Speak Hope Podcast
EXTRA

Growing in Devotion to Prayer

This resource page accompanies Speak Hope Podcast 9: Be Devoted to Prayer where we explore the significance of devotion to prayer in the life and power of the early church.  God's ways haven't changed!  See below for some useful resources to help you (and maybe your church) to grow in devotion to prayer.  

Episode Summary

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  And pray ... that God may open a door for our message." (Colossians 4 v 2-3)

In praying for the spread of the gospel, God calls His people not just to pray, not even to be committed to prayer, but to be DEVOTED to prayer.  4 practical ways to do that are:

  • Learn to make prayer a priority
  • Learn to pray with others
  • Learn to pray for longer
  • Learn to pray with fasting

“The New Testament lays a greater stress on prayer than it does on the evangelisation of people.  There is a deeper need to pray than there is even for people to be converted, and I don’t say that lightly, because there is a fierce need for conversion.  But conversions won’t happen unless we are praying, and the Bible says that from beginning to end.”  (Bishop Sandy Millar)

How to pray for an hour without getting bored

Check out Mark's online video here.

Key verse: “Rejoice always.  Pray without ceasing.  In everything give thanks … for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thess 5:16-18)

Praying with fasting

To explore this further, check out John Piper’s helpful and inspiring book, A Hunger for God.  Here are a few key quotes to whet your appetite:

  • Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?  They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast." (Mark 2:19-20)
  • “The Bridegroom will not come until the gospel is preached to the nations, and the nations are reached through spiritual breakthroughs that come by fasting and prayer.”
  • “Should we not fast for the coming of the king?  This is not some strange new devotional practice.  It is simply saying with our hunger:  This much, O Lord, we want your work to be done and your kingdom to come.  This much, O Lord, we want you to return.”
Tips for (tired) parents of young children
  • Do what you CAN in prayer ... not what you can’t!
  • Aim to establish two disciplines: a daily prayer discipline + a semi-regular prayer discipline where you dig a bit deeper.
  • Remember that your children are your primary mission field.  As you bring them up in the knowledge of the Lord, you are playing a vital part in the Great Commission!
  • Many parents at St Mark’s have found Paul and Christine Perkin’s 1-minute, 3-point daily prayer very helpful in praying for their children.  It focuses on their three biggest life decisions:  (1) Pray that they keep growing in their knowledge of God.  (2) Pray that they find and pursue a God-directed purpose in life. (3) Pray that, if they choose to marry, they’ll find a spouse who loves Jesus. 
Some ideas from Christian parents:
 
  • “I tend to pray for my children and others while using the shower/bathroom first thing in the morning.  Putting a picture of my husband and the kids in there helps remind me to do it more consistently.” (Lisa)
  • “When the kids were smaller and I really struggled to find distraction-free time and stay focused, writing stuff down was helpful.  Not a wordy journal but short bullet point requests and thankyous.  And it was really encouraging to look back on this and see how God answered prayers and brought us through different struggles.  In that sleep-deprived season, I would forget what I’d been praying for desperately just a month or two ago.  Having it written down helped me see God at work even in the mundane.” (Katri)
  • “To pray for three minutes a day, it can be helpful to have prompts which fit in to the everyday jobs, like opening the fridge door, turning the kettle on or leaving the washing machine.”  (Evie)
  • "We try to have one evening a week when we pray together for stuff, including our kids - inevitably this time gets squeezed but it's in the diary. We also pray for immediate concerns very briefly before going to sleep each night." (Roger)
Further tips
  • During fasting:  Whenever you feel a hunger pang, why not pray a short prayer.  For example: “Lord, I’m hungry for you, and hungry for your glory in this world.”
  • Redeem the time:  If you find yourself unable to sleep in the middle of the night, why not redeem the time, and pray for the advance of God’s kingdom.
  • Use physical prayer aids:  For example, Natalie has a prayer band on her wrist with 5 knots representing 5 people.  It reminds her to pray for those people on her way to work each day.
  • Combine worship and prayer:  Scripture is the raw material of prayer.  Worship, praise and thanksgiving are like the oil that keeps everything moving.
Recommended Resources
  • The Alpha Prayer Guide - An inspiring and practical resource that includes some great templates for dynamic and engaging prayer meetings.  (It can also be viewed online here.)
  • The Prayer Course - A free, online video resource produced by Pete Greig and the 24-7 prayer movement, which very helpfully explores prayer in all its biblical variety.   
  • Prayer Mate - A great app to help you organise and keep up your prayer commitments.
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