“Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour” (Matthew 26:40)?
To spend disciplined time alone with God, Dick Eastman, author of The Hour that Changes the World, has helped us by dividing prayer into twelve categories. He suggests that an hour (“keep watch with Me for one hour, Mt. 26:40”) be divided into twelve equal parts as follows: (1) Praise (Ps. 63:3); (2) Waiting (Ps. 46:10); (3) Confession (139:23); (4) Scripture praying (Jer. 23:29); (5) Watching (Col. 4:2); (6) Intercession (1 Tim. 2:1-2); (7) Petition (Mt. 7:7); (8) Thanksgiving (1 Thess. 5:18); (9) Singing (Ps. 100:2); (10) Meditation (Jos. 1:8); (11) Listening (Eccl. 5:2); and (12) Praise (Ps. 52:9).
The above reference to “scripture praying” may need a further explanation. In his book, Touch the World Through Prayer, Wesley Duewel suggests ten ways to use Scripture in seeking to make your prayer more effective:
(1) Begin your regular prayer times with God’s Word.
(2) Apply to your life what you read.
(3) Personalize Scripture passages during your prayer time.
(4) Bathe your soul in Scripture to increase your faith.
(5) Memorize verses of Scripture which will be useful in prayer.
(6) Use Scripture in praising and worshipping the Lord.
(7) Use Scripture to confess your unworthiness.
(8) Use Scripture prayers and prayer expressions.
(9) Claim the Bible promises when you pray.
(10) Use Scripture to rebuke Satan.
Father, I want to be “faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12)! Thank You for Your precious Word that allows me to draw near to Your heart. Spending an hour in prayer sounds difficult, yet with Your Word to draw upon, it may not be enough time! Give me a deep desire to develop an intimate relationship with You that involves praise, waiting, meditating, watching, thanking, listening, and so much more! Thank You for Your Word that gives me fresh vocabulary for prayer!
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 25, Disciplines of Personal Prayer by Dan R. Crawford). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God as the master even of the grave. Thank the Father that “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). Confess your failure to place your life and death fully in the hands of the risen Christ. Commit yourself to standing firm in the victory which Christ has achieved over sin and death and hell. Ask that you will “know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (15:58), and so work with extra fervor.
Pray that the people of your congregation will become well-grounded in the basics of the Scriptures, and that they will faithfully live their beliefs.