Monday, December 30, 2013

One Hour of Prayer

A number of you have asked for the assignment I give my Spiritual Formation class on praying for one hour. Here it is.

One Hour of Prayer
(Taken from the book, The Hour That Changes the World, by Dick Eastman, with slight revision)

    “What, could you not watch with Me one hour?  Watch and pray…”
                                                                                                            --Jesus, Matthew 26:40, 41

Get alone where you can pray without distraction.  Taking 5 minutes for each of the following number points below, you can pray extensively for one hour. You may use a timer to keep yourself moving through the hour, unless you hope to spend more time.  Before you begin, have a Bible handy, with a passage you will want to look at in section 4.  Have a notebook handy to record any actions you become aware of that you need to take in response to this time of prayer, especially section 11. A  hymnal or iPod may be helpful for section 9.  Do not be discouraged if some parts of this time are difficult to fill--especially the first time you try this.  Don't be surprised is some parts move very quickly and five minutes have passed well before you are ready to move on.

  1. Praise—Divine Adoration
    1. Select a specific theme of praise
    2. Declare all that God is, related to this theme.
    3. Expand the theme as much as possible, and on into related themes. 
  1. Waiting—Soul Surrender
    1. Bring the mind to complete silence to the world
    2. Think only thoughts of God the Father, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit.
    3. Any voiced words should be toward God concerning his love or the desire for his presence
    4. Concentrate on the love of God for you.
  1. Confession—Declared Admission
    1. Ask God’s Spirit to search your heart for any unconfessed sin.
    2. Mentally examine recent activities to discover possible areas of spiritual warfare.
    3. Confess any specific sins you may be guilty of, either against God or others.
    4. Confess your need for specific guidance and supernatural empowerment.
  1. Scripture Praying—Faith Appropriation
    1. Ask God to bless His Word to your spiritual life, just as food is blessed to the body.
    2. Examine a passage of the Word.  Look carefully for ways to apply each verse to prayer.
    3. Ask what petition this passage prompts you to make, or what promise it offers.
    4. Develop a prayer based on the thoughts and phrases of the passage.
  1. Watching—Mental Awareness
    1. Seek to become spiritually alert.  Watch for ways Satan may try to hinder your walk today.
    2. Claim power to defeat Satan in each of these areas.
    3. Recall various current events that deserve special prayer related to God’s kingdom purposes.
    4. Ask the Spirit to reveal further aspects or needs of these events to pray about.
  1. Intercession—Earnest Appeal
    1. Pray for God’s work around the world
    2. Ask for greater compassion so that you will reach out to the lost with genuine concern.
    3. Ask for more laborers for the harvest, open doors for workers, and finances for their work.
    4. Endeavor to include specific countries and their leaders in your prayers.
  1. Petition
    1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you claim only those desires that will bring honor to the Lord.
    2. Make a mental list of specific needs for that day and offer each to God
    3. Enlarge each petition carefully; take time to lay out why you desire an answer for the request.
    4. Examine your motives for asking a petition.  Be sure they are pure in God’s sight.
  1. Thanksgiving
    1. Begin by thinking about all God has given you in recent days.
    2. Offer specific thanksgiving for spiritual material, physical, and external blessings.
    3. Thank God in advance for blessings you expect and are asking Him to give you in the future.
    4. Thank God for at least one particular blessing you have not thanked Him for previously.
  1. Singing
    1. Sing a specific song or songs to the Lord
    2. Select a specific theme for your songs, such as praise, thanksgiving, or favorite scriptures.
    3. Choose songs that are addressed to God. 
  1. Meditation
    1. Select a theme for full attention to that specific area of spiritual thought.
    2. Allow your mind to wander within the framework of your chosen theme.  Ponder all aspects of it.
    3. Ask questions about the theme that might lead to deeper mental study of the subject.
    4. Bring Scripture into all phases of meditation, since it is the foundation of all spiritual thought.
  1. Listening
    1. Ask God very specific questions about difficult problems or situations.
    2. Search Scripture for specific answers to these questions.
    3. Mentally evaluate all circumstances that relate to each question or situation.  Ask God to show you His plan through these circumstances.
    4. Be prepared to write down any ideas God may bring to mind concerning the details of solving a problem.

  1. Praise
    1. End with specific praise concerning God’s greatness.  Focus on His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.
    2. With the psalmist let us “praise God because He has done it.”  Look back at this hour and praise God for hearing each request.
    3. Let your spirit rejoice for a few moments at the close of prayer.
    4. Let your “amen” be strong—an affirmation that you believe God is trustworthy and can and will do these things in accordance with His will. 
 I also recommend getting the book by Dick Eastman, which takes a chapter to explain each section and offers a wealth of resources on each subject of prayer.  This new edition is available with an Foreward by Joni Eareckson Tada.  Click on the link below to get it at Amazon.com, or to purchase the Kindle version.