I’m a proud Tennessean. I love everything about our great state…from the beautiful mountains in East Tennessee to the cotton fields over in the west.
Recently our Governor announced a tremendous initiative called the Drive to 55. It’s a plan to get 55% of our state’s population equipped with a college degree or advanced certificate by the year 2025. The goal is ambitious and forward-thinking. Let’s educate more Tennesseans and – and more importantly- make an investment in the future of our state and our children. I’m happy to be working in a field that can assist the Governor’s efforts.
I’d like to take this in another direction for those of us who are believers. What if we developed a Drive to 55 plan for our prayer lives? What if we dedicated 55 minutes each week to focused, targeted prayer? Think about it…that’s approximately 8 minutes a day. It’s less than 1/6 of an hour.
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:7
There are many of you that are already participating in a regular, scheduled prayer routine. 8 minutes might be just a fraction of what you are currently dedicating to prayer. But many of us aren’t intentional about our prayer time, even though we have been instructed to utilize prayer.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
There are many ways to focus your prayer time, but I want to suggest two simple steps. First, create a record. Keep a 3×5 note card with you at all times. Put it in your wallet, coat pocket or your purse. On one side of the card write “Thanksgiving” across the top. All through the day be sure to record all the things that you are thankful for on this side of the card. Your family. Your job. Your health. Your relationship with Jesus. Anything that comes to mind, write it down.
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:12
Write “Requests” on the other side of the card. Use this side to collect the thoughts, ideas and requests you would like to take to the Lord in prayer. How many times a day does someone ask us to pray for them…or for a family member? Write it down. See someone struggling at work or at school? Write it down. It will ensure that you never forget an item that needs prayer.
And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Luke 11:9
The second step is to select a quiet time to reflect on your prayer list. It might be early in the morning- or in the evening. It doesn’t matter…just make it a consistent, regular and planned effort.
Get going. You’ve dedicated 8 minutes of time to pray- so silence your cell phone and turn off the television and radio. Focus. Clear your head and work your way through your prayer card. Thank God for those blessings that have come into your life. Pray for the blessings that you’ve witnessed in others. Be thankful for Jesus and His sacrifice for you.
Then flip the card over and offer your requests to God. Don’t just read this list…pray over it. Give yourself some time to meditate on each item. At the end of your prayer list- don’t immediately jump into your normal routine. Take a few extra moments to reflect on what you’ve just completed. Listen to see what God might be placing on your heart. You might be inspired to keep on praying.
Date your card, and then put it away for safekeeping. Keep them handy so you can review them from time to time.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
My challenge to you is this: Let’s all participate in the Drive to 55 prayer journey for four weeks. This will get us through Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) and into the Christmas season. 8 minutes of directed prayer every day…for at least 55 minutes a week. I think that you’ll see a difference in your prayer life…and in your relationship with God. Maybe this will start a prayer habit in your life…a new routine. The whole purpose is to be intentional about our prayer time. We need it.
Send me suggestions for creating a good prayer routine that you’ve found useful. I’ll compile them and share them at the end of our month of prayer.
I love you all. God bless…and let me know what I can put on my prayer card for you today.