4 steps to strategically pray and see breakthrough
Prayer is powerful and effective. If you do it.
God is speaking to me about being strategic in prayer. We know that our work and ministry time goes best when we take time to review what has been going well and what has not, and when we take time to plan specifically about the next season. We set goals and make step by step plans to achieve those goals. At least, if we do then we are more likely to get there!
What if we did the same with one aspect of our prayer life? What if we spent some time looking at our key concerns and ongoing struggles in our lives, and in those around us, and made a strategic plan to commit to praying regularly for those things?
In this article I wanted to share with you a plan that can be used for your own life and family and even your church ministries. I would like to suggest that if we truly want to see kingdom breakthrough in our lives and the lives of others we need to be strategic about our prayers - the kingdom of God is advanced by prayer and action (God’s and ours)- like two legs on a person - you can get someway by hopping but it isn’t very effective!
Step 1: Gather information
Spend some time gathering information - spend time time in listening prayer, looking at your life and those of your key relationships: Where are the struggles, what are the dreams? What things do you want to see change in? Where is breakthrough needed? Where is God inviting you to believe and trust Him?
Step 2: Be specific in your prayer requests
Where do you want to see change in the next year? Which areas is the Holy Spirit highlighting as priorities for prayer over the next 6 months and over the next month? Is there anyone God wants you to specifically pray for breakthrough from physical or mental illness? Is there someone God has put on your heart to pray that they would come to know Him? Where are the habits in your own life and in the lives of your family that God wants you to pray into? What are the dreams in your heart God wants to fan into flame through prayer?
Write down everything but then perhaps choose 3 things to focus on and a specific time frame.
Choosing 3 things (one for you, one for a family member or a brother or sister in Christ, and one for someone who doesn’t have a relationship with God yet for example) can be less overwhelming and practical! Choosing to pray daily for 1 week, or weekly for a month may be more realistic than choosing to pray for a year!
Step 3: Determine your prayer strategy
- Programming in a specific time or linking the prayer to an activity you already do (like washing up or regularly driving somewhere) can work best.
- Are you going to pray on your own or as a family or with someone else or a mixture?
Here are some suggestions for ways to make time:
- Time each morning in quiet time
- Alert on phone
- Reminder next to sink when washing up
- Dry-erase marker reminder on a mirror or kitchen tiling
- Weekly meet-up with a friend to pray specifically about these things
- Organized prayer meeting over phone / video-call at specific time or times each week (doesn’t need to be a long call!)
- Set aside a time each week to pray either at home or outside - maybe visit a local church outside of a meeting time or a local prayer room to use the quiet space to pray specifically.
- Organise a weekly family prayer meeting. One person I know took time each week with their family (whether present with them or not) to fast a specific meal a week (they were all adults) and connect together to pray for breakthrough in another family member’s life.
- Fast one meal a week and spend that time specifically praying about those things.
Step 4: Pray! Remember it is about relationship with God primarily and not task!
- Spend some time connecting with God first in praise or thanksgiving or spending a moment in silence to connect with Him again and receive His love and then:
- Get creative!
- Maybe find or write out a specific prayer to reuse to help you pray (there are some resources below)
- Use visual praying to pray about the issues
- Paint or draw your prayers - it doesn’t have to be complicated - it might be taking a word like ‘HOPE’ and painting it in a pretty color.
- Use centering prayer - ask the Holy Spirit to give you a Bible passage or word which you centre on for 5 minutes as you call the specific things to mind.
- Go on a walk and pray as you are walking
- Meet weekly with a friend to pray together and make sure prayer becomes the focus of the meeting not a chat! (Sometimes it helps to pray at the beginning of the meeting, then chat, then pray again if necessary!)
- Take some time to also listen to God in those times - record any impressions, bible verses, things that are called to mind and weigh then against the Bible and with a mature christian friend or pastor if they are directional.
- Connect up with a friend and prayer text to one another.
Some resources to help you pray strategically. I have found these personally helpful in praying strategically. They all come with guided prayers to get you started!
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This post is part of a month-long series on different aspects of prayer, from journalling, visual prayer, what intercession is not, what is listening prayer and other articles. Check them all out here.
November's posts on prayer are part of a year long embracing of grace through different spiritual disciplines. You can read more about the year here.