I briefly shared how I pray as I was preaching a sermon about “prayer” last Sunday. So I would like to share a bit more in detail how I pray. To be honest, I have a long way to go in my prayer life and want it to be much better than now. But the reason why I’m sharing is to be more transparent about my life as a pastor.
I pray at church from 6:30-8:00 am on weekdays except on Tuesday. I could pray at home, but I found praying at church is better and less distracting. I tried praying for 2 hours a few years ago, but with growing kids, 1.5 hours felt more realistic.
I usually start my prayer with praise. I say something like” God, you are a good God.” I want to remind myself of God’s goodness, regardless of what is happening in my life. After giving praise, I give thanks specifically for what God has done in my life.
Then, I read 1 or 2 chapters of the Bible to do a quick devotion. I leave a quick note about verses that spoke to me in my journaling app, and I pray over them. It takes less than 10 minutes. Then I get into the prayer of petition when I ask God for help in the areas that are challenging to me. This time is where I become honest with my fears, anxieties and weaknesses. I mainly pray for particular ministerial challenges, upcoming church events, and meetings.
Then, I go over my church members’ prayer requests that were submitted through house church shepherds. This part is what takes up most of my prayer time. Through our church database app, I go through each member’s prayer requests one by one and pray for them. Looking at the prayer requests, I often realize there is very little I can do for them, but it also helps me to depend on God more.
If I have time left, I go over my prayer notes which include my family prayer requests, and some long-term prayer requests that I decided to consistently pray until they are answered.
Many times, I feel like I’m just filling in the time because I spend a lot of time fighting off my random thoughts. On days that I got little sleep the day before, I doze off a lot. But as I try my best to fill the “quantity” of prayer time I have promised to God, God seems to help me to experience flashes of “quality” prayer time when I feel genuinely gripped by God’s love and deeply connected to him.