Over the last few weeks, many churches (including ours), distributed plans for yearly Bible reading and encouraged the church to embrace the discipline of reading God’s Word with purpose and regularity.
But the capability for an individual to read God’s Word is a fairly recent modern reality. Literacy of the average person and available copiesof the Bible to the average person is less than 200 years of modern history.
Have you ever considered there are far more biblical directives for God’s people to pray to God than to read our Bibles (for example, see Luke 10:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; James 1:5)?
It is not my intent to pit Bible reading against prayer. To do so would be reason to remove me from my pastoral position. We are blessed beyond capacity to express the privilege that is ours to be Bible readers. The Bible we read tells us to pray without ceasing and to pray about everything so that we are anxious about nothing.
While we have 2019 Bible reading plans, do we have a 2019 prayer plan? Here is a suggestion for a prayer plan for your week. I hope you find it helpful as you follow Jesus’s example and instruction to always pray.
Monday – Pray back over the Lord’s Day events. Read the text from the call to worship or the text from the sermon and pray back over it for yourself, your family, and for the church. Pray for the church’s response to the gathering of God’s people. Who was hurting that you talked to? Who was troubled? Who was lonely? Who ministered to you, to your family? What did you observe that brought you great joy? What did you observe that needs God’s intervention? Who was missing? Pray for any and all of these.
Tuesday – From the time you get out of bed until you head to bed later today, pray for two minutes at the top of the hour or the bottom of the hour. What is coming in the next hour for you, your family, or those near you? What has happened in the last half hour to you, to your family, or to those near you? What did you hear on the news? What have you observed in creation? Do what the Bible says, “present your requests to God.”
Wednesday – Hump Day! Pray for the faithfulness of God’s people in the midst of life. The gathering of God’s people is days away, but the lives of people continue. The strength of our community is being challenged by “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).” Pray for the church, your church. Like Jesus prayed for Peter (Luke 22:31-40), pray that those in your church would not fall into temptation. Like Paul prayed for the church in Rome (Romans 15:13), pray that God, “the source of hope, will fill (them) completely with joy and peace because (they) trust in him.”
Thursday – You’ve prayed for three days straight, so take today off. You need the break from talking to God, and frankly, he needs the break from you. Wrong! Today’s prayer is about Thankful Thursday. Paul writes, “in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6).” Count your blessings before God. Name them one by one. Fill your mind and God’s ears with your expressions of gratitude for his amazing grace to you.
Friday – For most people the work grind is coming to an end and the school week is winding down. Your family will be together more than at other times. Today, lift your family before the Lord in each area of need and in each reason for thanksgiving.
Saturday – Praying through a psalm on Saturday can be a wonderful time spent with the Lord. If you have never prayed through a psalm, simply turn to the text and personalize it. Here are a few suggestions for getting started: Psalm 5, 23, 32, and 40. And since the Lord’s Day is the next day, remember to pray for the gathering of your church tomorrow and the ministry of the Word of God to all the people.
Sunday – If you arrive at the church building with family members, pray before you leave the vehicle. If you come alone, pray with another single person you meet upon arrival. During worship, join in the corporate prayers that occur throughout the service. Don’t fall asleep. Don’t sit mindlessly. Don’t open your phone. Don’t read the bulletin. Don’t write a check for the offering. Don’t count the light fixtures in the ceiling. Do pray! Of course, that means you are actually in the worship service, but I digress. Someone is leading corporate prayer at various points in your worship. This is not a time to listen to someone else talk to God; this is the occasion for the whole church to talk to God together as someone leads up before him.
I pray you find the suggestion helpful.
As always I welcome your feedback and any suggestions you might have for an upcoming Lunchtime Musing.