Christians pray. Some with more regularity than others, especially those who have learned the value in an ongoing, interactive relationship with God. Prayer builds a bridge between Christians and God, and ensures that hearts remain softened, forgiveness is attained and peace is at hand.
With busy lives, it is a challenge to find uninterrupted time to spend with God, but a book written by Dick Eastman in the 1970s called The Hour that Changed the World: a Practical Plan for Personal Prayer describes the importance of it. The book also offers a way to establish and maintain intimacy with God. The following are the suggested steps with paraphrased explanations.
You will have to schedule an hour-long appointment with God, then spend an average of five minutes on each of the steps below. Certain ones will take longer and others less. The idea is to allow God to complete each process. Later, you can customize the steps based on available time, what you need, or what has shown to work best for you. But no matter what, always start and end prayers with praise.
Praise (Divine Adoration)
Give God credit as the creator of the universe, for who He is and for everything that He has done for you. Consider how big God is and remember that He is omniscient and omnipresent and able to deliver miracles and blessings
Waiting (Soul Surrender)
Immerse yourself in the presence of God. Give your mind over to Him and expect that he will reveal any hardness of heart, incorrect thinking and sins that require repentance. Basically, you are surrendering your soul (mind, will and emotions), giving up control and standing under God's powerful microscope.
Confession (Declared Admission)
If God has revealed any inconsistencies in your Christian walk, or exposed hidden sin, then it is time to confess in a spirit of true repentance. This is an opportunity to empty yourself of anything that separates you from God and to get free of strongholds that are blocking your success.
Scripture (Faith Appropriation)
The Word of God is alive, so pray that He will direct you to a Scripture that will speak to your heart or to your situation. Make sure to have a Bible nearby, and either open it up to a Scripture God has given, or open up a page and read the verse or passage. This becomes your Word for the day.
Watching (Mental Awareness)
Meditate on the Scripture given (your Word for the day) and allow God to reveal its personal meaning to you. Think about how it relates to a situation, a feeling, thoughts you have had, or if it is a new concept God wants you to consider.
Intercession (Earnest Appeal on Behalf of Others)
Pray for others during this time. You may have a list of people in need, or as you pray, people will be on your heart. Pray on their behalf. When you pray for others, you are exhibiting compassion and mercy. You are also counteracting selfish tendencies.
Petition (Personal Supplication)
The majority of prayers begin with petition, which is asking God for something you want or need. In this hour of prayer, it is seventh, which allows you to establish a more intimate relationship with God. He has your heart and your mind first, preparing the way for your personal supplication. At this point, don't hold back. Ask God for anything.
This is an opportunity to be grateful for what you have, what God has done and what He is doing. If thankfulness doesn't come easy, then this provides a way for you to practice the art of appreciation. When you express gratitude with God, you will also be more willing to express it to people in your life.
Singing (Melodic Worship)
Not everyone can sing well, but everyone can worship God through music. Before spending an hour in prayer, choose a song that speaks to your heart. Turn on the music and worship with abandon. When you do this, you are drawing the presence of God to yourself. It is wonderful!
Meditation (Spiritual Evaluation)
Having done all the previous steps, you can easily absorb the presence of God and bask in it. Envision yourself at the cross of Jesus Christ or at the throne of God. Think about the sacrifice of Jesus and the preeminence of God.
Listening (Mental Absorption)
Wait for God to give you a word, a vision, a thought, instructions or affirmation. Don't leave your hour of prayer without a message. You may hear from God quickly, or it may require patience on your part, but God is faithful and wants you to know He's listening too.
Praise (Divine Magnification)
Finalize your prayer by giving God the glory He deserves. Praise him for things you normally take for granted, like the season, the flowers and the air you breath. Note that your hour starts and ends with praise. Don't hurry through this step. Enjoy your final moments with God, your Father in Heaven.