We are on the home stretch - the last 5 days of our 21-day Fasting Journey! Praise the Lord! Earlier in the fast, I wrote about developing a daily habit of prayer. Today, I want to share with you some helpful steps in sustaining your daily prayer time. As I mentioned before, there are so many distractions that keep us from our prayer and devotion time. While we are exhorted by scripture to pray without ceasing, the avoidance of taking the time to sit, sing, read and pray is a challenge for most of us. Although some churches do not, many churches have daily prayer times for corporate gatherings of believers who are fasting during this time.
The real challenge, then, is for those who do not have these corporate gatherings of prayer during the 21-day fasts and for those who cannot make the prayer times at their local churches. Lastly, the challenge is for those who want to develop a daily habit of prayer beyond the 21-day fast.
How, then, do we develop a habit of daily prayer and devotion in which we consistently take time to spend with God?
Step 1: Set a Time and Place
I am not a morning person, to say the least. However, I acknowledge that early in the morning is the best time to pray. It sets the tone for the day and it is free from all distractions of the day that can keep you from praying at all. It is unequivocally, the best time to pray for all these reasons and so many more.
I have set an prayer conference call for my church during the week Monday - Friday at 6:00am and 6:30pm. We pray for about an hour and it has been a tremendous blessing in just a few short months. From healing from depression to turnaround in family situations and more -- the testimonies are encouraging and speak to the faithfulness of God.
However, although we should always strive to, some of us will not consistently reach the goal of early morning prayer. Therefore, set a time and place during the day in which you can sit, without interruption to pray. For stay at home moms or those who are retired, this may be at the noon hour. For others, it may be in the evening. Whatever your set time is, be consistent in developing this habit of daily prayer.
Step 2: Have a Plan
In this step, a daily devotional can be a great tool. There are several great ones available at your local Christian bookstore. There are also several online versions that are very good. In addition, there are fasting journals with built in devotionals especially for the 21-day fast also available (see “fasting resources” on the Greater Works Ministry face book page). However, if you do not have access to a devotional, you simply want your prayer time to consist of the following: (1) reading the scripture; (2) studying or mediating on the scripture; (3) listening or singing spiritual hymns or worship music; (4) praying (which always begins with thanksgiving and ends with listening); and lastly, (5) journaling.
The time you spend in prayer and devotion is up to you but I would suggest at least 15 minutes is a good place to start. You can build from there.
Step 3: Hold Yourself Accountable
In this step, you find a way to hold yourself personally accountable by finding some means, say your prayer journal, personal calendar, or even electronic devices to set a time daily to pray. This is not a step to send you on yet another guilt trip for something else you did not do that you should have during the day. Rather, this step is to remind us daily that the most important thing we can do in a day is to spend time in prayer. You may also find a prayer partner, who will pray with you. While this does not replace your personal time with God, it is powerful nonetheless and is another way you may want to support your new habit of setting a time and place to pry.
Remember, God will reward openly for prayers in secret!