Exploring Prayer With
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Chapter 19 — A Schedule for Daily Prayer Time
The Christian should set aside a portion of his day for the regularly scheduled time of prayer. Following is an outline for such a prayer time:
1. Remind yourself to do the other things that require conversation with God. This includes such things as praise, adoration, confession, meditation, humbling, thanksgiving, etc. Quickly make a list of things for which you ought to praise God. Then spend a few minutes in praise. Then spend a few minutes in adoring Him. Schedule your adoration time. Allow yourself so many minutes a day just for adoring God. Bear in mind that you are not praying yet, because prayer is asking. Praise is not prayer. Adoration is not prayer. Confession is not prayer. Meditation is not prayer. Humbling is not prayer. Thanksgiving is not prayer. ASKING is prayer, but we are commanded in the Bible to do those other things too, so the Christian should usually allow praise to precede his prayer time and this could be followed by a few moments of adoration.
Confession could then follow adoration. Daniel 9:4, "And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments." Make a list of the sins that you ought to confess. Then one by one ask God to forgive you and to cleanse you. I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Perhaps throughout the day between times of prayer, a sin will cross your mind. You could make a note that when prayer time comes you are going to confess that sin before your pray. It is so important to make outlines, to make lists. It is important not to trust the memory! That's why it is wise to write down the things for which you ought to praise God. If during the day between prayer times you think of something that is worthy of praise and you are too busy to give it its proper allotment of time in your schedule, write it down and then when praise time comes, take out your notes and remind yourself of that for which you ought to praise the Lord. The same thing is true concerning confession.
Then before praying, spend some time in meditation and then in humbling. II Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
Then spend some time in thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." I Timothy 2:1, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men." Once again, a list could be made of the things for which you are thankful. As you go through the day's schedule, keep a little card handy. When you see something for which you are thankful, write it down. When you realize there is a sin in your life, write it down. When you see something for which you ought to praise the Lord, write it down. Then when you have time in your schedule you can look at the lists you have made and without trusting your memory, you can praise God for the things that have crossed your mind during the day; you can confess the sins of which you have thought during the day; and you can thank the Lord for the things for which you have been thankful through the day.
2. Write down a prayer promise for the day. You might select a particular prayer promise for the week or for the month or for a certain thing for which you are praying or a project that you are pursuing. Following are some good prayer promises: I John 3:22, "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." John 16:24, "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." Matthew 7:11, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." John 14:14, "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." Matthew 7:8, "For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." Mathew 21:22, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
3. Remind the Lord of His reputation. II Kings 19:14,15, "And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth." Elijah reminded the Lord of Who He is when he said, "Let it be known that Thou only art God." Joshua did this when he asked, "What wilt Thou do unto Thy great name?" (Joshua 7:9) Hezekiah did so when he prayed, "Save Thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the Lord God, even Thou only." (II Kings 19:19)
4. Remind God that you have met His conditions. II Kings 20:1-3, "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore."
5. Present your argument to God. Job 23:3,4, "Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments." The word "argue" here is a legal term. It means, "prepare your case." It is as an attorney would prepare his case in court.
6. Remind God of His Word. II Samuel 7:21,25-28, "For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it for ever, and do as thou hast said. And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee. For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee. And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant." Take your promise to Him. Remind God that He said it. Jacob said at Jabbok, "And Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good." (Genesis 32:12) David came to God and said, "Do as Thou hast said." Solomon said at the dedication of the temple, "Remember the words spoken to David and bless this place." Joshua reminded God of His promise when he said, "Not one good thing had failed of all that God hath promised. All have come to pass."
One time Becky asked me for a new dress. I told her I would give it to her if she did a certain thing. She said, "Dad, write that down." I did write it down, and signed it. She came back later and said, "Dad, I'm ready for my new dress."
I said, "What new dress?"
She said, "Dad, you promised me a new dress if I would do a certain thing, and I have done it."
I said, "I don't remember that."
Becky pulled out a piece of paper and held it in front of me and said, "Did you write that?"
I said, "I sure did."
She said, "What is it?"
I said, "It's a promise I would buy you a new dress if you fulfilled certain conditions."
She said, "Well, Dad, what are you going to do about it?"
I said, "I'm going to keep my promise," and I bought her a new dress!
God is pleased when we remind Him of His promises and of His Word.
Abraham reminded God of His attributes when He said, "That be far from Thee to do after this manner to slay the righteous with the wicked." David reminded God of His record when he said, "Thou hast been my help." Moses did likewise when he said, "Thou didst bring this people out of Egypt." Moses was asking God to continue to lead His people, He first reminded God that it was He Who was responsible for their starting the journey and it was His responsibility to complete the job He had started.
7. Pray over your regular list. For example, I have a regular list that includes power, wisdom, love, members of the family, close friends, preachers, churches, etc.
8. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make a list. Romans 8:26,27, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." The words, "maketh intercession," in these two verses are not quite the same. In one, the Holy Spirit maketh intercession "to us"; in the other, the Holy Spirit maketh intercession "with us." This means that we ask the Holy Spirit to make intercession to us for what we ought to pray. Ask Him to tell you what you ought to pray for when you go to the throne of grace. Then as He reminds you of things you should place on your prayer list, write them down. After He has made intercession to you, then He wants to make intercession with you. He then will go to the throne of grace with you and if there are things for which you ought to ask the Father that you forget to ask, the Holy Spirit will remind the Father for you. The Holy Spirit is your prayer partner. In other words, He tells you what to pray for; then you write it down as He inspires you to make your prayer list. Then as you go to the Father, ask the Holy Spirit to go with you and be your prayer partner as you present your petitions to the Father. You are saying that you don't know what you ought to pray for; the Holy Spirit does know. You ask Him; He tells you. You make a list. Then you go together to the Father to present your petitions.
9. Put Scriptures beside your list. If you are asking for healing, you could write James 5:13, "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms." Psalm 103:3b, "Who healeth all thy diseases." If you are asking for power, you could write Luke 11:13, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" If you are asking for forgiveness, you could write I John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Psalm 103:3a, "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities." If you are asking for food, you could write Psalm 103:5, "Who satisfieth they mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's" If you are asking for clothing, you could write Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Philippians 4:19, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." If you are asking for your personal desires, you could write Psalm 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thing heart." Before you go to the Father with the Holy Spirit to present the list that the Holy Spirit has reminded you to make, remember to write down some prayer promises and present them to the Father as a basis for your claim.
10. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of your sins. Make a list of them and ask God to forgive you.
11. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of your enemies. Be sure to pray for them. Matthew 5:44, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
12. Prepare for the answer. II Kings 18:23, "Now therefore, I pray thee, give pledges to my lord the king of Assyria, and I will deliver thee two thousand horses, if thou be able on thy part to set riders upon them."
Several years ago there was a couple in our church who wanted to have a baby. The doctor said it was impossible, but they believe that God would answer their prayers. They came to me and asked me to anoint them with oil. Then they remodeled a room and made a nursery out of it. (Bear in mind, the lady was not pregnant nor did the doctor give them any hope that she ever could be, but they were preparing for the answer to their prayers.) Some friends even got together and gave them a shower. No baby was on the way, but they had a baby shower. They were preparing for the answer. Miraculously God opened the way where they could adopt a baby. They prepared for the answer, and God gave it to them. Then God gave them seven of their own! This is what the Lord may have meant in Jeremiah 33:3 when He said, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
The Christian life should be a disciplined one. The Lord chose to call us His disciples or His "disciplined ones." The aforementioned schedule of prayer is not the only one, but if one would take about 30 minutes a day, he would have ample time to do all the things that are suggested, and he would be amazed as to how God would hear and answer his prayers. The things that we do spontaneously are not done regularly. The things that we do regularly by schedule do get done. Prayer should be on purpose and should be planned as a part of our daily schedule. May God help us to discipline ourselves to pray!
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