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!

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. 

 

Day 2 of the 31 Day Pray-May Challenge: Pray God’s Will by Praying a Prayer of Paul

Welcome to Day 2 of our 31 Day Pray-May Challenge!

If you’ve just jumped in, we started this month-long prayer journey yesterday. You can easily catch up on Day 1 by reading this introductory post. 

I really love the prayer practice I’m introducing today:

Day 2: Pray God’s Will by Praying a Prayer of Paul, on behalf of someone else.

How often do we struggle to pray God’s will for someone, wondering if what we are praying really is what God wants? By praying some of Paul’s prayers, as found throughout his Spirit-inspired writings, we can be sure that we are praying God’s will for those we love, and even those with whom we struggle.

PC: Pixabay Free Images

What are some of Paul’s prayers I am referring to? 

Here are some primary examples.

  • Ephesians 1:17-19a “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (NIV)
  • Ephesians 3:16-19 “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (NIV)
  • Philippians 1:4-6, 9-11 “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (9-11) “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (NIV)
  • Colossians 1:9-12 “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (NIV)

You can also pray some of Paul’s benedictory prayers, which are short but powerful.

  • 2 Corinthians 13:14: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (NIV)
  • Galatians 6:18: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.” (NIV)

Okay, so what do pray these prayers? 

  1. FIRST, CHOOSE THE PRAYER: We take one of these prayers, and we start by reading it through a few more times. If it’s longer, you may need to take a little time for this. The shorter ones, you’ll likely memorize within minutes.
  2. THEN, PRAY THE PRAYER: After reading your chosen prayer through, begin to pray it for a person in your life–it could be your spouse, a dear friend, or someone with whom you’ve been having a conflict. By “praying” it, I mean that you take this prayer of Paul and apply it, changing the words so that it directly references the person for whom you are praying. So, for example from Ephesians 3, “Lord Jesus, I pray that ____ may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for them, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”  At first, it may feel like you are simply reading it with that person in mind–that’s great! And powerful. But as you keep doing it, it will begin to become your own prayer more and more. 
  3. And then, let the PRAYER EXPAND: let the Holy Spirit take that prayer deeper into your own heart and mind, as you pray it for the person you have in mind. As you do, you may begin to take snatches of one prayer, say from Ephesians 1 and then mash it up with part of another prayer from Colossians 1. As you take these words in, you will find that they begin to blend together in a holy way, forming into beautiful prayer on behalf of someone else. And the Holy Spirit will lead you to pray for this person in ways you had not first considered, expanding upon his original prayer through Paul and joining it to your own prayer.

That’s your challenge for today, Day 2. Take a prayer of Paul and pray it for someone.

And as you do, know this: you are praying the God-breathed Word–God’s own revealed will–on behalf of someone else. It’s rare that we can pray with such confidence, knowing that what we are praying really IS what God wants, 100%.  So pray without reservation as you pray God’s amazing, transforming will for someone else.

As you do, I’m praying for you! I pray that your love, dear reader, may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best, even as you pray, and that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

Thanks for praying! Come back tomorrow for Day 3!!