Make a Flexible Prayer Plan: LAST DAY of the Pray-May Challenge

For the month of May, we have explored multiple prayer practices, all designed to enhance our conversations with God. Today, on the last day of the Pray-May Challenge, we look back and plan forward.

Why? So we can make a flexible prayer plan for our ongoing prayer lives.

When we look back at what’s been helpful to us in prayer, we can plan forward toward greater conversations with God.
First, we look back.

You likely missed a few of the prayer challenges over the last 31 days. Completely understandable–it was a lot to take in!  Feel free to scroll back through the days as a reminder. (I’m considering putting them all into a downloadable pdf or ebook for my blog readers so they are more easily accessible, but for today, you’ll have to look back through May’s posts.)

  • What prayer practices were most meaningful to you? Identify 2-3 practices that helped you grow.  
  • Why were they helpful to you? Do you notice any commonalities? 
  • What was most challenging to you; though intriguing, they will require more effort and time to fully appreciate? 
Next, we plan forward.

The goal in planning forward is not to make a rigorous prayer schedule, but to design an open, flexible plan for regular conversations with God. Rather than being restrictive and demanding, think of it more like planning fun dates with someone you love, or designing outings with a good friend.

Of the 2-3 prayer practices that were most meaningful to you, how would you like to integrate them into your life moving forward? 

  • For example, having been intrigued by the concept of prayer walking in my community, I’d like to go out for a prayer walk on one Saturday a month, and I’d like to see if I can get one or two others to join me.
  • Or, I really grew through the 5 minutes per hour of prayer, during my waking hours, and I’d like to see about practicing that at least a few days per month.
  • I loved Lectio Divinathe art of prayerful Scripture reading and meditation–and I’d like to practice that on a regular basis during my morning Bible reading time. Similarly, talking to Jesus from within a Gospel story really drew me in, and I want to keep trying that out.
  • It could be that Praying God’s will through Paul’s Prayers has really helped you pray more effectively for those you love, and you want to integrate that more fully into your regular prayers.

You get the idea. After identifying the 2-3 practices that have been most meaningful to you, make an open, flexible plan to use them as a regular part of your conversations with God.

Here’s my challenge for you as you do: 

  1. Keep it fun, and keep it gracious. Don’t be hard on yourself, but rather lean into these practices as exciting, liberating ways of freeing up time and space for you and God.
  2. Share what you are trying with someone who will appreciate it, and may even want to join you in some of the prayer practices (either together, or on their own). Your journey toward greater conversations with God will inspire others longing for more in their lives, too.
  3. Don’t be afraid to switch things up. If there anything we learned this month, it’s that there are a whole variety of creative ways we can talk to our Father (and we barely scratched the surface!).  If you find your conversations with God are getting dull or boring, for your sake and his, change things up!!

Before I close this post in prayer, would you do me one favour?

Please tell us what prayer practices you’ve chosen to continue going forward, in the comments below. That would be so encouraging to all of us.

My prayer for you as we close this month of challenges: Father, thank you for the gift of friendship with you. What an astonishing thought, that you have befriended us, and that you long to simply be with us in loving communion. Inspire us, by your Holy Spirit, to enjoy your presence, to rest in your will, and to walk boldly after you, each day of our lives. For your grace and your love, we stand forever grateful and amazed. We love you!! 

Creating space to meet with God is fun and exciting! Just look at this guy!

Practice Healing Prayer: Day 30 of the Pray-May Challenge

Do you know anyone who is suffering from physical illness? Yes, you probably do. In spite of our many advances medically, we are surrounded by people who experience chronic and acute pain, as well as various serious health conditions. Many of our family members, friends, co-workers, and fellow students are living with pain, often unvoiced and unknown. And all needing to experience Jesus’ love.

Today, I challenge you to pray for their healing.

Praying for physical healing in the name of Jesus has enormous biblical precedent. Jesus spent much of his ministry healing the sick, and he empowered his followers to do the same. The early church practiced regular healing prayer, and Jesus continued to heal people by the Holy Spirit, witnessing to his ongoing resurrection power through his body, the church.  Paul understood that there are those within the body who have spiritual gifts of healing, but also that praying for the healing of others was just part of the normal, Christian life.

In the book of James, we are encouraged to pray for the sick as a community, calling on elders to anoint with oil and pray for healing. By no means does this restrict prayers for healing only to elders! Rather, we are to practice faithful prayer, as a community, on behalf of those among us who are suffering.

As you pray for those in need, here’s some practical advice to keep in mind:
  • Before you pray for the person, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you so that you can minister to them with the Spirit’s power and grace.
  • After listening to how the person is doing, and hearing them share about their physical (or emotional, mental, spiritual, etc) struggles, ask that person if you can pray for them right now. If they are unwilling, don’t press it. For many people, they’ve never been asked this before, and it may seem awkward to them. If they seem uncomfortable, ask if it would be alright for you to pray for them later. Also: if you’re in a public space, be sensitive to how they may be feeling exposed.
  • If you do pray, don’t be weird about it. Don’t shout or speak strangely or get all amped up. Be at peace, and speak as you normally speak. You don’t need to close your eyes–in fact, there’s good reason not to, as you are able to observe how the person is doing as you pray.
  • Simply ask Jesus to heal them. You don’t need to be flowery or verbose: just speak the truth of Jesus’ love for them and ask that he would heal them.
  • If they are willing, ask if you can place your hand on their shoulder. Be sensitive to those who may not feel comfortable with being touched. Always respect boundaries and always be appropriate. (I find that there are those who like to clasp hands, which is great.) There seems to be a significant connection between physical touch and physical healing–not every time, but many times that Jesus healed others, he touched them.
  • Remember that asking Jesus to heal someone is not about you–you are simply obeying Jesus by praying, and letting Jesus work. Sometimes we get worried about ourselves–how we look, what others will think, what if Jesus doesn’t heal, etc. Healing is Jesus’ job; ours is to pray.
  • Remember that people feel loved when you pray for their healing, regardless of how God chooses to answer. The Holy Spirit ministers his love to others when we care enough to pray, and that works a deep healing in the life of someone who is feeling pain or suffering alone.
  • In that vein, make sure to remind people of Jesus’ love for them, even quoting a simple Scripture in which to anchor your reminder (such as John 3:16 or Romans 8:38-39). Pray for the Holy Spirit to pour the Father’s love into their hearts. 
  • Follow up with this person later, perhaps by sending them a message or asking them about how they are doing the next week. Show that you care for them in practical ways.
  • And continue to pray for them! Be faithful in remembering them before Jesus.
Praying for someone’s healing is a profound way of showing them God’s love.

Praying for someone’s healing can feel intimidating or foreign, but it shouldn’t be. Laying hands on someone’s shoulder and asking Jesus to touch them should be as normal as anything we do.  And praying for healing is a profound way of showing God’s concern and interest in others.

I hope and pray you will take courage today, and reach out to pray for someone else. And as you do, may the Spirit fill you, gifting you with his power and presence. And through your care and obedience, may others experience the healing power of Jesus, touching them, mending them, helping them and restoring them, in his name. Amen.

Practice Daily Prayer in the Celtic Tradition: Day 29 of the Pray-May Challenge

We are almost done our 31 day prayer challenge, and I’ve been waiting to introduce you to Celtic Daily Prayer. In this wonderful tradition, people gather together (if possible) morning, noon and evening to pray through a a collection of prayers, Scriptures and meditations. The community at Northumbria produced this prayer guide in order to share with others the central liturgy of their community. I’m very thankful for them.

I have found this prayer book to be a terrific resource. We have used it as a family around the table, as a church for weekend retreats, as well as for personal prayer times. I love the rhythm of this liturgy, the way the prayers work deep into your heart and mind (as you use them more and more), going with you throughout your day, and bringing you back again.

For those unaccustomed to recited prayers, it will be new and invigorating, even if the strangeness of it may take some getting used to. For others more familiar, it will re-introduce you to practices you may have forgotten.

For Day 29, I challenge you to do two things: 
  1. First, go over to the Northumbria Community website, and read the page describing how to use this prayer book (they call it “Praying the Daily Office”).
  2. Second, pray the morning, midday and evening prayers, which can be either on the page I just linked you to, or by following these links:

This is a resource you will want to come back to, and so I am going to minimize my own words today, encouraging you instead to dive deep into the Northumbria Community and experience all the Spirit has for you through them. Keep coming back to this site, and consider buying the Celtic Daily Prayer book for yourself and your family.

That’s all for today. And with the words of blessing which conclude the Celtic Morning Prayer, I send you: 

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever He may send you.
May He guide you through the wilderness,
protect you through the storm.
May He bring you home rejoicing
at the wonders He has shown you.
May He bring you home rejoicing
once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Try Hourly Prayer: Day 28 of the Pray-May Challenge

Ask someone when they pray, and you are often met with one of two responses: either they pray at a set time or times, like the morning, or at meals, or they pray all throughout their day, whenever they remember or are inspired to do so. Today’s challenge is a mix of both.

Day 28 of the Pray-May Challenge

Here’s what I encourage you to do: set aside 5 minutes every waking hour of today to pray. Only five minutes, consistently kept over the course of the day, adds up to well over an hour.

5 minutes x 15 hours = over an hour of intentional conversation with God in one day.

Why would we do that? Praying at set times has a long history within the Christian church, though the times are usually a little more spread out (and lasted a bit longer). Our brothers and sisters understood the value of a regular prayer rhythm, and we can follow their example. By praying at prearranged times, you become more conscious of the other 55 minutes, and your day becomes marked by conversation with God. What’s more, the act of stopping and talking to God, for a brief five minutes, will infuse your day with greater awareness of the Spirit’s presence and more openness to his promptings.

So how do we do this?

  1. Decide when you will pray, and set up an hourly alert system. Use your phone, set an alarm, or post a reminder of some sort that will interrupt you, if need be, to call you to prayer.
  2. Begin your day with a short prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help you in this day of intentional prayer.
  3. As you pray throughout the day, you may want to follow a similar form each time, or mix it up. You could pray using one of Paul’s prayers, the Lord’s Prayer, Mary’s prayer, or one of our many prayer challenges posted throughout May. Or you can simply talk to the Lord about the hour that’s passed, about your own heart and mind, about what you are thinking and feeling.
  4. One thing I do urge, however: praise God each time you stop to pray. Make praise central to your expression, whatever else you then go on to talk about with God. Our Father is worthy of our praise, any time, anywhere. I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.” (Psalm 145:1-2 NIV)
  5. At the end of your day, I encourage you to take a few moments and reflect on how these intentional prayer times, interspersed as they where, affected you. What did you notice about your prayer times? How did the rest of your day go? What surprised you? What was difficult? What would you do differently? Will you do it again? 
The more intentionally we listen to the Spirit, the more clearly we’ll hear him speak.

I’d love to hear how this impacted you, as well as ways it was a struggle. Post in the comments below.

My prayer for you today: Holy Spirit, each moment is a gift from you. Would you mark this day by an awareness of your presence with us? And each hour, as we stop to speak and to listen to you, may we receive all that you have for us. And may your name be praised, in us and through us. We offer this day to you, knowing that it is your gift to us. Amen. 

 

Have you ever prayed for God’s creation? Day 27 of the Pray-May Challenge

When we hear groaning, we assume someone is in pain. We are empathetically moved to help or comfort those who are hurting, as we are able.

All of creation is itself groaning (Romans 8:22),  and that groaning can be heard if we have the ears to hear it. From songbird extinctions to topsoil loss, from habitat destruction to the increase in natural disasters, creation’s groaning is fever pitch. Are we willing to intercede on creation’s behalf?

Today’s prayer challenge is to pray for creation.

Have you ever done that? Praying for creation is an expression of our responsibility to care for God’s creation as his images. As royal priests within creation, we attend to the hurt and pain of creation, and cry out on its behalf to the creator.

Here’s what I encourage you to do today:

  1. Go outside. There’s just something about being in creation, praying for creation. Even sitting near a flower pot or standing in a tiny park helps.
  2. Read a Psalm of Creation, such as Psalm 104 or Psalm 19.
  3. Begin praising God for features of his creation that you love–name them to him, giving him glory for their wonder and beauty.
  4. As you praise God for his wonderful creation, begin to name areas of his creation that are hurting or groaning in some way. Depending on your particular knowledge, you may want to pray for the desperate state of our honeybees, the significant increase in natural disasters worldwide causing huge hurt to many of the world’s poorest people, local farmers striving to produce good food in earth-careful ways, or policy makers who affect how we conduct business and care for creation.
  5. Our role as God’s earth-keepers must include intercession, as we pray on behalf of creation to the God of all creation. Pray today as one human feeling the weight of your responsibility to serve and protect God’s good earth.
  6. Finish your prayer time by thanking God for the resurrection, recreation hope we have, hope that includes all of creation. Read Romans 8:18-28, taking heart in God’s promise to work out all things for the good of those who love him, and for the good of those he loves.
Praying for creation may seem new to you, but I can’t think of a better way to embrace our role as God’s care-taking stewards than to echo creation’s groans within our own, knowing the Spirit will take all these groans and intercede on behalf of us all.

Prayers on behalf of creation are increasing, and we need to join in. A Rocha Canada, a Christian conservation group, hosted a prayer room on behalf of creation at the 2017 Mission Fest in Vancouver. I encourage you to check it out this update, which includes a wonderful little prayer guide you’ll want to download. And there are more. I’ve been enjoying an amazing prayer guide for God’s creation called Earth Gospel by Sam Hamilton Poole. Poole breaks down this guide into four weeks of daily prayers, leading us toward loving intercession for the world God loves.

So go outside today and pray. Start simple, but start.

And as you do, this is my prayer: We believe in you, Father, Creator of heaven and earth. And today we pray that you would create in us a desire to intercede on behalf of your beautiful yet broken creation. May we hear the groaning, and may we echo that groaning within our own spirit, confident that you hear us and that you respond. Increase our commitment to care and our capacity to love all that you have made. For the earth is yours, and everything in it, the world, and all who love in it–we bless you and thank you for your good gifts, and for the blessing, privilege and responsibility to care for your good earth, as you made us to do. For your glory and earth’s good we pray, amen. 

 

Praying to Walk By the Spirit: Day 26 of the Pray-May Challenge

Walking. One foot in front of the the other. Sometimes in short, quick steps, and at other times, by long strides. Navigating around broken pavement, fallen branches, and garbage strewn along the path, we make our way forward.

Walking. In the Scripture, walking is a metaphor for our relationship with God.  Enoch walked with God, as did Noah. Abraham was commanded by God: “walk before me faithfully, and be blameless,” as was all of God’s people just before they entered into the land God had prepared for them.

Walking represents togetherness and agreement. To walk before the Lord meant putting one obedient foot in front of the other, humbly living in response to the Father who loves us. Walking was a sign of presence and of friendship, such as God walking in the garden with the man and the woman, or choosing again to walk among his people as their God in the wilderness.

So let’s walk. That’s our prayer today, that we would walk in friendship with God. It is grounded in Paul’s letter to the Galatian Christians, when he commanded them to “walk by the Spirit.”  Keep in lockstep with the One who has been given to us, as a deposit by the Father. Remain close to the One who fills us with new creation life, and lives in us.

On Day 26, this is our prayer: Spirit, let us walk with you. 

When we first open our eyes in the morning, let this be our prayer: “Holy Spirit, help me walk with you today.” This can be a daily practice, and helps centre us as we wake. We can lay for a moment and think of our day coming, inviting the Holy Spirit to lead us as we go.

By purposing to walk by the Spirit, we are reminded that God is always with us, as the One who is in us. This helps us acknowledge God’s presence, even during difficult or boring moments.

Walking by the Spirit also keeps us attentive to ways he is working, inviting us into people’s lives, asking us to pray, challenging us to witness, convicting us of sin or neglect, and calling us to keep up as he moves forward. By keeping this prayer before us, we are more ready than ever to respond to his still, small voice.

The promise in Galatians 5:16 is clear: by walking in the Spirit, we are able to live the life God has given us. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Instead of living for ourselves, we can live for each other. Rather than doing what feels right but destroys relationships, we can do what is right, and see our relationships flourish (see Galatians 5:19-26 for more). What a powerful promise.

So, that’s our prayer challenge for today.

Holy Spirit, may we walk in you today. Grow in us your fruit, which are not only signs of life but also bringers of life to all who are around us. And as we read in Galatians 5:25, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” That is our prayer today: may we keep in step with you. Amen. 

 

Talk with Jesus from a Gospel Story: Day 25 and Imaginative Prayer

What would it have been like to bump into Jesus along a dusty road in Galilee? Can you imagine the setting of the picnic by the lake, when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish? Are you able to envision the dust filling the room when four guys tore off the roof to let their paralyzed friend down in front of Jesus?

And then, right at that moment in the story, Jesus turns and locks eyes with you. He smiles. What do you say?

Today’s challenge is to talk with Jesus, right from the middle of a gospel story. Through the use of our imagination, we will find ourselves near Jesus, and sharing with him our questions, our thoughts, our heart.

Here’s how we do it.

  1. Pick a gospel story you find intriguing. There are many to choose from, ranging from Matthew through John. I hesitate to suggest any to you. If you aren’t able to pick a story within a few minutes, simply turn to the early chapters in Mark, and find one there.
  2. Taking the story you’ve chosen, read it through several times. And as you do, focus on the details. What are you told about the location, the setting, the time of day? Who is there? What is happening? What just happened before this story? What is the emotional mood within the story (are people upset? concerned? joyful? confused?)? Soak in the story for a bit.
  3. Once the story has begun to solidify in your imagination, begin to walk around in it. Our imaginations are powerful. As you see this story take shape, look at it from different perspectives. Breathe deeply: what does it smell like? Listen carefully: what sounds to you hear? Is there food? What does it taste like? Press further into the scene to experience it imaginatively.
  4. Now that the scene of this story is familiar to you, where is Jesus? Look for Jesus within the story. Who is getting his attention? What is he doing? How are others reacting to him? What is his facial expression? What is he saying?
  5. And now, imagine Jesus turning to look at you. He smiles, and then walks over, eyes never leaving yours. As he comes up to you, he asks, “How are you, friend?”  What do you say?
  6. Here is where you have a conversation with Jesus. Perhaps you both find a more comfortable place to sit together, or you take a walk down the lane. Maybe you are already sitting, and Jesus joins you on a patch of grass. See it all unfold, and then just talk to him. Talk to him, and as you do, imagine his eyes, attentive, listening, focused, warm. He is fully fixed on you, his beloved friend. Open your heart and share with him all that you are thinking and feeling and wondering.
  7. When you are done your conversation, imagine it finishing naturally. Perhaps someone else came and needed Jesus’ attention, too. Maybe a child of yours came close and asked for your help. Or you both had somewhere else to be.  Finish as you would a conversation with any dear friend–with a hug, a handshake, a few quick words, a farewell.

Imaginative prayer is an incredibly powerful tool for conversation with Jesus. And while it may be very new for many of you, I encourage you to give it a serious try.  On a first attempt, it may seem a little stiff, but I know that as you practice it, the ability of your own imagination will grow, and you will be able to see Jesus more clearly and discover conversation with him becomes more easy and more real as you do.

Let me know how this goes for you. I’d love to hear about it. You can comment below. 

My prayer for you today: Father, help us to see your Son within your story. Give our imagination insight and courage, so that we may indwell your Word, and speak to your Son from within it. Overcome our fears and open us up to conversation with Jesus, by your Holy Spirit. Amen. 

Write a letter to God: Day 24 of the Pray-May Challenge

Do you ever feel muddled in prayer? Have you ever wanted to slow it down and express more clearly what you are thinking and feeling? I know I have, and I’ve found writing helps me.

We’ve covered a lot of ground in these last three weeks of our prayer challenge. Today I’m keeping it very simple: Write a letter to God.

For those who journal or write, this exercise may seem naturally easy. But for others, writing anything can be a real stretch, and even more so with something as intimate as prayer.

There is something wonderful about a letter, received from a friend who loves you. Back on Day 10, we wrote a letter from God to us, as we practiced the imaginative exercise of looking at God, who was looking at us. (It’s a great practice: try it out by clicking here.)

Today, we’ll send a letter back. I encourage you to get out a fresh sheet, open up a new journal, turn over the notebook page, and just start. Write a letter to God.

No stress. It doesn’t have to be perfect or poetic.  No one else will read this. Just dive in and express your heart, your mind, your fears, or your boredom to your Father. If you jump around from a minute detail of the day, to a prayer request for a family member, to the deepest longing of your heart, and then back to what’s happening later–that’s fine! Welcome to normal conversation with a good, good friend. You may also find that you are expressing things you didn’t know were there, in ways you didn’t expect.

If you struggle with writing this letter, try to spend a least 5 minutes writing. After you’ve written for 5 minutes, feel free to stop (unless you are in the flow and want to keep writing!). If writing comes easy to you, then I challenge you to press further than you normally do.

But the practice is simple, and the point is clear: Write a letter to your God, so that you can more clearly express your heart and your mind to the One who loves you most.

Enjoy.

Father, as we write to you today, may we express our hearts and minds to you. Thank you for the gift of writing, which many do not have or have not had down through history. I ask that today’s practice of writing will inspire us to further conversation with you. Amen. 

Pray for 2 Youth: Day 23 of the Pray-May Challenge

Here’s the stark truth: many youth, though they grew up in vibrant Christian churches, drop church and stop following Jesus after graduating high school. We are deeply concerned about this trend.

Many capable people are asking why, and are digging into this alarming drop-off. James Penner, a former colleague of mine from IVCF, has conducted a Canada-wide study on the relationship of Canadian youth to church in the ground-breaking study Hemorrhaging Faith.  Kara Powell, from the Fuller Youth Institute, is leading the way on how churches and families can help faith to become more “sticky” in the lives of our youth, and she identifies six crucial elements in this article, which then morphed into her important book Sticky Faith, co-authored with Chap Clark.

Today I ask you to pray for youth. In particular, I would ask you to identify and pray for two teenagers outside of your immediate family.
  1. After identifying two youth by name, would you pray a blessing upon them? Pray that they would experience God’s favour and grace in their lives–family, church, work, school, and relationships. Pray as the Spirit leads you.
  2. Kara Powell mentions 6 key components to a faith that sticks. One crucial element is that youth are connected to at least five caring adults. Would you pray for those connections? Pray that these youth would have caring adults in their lives–adults who will talk to them about their own faith journey, encouraging them to express their doubts and sharing with them about the grace of Jesus which is greater than any failure. Pray that they will have vibrant, Christian adults who will talk to them about life following Jesus after high school. Pray, pray, pray for these connections, and as you do, be open to how the Holy Spirit may be inviting you to be one of those caring adults.
  3. Take a prayer of Paul’s, as we outlined in Day 2 of our prayer challenge, and pray this prayer over the lives of these youth. Pray that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened, that they would know how deep and high and wide and long Jesus’ love is for them, and that they would be drawn more deeply into his life.

Thank you for praying. As the father of two teenage boys and the pastor of a church with many more teenagers, my heart longs for each one to become fully committed followers of Jesus who experience God’s life-changing love and purpose for a lifetime.

Our youth matter. Let’s pray, and let’s keep on praying. I challenge you to post the names of these two youth you’ve prayed for today, and keep praying for them. Pray for them for a month, and then ask: What more, Lord? How can I encourage this young man or woman in their faith? How can I be part of how you will grow them up spiritually strong? And keep praying!!

My prayer today: Father, we love our youth, and ask that you would pour out your Holy Spirit on them today. We ask that you would create in them a deep longing for you, and a tenacity to follow Jesus whole-heartedly. And give us your vision for them. Inspire us and challenge us in how we are part of the answer to our own prayers. Move us into ministry, as we become part of the caring team of adults who support and mentor and cheer and listen to these youth of yours. For the sake of your people, we pray. Amen. 


Want to know more?

Going further than the links I’ve already provided above, you could also listen to two different conversations with Kara Powell on the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast. Super encouraging and inspiring.

I’d also suggest you read James Emery White’s latest book Generation Z. (And you can catch his mind-blowing insight, again with Carey Nieuwhof, here.)

Interview Someone About Prayer: Day 22 of the Pray-May Challenge

On day 22 of our Pray-May Challenge, I want to change things up. Rather than asking you to pray a certain way or to focus on a particular subject, I want you to interview someone else about prayer.

We can learn so much from others, and yet prayer usually remains hidden from sight. As a result, we don’t even talk about it with each other, in spite of how helpful that would be for us.

So here’s the challenge: Identify a praying follower of Jesus, interview them, and then ask them to pray for you.

Learning from one another is one of the best ways to expand our practice of prayer.

A little advice on how to go about this: After identifying who to interview, explain your interest in growing your prayer life, perhaps mentioning this month-long challenge you’ve been trying (if that’s true), and ask them if they’d be willing to answer a few questions about prayer.

Here is a list of suggested interview questions. Feel free to add, subtract or edit these questions according to your own personal interests. Make sure to jot notes as the person is speaking, after asking permission to do so. Tell them you want to be able to remember what they have shared so you can reflect on them later.

Prayer Interview Questions:
  1. Can you tell me a little about your prayer life?
  2. Why is prayer important to you?
  3. What role does Scripture play in your conversations with God?
  4. Can you describe some of the particulars of how you pray (position, place, time, how long, methods, etc)? (Explain that you are trying to get a sense of practical ways you can expand your practice of prayer.)
  5. Who has been most influential to your prayer life? (Who taught you to pray or modeled prayer for you?)
  6. Can you share a story of a time when God answered your prayers?
  7. Likewise, can you tell me about a time when your prayers were not answered in the way you had hoped they would be?
  8. What has been the most difficult aspect of prayer for you?
  9. Why do you love praying?
  10. Can you give me your best advice for growing in conversation with God?

When you are done your interview, ask them if they would be willing to pray for you. Share with them an aspect of prayer that you are struggling with or trying to grow in, and ask them to pray for your relationship with God.

And as you finish, share one particular thing that really encouraged you, and thank them for their kindness and candor. 

A couple practical things: 

  • Even though we’ve been posting daily challenges, this may take you a few days to complete, with schedules and such. No problem–just try to do it this week.
  • This interview would be best if conducted in person, though it could be done through Skype, FaceTime, the phone, or even through email (though I’d really try to do it live and face-to-face, if at all possible).
Taking notes will help you reflect on what you’ve heard later.

After you have conducted this interview, I highly recommend that you spend a little time reflecting on what they shared with you.

  • What was the most encouraging thing they said?
  • What was the most challenging for you?
  • What did you learn?
  • What surprised you?
  • How has this grown your appreciation for prayer?
I would love to hear about what you learned. Do share in the comments below, even if you have to come back to this post a few days from now.

My prayer for you today, and as you conduct a prayer interview: Holy Spirit, guide us to praying children of yours, from whom we can learn more about following you. Open up this conversation, and enable us to speak and to listen, for the benefit and growth of each other in you. And may we learn together more of what it means to be in meaningful, life-giving conversation with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 


Are you growing through these prayer challenges? Please share them with a friend.
Just discovered the Pray-May Challenge? Scroll back through May and try a few of our daily challenges.
New to prayer? Try out these three posts to get started.
  1. Here’s how Jesus taught his newbies to pray. 
  2. These classic prayers from the Apostle Paul will give you great guidance. 
  3. And here’s a simple prayer you can take with you throughout the day.