How to spend an hour in prayer…

I am starting a prayer emphasis at the Wheaton College Graduate School tomorrow with a message called “Stop Dabbling at Prayer!” based on Mark 1:35-39. By the way, our once- a-week grad chapel talks are put up on YouTube the same day as they are given — Wednesdays, 10:40-11:25 am. Stop by our chapel service if you are in the area. The public is always welcome. We meet in Barrows Auditorium of the Billy Graham Center. Here is the link:

As I was saying, before I interrupted myself, we are starting a prayer initiative and I will be handing out a very simple guide to help students spend an hour alone in prayer. Its probably similar to other guides that you have seen, but I have shaped it over the years. You are welcome to use it and can tailor it to your own situation.

We desperately need to be a people of prayer! My friend, Dick Burr, used to say that the reason our churches are no longer praying church is because they are made of people who are no longer praying “in the secret closet.” (Matt. 6:6)

Hope you find this guide helpful…

10 minutes of Preparation: Quiet your soul before the Lord by reading out loud a Psalm, like Ps 51; personalize it and pray it back to the Lord. Come before the Lord with humility and repentance, and remember to apply the gospel to yourself.

10 minutes of Adoration: Read out loud a Psalm, like Ps 103; sing a hymn, like “Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation” or a worship song like Matt Redman’s “Blessed be Your Name.” Let your heart be filled with adoration and praise; sense the presence God “inhabiting” them. (Ps 22:3)

10 minutes of Thanksgiving: Remember and recount the Lord’s recent blessings in your life; deliverances, answered prayer, encouragements, provisions, etc. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Ps 118:1)

10 minutes of Petition: Bring your pressing issues and fears before Him. With what are you presently struggling: family, finances, studies, job, habits and patterns of behavior? “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to my pleas for mercy!” (Ps 130:1, 2) “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.” (Ps 143:10)

5 minutes of Listening Silence: Pray out loud 1 Samuel 3:9, “Speak Lord for your servant is listening” … then listen.

15 minutes of Intercession: Pray for your friends/relatives/neighbors/fellow workers/students and their needs. Pray for our college/grad school; faculty/staff. Pray for your church and its leadership; for its mission/outreach and its ministry to children and youth, widows, sick, and shut-in. Read Ps 107 out loud and then pray for your nation; its leaders, the poor/homeless, the oppressed/persecuted. Pray for the revival of God’s people (Acts 3:19). Also, pray for the global influence of the gospel; for the unreached, the planting of new churches and training of leaders for those churches, the ministries of care/compassion/justice/anti-slavery, and those in prison for the sake of the gospel.