Let me begin by explaining why I developed this plan. If I’m honest, my prayer time was embarrassing. I told people I would pray for them only to pray for them once and promptly forget about them entirely. When I was praying, I was constantly fighting a wandering mind and sleep-inducing boredom as I would use the same phrases over-and-over:
“God, please be with Martha in her life.”
“God, I bring Bobby before you and pray that you would work in his life.”
Honestly, I had no idea what it meant for God to “be with” Martha or to “work in” Bobby’s life, but I prayed like this for almost everyone. Prayer was stale and nothing more than a duty which had to be done. Jesus and Paul did it (and apparently found it somehow enriching), so we should too. People described prayer as the expression of a relationship, but I saw it more as an exercise in rambling. I wanted to be serious when I told someone “I’ll be praying for you.” and I wanted to actually enjoy praying.
If you’re in a similar situation as I was, I hope this prayer plan is helpful and encouraging (even if you don’t use it as laid out below). This plan is designed to help you awaken your prayer life and “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). I have used this plan to guide my prayer life for some time and I hope you find helpful too. Feel free to tweak it to work for you and your schedule. There is a prayer planner that let’s you record and manage prayer requests according to this plan here. Without further ado, here are the basics of this prayer plan.
What? - The Basics
There are two basic parts of this plan:
- Prayer items
- Bible passages
The idea is that you split up your prayer items over a week and will have a specific Bible passage to guide your prayer each week. For example, let’s say you have a friend named Martha and you want to pray for her. In this system, you would pick a day of the week on which to pray for her (e.g. Monday). Thus, you will pray for Martha every Monday. Additionally, each week there is a passage of scripture to guide you thoughts and prayers. For example, one week it might be 1 Thessalonians 1:2-7. The next week, it might be 2 Peter 3:17-18. These passages help you know the Bible more and can help guide your prayers for Martha. Here is an example showing the structure of this prayer plan:
In the next section, I’ll describe how to get started with this process.
How? - Getting Started
So let’s get started! The first step is to list out all of the people, organizations, and other topics that you want to be praying for.
As you list out everything you want to be praying for, this list will probably get rather large. That’s fine. It can include anything; family, friends, coworkers, personal requests, etc.
Next, print out or draw a calendar or table like the one here (you can also use a task app that lets you create recurring tasks).
Now, split up the requests through the days of the week. You can group them (e.g. put requests for family members together on certain days of the week) or can spread out similar requests throughout the week (e.g. put a request or two for family members on every day throughout the week).
Now you have a prayer plan! This will help you pray for a lot of people in a disciplined, systematic way.
The last step is to choose a Bible passage to guide and enrich your prayers. I recommend you choose this passage at the beginning of every week. The goal is to find a passage of the Bible which helps guide root your prayers in the truth of scripture. For example, if I were praying in light of 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4, I would be praying for believers on my list that God would grow their faith and trust in God so that they can do the “work of faith”. Likewise for the “labour of love” and “steadfastness of hope”. I would be praying that God would grow their love and perseverance in light of what Christ has done for us. I would also praise God for His choice to save each of the believers (see verse 4). For those who have not repented of their sins and turned to follow Christ, I would be praying that God would work in their hearts to change their hearts and bring them to saving faith so that they too can show the same faith, love, and perseverance discussed in this passage.
Below is a list of good Bible passages for guiding prayer. It is by no means exhaustive. Some of the passages focus on who God is. Others are a praise or admonition from one of the New Testament letters.
- Gen. 1:1
- Ex. 4:10-13
- 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4
- 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
- Ex. 34:5-9
- Job 38 – 42
- Psalms 111
- 2 Peter 3:17-18
- Psalms 50
- 2 Thessalonians 3:16
- Ezk. 1
- 1 Timothy 6:20
- Isa. 6:1-7
- Hosea 6:1-3
- Ephesians 6:23-24
- Revelation 21 – 22
There is also a helpful list of all prayers from the New Testament here.
Prayer is a tremendous blessing that you are missing out on if you are not praying regularly or are not enjoying your prayer time. To help you get started, there is an online prayer journal/planner here that is based on the system I’ve described in this blog. Enjoy and feel free to contact me if you have any questions!