Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 45 : Watch and Pray | Day 315

Pray for an Hour!

During my college days, one night I drove a group of students home after we had finished our weekly Christian radio program. The first person I dropped off was a delightful nursing student. I told the others in the car that I would walk her to her door and be right back. When I returned to the car, the rest of the passengers exasperatedly informed me that I had been gone for more than an hour! I was shocked, because it seemed to me that I had been gone for only a few minutes.

Why do we find it easy to talk to friends for hours, yet difficult to talk with the Lord for one hour?

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus said to Peter, James, and John, “Tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). However, when Jesus returned, He found the disciples asleep and said to Peter, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40). Following this, Jesus gave them the command to watch and pray. Just as these disciples found it difficult to spend an hour in prayer, in our lives today it can be a challenge as well to spend an extended period of time in prayer.

At a recent Counseling Seminar, I announced to the hundreds of young people who were attending that we were going to break into small groups and pray for an hour. Many of them had never prayed for a solid hour and wondered what it would be like. After the hour of prayer, they were so encouraged that the entire group wanted to do it again.

This group benefited from an outline that divided the hour into 12, 5-minute segments, each with a specific prayer focus. Here is the outline they followed:

  1. Praise—Praise the Lord for His character and for Who He is. Use His names to praise Him. Praise Him for His acts and for His creation.
  2. The Word—Read or quote a Psalm of praise to the Lord. Pray through a Psalm.
  3. Meditation—Take the time to meditate silently on the Scripture that has been read or on other passages that come to mind.
  4. Confession—Confess your sins to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. If in a group, confess sins appropriately in prayer. Confess the corporate sins of the nation.
  5. Intercession—Beseech the Lord on behalf of others. Pray for revival in the hearts of believers.
  6. Listen—Ask the Lord to speak to you, and quietly listen to Him.
  7. Record—Write down insights and direction that God gives you during your time of prayer.
  8. Petition—Present to God specific personal needs and desires that are according to His will.
  9. Family—Pray for your family and families in general, especially for the unity of marriages, and for fathers.
  10. Church—Pray for the unity and purity of the collective Body of Christ as well as your local church leadership.
  11. Government Leaders—Pray that God will give them wisdom and understanding.
  12. Thanksgiving—Give thanks to the Lord for what He has done and will do.

When we delight in the presence of the Lord, we will lose all sense of time.

Let's delight in God's presence by taking an hour to pray. Then, for your journal entry this week, write about your experience and the results. Also, write out any instances in which God prompted you to pray for a certain individual, and then find out what specific needs he or she was facing. Let's make watching and praying a regular part of our lives.

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard