place where you can meet with God. Even Jesus had a place out in the wilderness where He went for forty days of spiritual testing. Later we see in Mark 1 that He had a solitary place where He went in the early morning hours. And when He faced the greatest trial of His life, He had a place He went to—Gethsemane. If we are serious about listening to God, then we need to have a place we will meet God at a certain time.

Finally, for an effective prayer life, we need a pad. I am talking about a sheet of paper and a pencil or pen. I have become convinced that this is the greatest tool for an effective prayer life. Write down the things you are talking to God about. For example, I take a legal pad and draw a line down the middle. At the top of the page on the left side, I write my requests, and on the other side I put God’s answers. I think it is important to keep a list as a way of being effective and focused when you pray and talk to God. But a pad and a pen are also important for listening to God and recording what God says to you. I encourage you to keep a spiritual journal—a record of how God is dealing in your life. When you write down those lessons, you will be amazed as you go back over the months and years to see the lessons God has taught you and the way He has worked in your life.

God is real, He is present with us, and He is not silent. God is speaking to you. The question is, are you making time to listen?

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The God Who Speaks” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.