We asked a friend named Betty, who is a strong advocate of prayer, to help us think of some ways disciples could pray in a more robust and rigorous way. One of her recommendations was to use the prayer cycle. The kind of prayer cycle she’s describing can be found in locations like these:
It’s simple, really. Divide an hour (or whatever time you have available) into smaller, bite-sized increments, each with a different topic. Then focus on just that increment’s topic for the appointed time. If the prayer cycle has 12 divisions and you have one hour available, invest five minutes on each increment’s topic. You can learn more on this by taking part in a Zume training course. The prayer cycle is covered (and is practiced for real) in Session 2. Here’s the outline the Zume Course recommends:
PRAISE: Start your prayer hour by praising the Lord. Praise Him for things that are on your mind right now. Praise Him for one special thing He has done in your life in the past week. Praise Him for His goodness to your family.
WAIT: Spend time waiting on the Lord. Be silent and let Him pull together reflections for you.
CONFESS: Ask the Holy Spirit to show you anything in your life that might be displeasing to Him. Ask Him to point out attitudes that are wrong, as well as specific acts for which you have not yet made a prayer of confession. Now confess that to the Lord so that you might be cleansed.
READ THE WORD: Spend time reading in the Psalms, in the prophets, and passages on prayer located in the New Testament.
ASK: Make requests on behalf of yourself.
INTERCESSION: Make requests on behalf of others.
PRAY THE WORD: Pray specific passages. Scriptural prayers as well as a number of psalms lend themselves well to this purpose.
THANK: Give thanks to the Lord for the things in your life, on behalf of your family, and on behalf of your church.
SING: Sing songs of praise or worship or another hymn or spiritual song.
MEDITATE: Ask the Lord to speak to you. Have a pen and paper ready to record impressions He gives you.
LISTEN: Spend time merging the things you have read, things you have prayed and things you have sung and see how the Lord brings them all together to speak to you.
PRAISE: Praise the Lord for the time you have had to spend with Him and the impressions He has given you. Praise Him for His glorious attributes.
Good luck implementing the prayer cycle in YOUR life! (And thanks for suggesting we talk about the prayer cycle, Betty!)