A few weeks, ago before the Sunday evening service, we had one of the meetings that I most look forward to—a Pastor’s Prayer Partners fellowship. This is a group of people in our church who have committed to pray with a partner for me, my family, and the ministries of our church. Their commitment and faithfulness is a tremendous blessing and encouragement to me.
In addition to sharing prayer requests in our meeting, I shared with them three basic helps to a vibrant prayer life. None of these will catch you by surprise—they truly are basic—but I’ve discovered that they are basically missing in too many Christians’ lives.
All of us have times when we struggle in prayer. As Jesus said, “Watch and pray…the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Your spirit is willing (that’s why you’re reading this). How then can you overcome the weakness of the flesh?
Here are three simple places to start:
Time—Set a definite time to pray. Schedule it—just like you would any other important meeting. It seems that Jesus’ prayer time was early in the morning before the distractions of the day came crashing in.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.—Mark 1:35
List—Keep a list of the people and needs you should be praying for. Without a list, you can still pray, but your intercessory prayer, in particular, won’t be as faithful as it should be.
When you study the prayers of the Apostle Paul, you see that he prayed faithfully and fervently for those he led to Christ and discipled. You also see that he prayed for many people by name. (See Romans 16 for an example.) In my experience that kind of prayer life requires a list.
Partner—Jesus often prayed alone, but He also sought out prayer partners at Gethsemane—if not to pray with Him physically, to stand with Him prayerfully.
There is something about having times of praying with a partner that strengthens one another’s faith and arrests the Father’s attention.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.—Matthew 18:19
These three helps are basic, but that is what makes them so powerful. If they are missing, your prayer life will only limp along. Conversely, if they are not already in place, adding them will make an immediate difference.
When is your time to pray?
Do you have a current prayer list?
Who can you ask to be a prayer partner with you?