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Planning for prayer?

This is an intimate question, so feel free to skim or skip.

How do you spend your time in prayer? Do you organize it, particularly in praying for others?

I'm realizing that I need to spend more time in prayer regularly, as well as learning to be a strategic intercessor. That's the part I'm especially thinking about how to plan: when to pray for whom, etc. At my best I've been scattershot on this, and sadly, I've rarely been at my best.

Thoughts and discussion welcome.


I usually attempt to pray through out the day and through-out all of my activities. There are times in the evening that I do attempt to have organized prayer as well. When I was abroad, I learned and then shared often the fact that while walking somewhere you can pray. You do not have to always bow your head and close your eyes in prayer.
Pray as you walk = prayer walking.
As a pedestrian, this is a good thing to keep in mind. I'm also hopeful and convicted on having more devoted time with God, not to win His approval, but to build my relationship with Him. If I tried to keep any other relationship afloat just by grabbing slivers of time when it's convenient for me (which is what I've been doing with Him), the relationship would eventually die. I don't want to keep treating Him with even less regard than I do the people in my life.
I assume you have read "The Pilgrim's Way" If not read it. I found that when I read that I was praying while reading and more throughout the day. Lately, I pray by writing. I write letters from God to myself and to God. It has been an interesting dialogue.
PS found you thru kerbearlax I am a wayward QUEST(ion)
I've never read that—thanks for the recommendation!
plan to surrender your*self*.

p.s.-your openess is refreshing.
As is yours. That surrender is what gets in my way most (all?) of the time.
I err too much on the side of random prayer. Many times at work, I'll be with a woman and won't know what to say to her, so I'll silently start praying for God's guidance, and I'm good at having that ongoing conversation with Him throughout the day, but I'm not too good at sitting down and having a time of intentional prayer. When I first became a Christian I decided to copy a certain theologian and refuse physical food until I had my spiritual food (scripture) and then a time of reflection in prayer. That lasted about 2 days.
Perhaps that's one of the aspects of being a 'body'. Some of us are good at praying without ceasing, some of us are great at intentional prayer. Best not to beat yourself up about not having the other and continue to strive for the goal without cursing the gift you've already been given.
Yeah, for me it's not so much a "what gift do I have" question as it is a desire to be intentional in loving and building my relationships with God and others. I'm convicted that, the way I (don't) pray now, I either don't believe He's really there or I don't love others enough to be intentional about praying for them to the Father of lights who delights in His children and gives good gifts to them.

Of course, I tend to look at "how does this work?" rather than just diving in.
I'm strategic w/ order . . . same order everyday.
Do you keep a list? I overwhelmed myself with my first attempt at one, even though I had it divided up over the week.
I haven't read it, but it's on my shelf. Maybe time to dust it off.

Bad Wazza

I don't pray enough.

I think I know why, but the momentum is pretty difficult to overcome. I was told to read my bible and pray every day while I was growing up.

I did. It eventually became so mechanical that I couldn't do it anymore. Thus it has been since then. I try, but I feel like I'm slipping back into the mechnical prose of my prior prayerlife, and I shut down.

I'm not sure how to get out of this ... situation.

When I do try and pray, it's often while I'm in the shower, or doing something that doesn't require my concentration, so I can concentrate on praying.

The only thing that I can say in my defense is that if I get a sense to pray for someone who crosses my mind, I will pray for them right then.

Re: Bad Wazza

I hear you; my prayer life hasn't been much different. I'm just feeling convicted, and I wonder if it isn't easier for me to talk about than to simply do.
I pretty consistently pray the Daily Office, but I'm going to add this thought: I do it even when it's "mechanical," for example, when I'm very tired or busy or emotionally distracted. Even if I don't "get as much out of it" on those occasions, it still has formative and nutritive power.

I can't help you on being a "strategic intercessor" because I don't even know what that means. It sounds a little too much like "Christian magic," much as "spiritual warfare" tends to be. I have long since decided I'm not strong or smart enough to do that, so I merely pray for the things and people God puts in front of my face, and let Him work out the details.
Oh, sorry to have left this so open for mis/non-understanding; I didn't intend to imply anything so grandiose ("Christian Magic"?)! Perhaps if I had used the word "intentional" rather than "strategic" I wouldn't have thrown you quite so far from the track. I simply mean that I want to grow in actively loving others and the world by interceding in prayer for them. I can, of course, love in this was just as things pass in front of my face, but more and more I'm feeling like that would be rotten stewardship of my faculties and the privilege of prayer. I guess I'm wanting to be less haphazard in these relationships, to give them the place I say they have in my life. I hope that makes more sense to you
i pray randomly and erratically when it strikes me to do so...i also try to pray always at certain times...before meals, before bed, before trips or tasks ahead...but i definetely don't keep a regimented prayer time.
doesn't god want us to pray as a want and need to love and worship and come to him and not as duty or task? i try to remember that...
doesn't god want us to pray as a want and need to love and worship and come to him...?

That's exactly what has me convicted: based on my prayer, I don't, and I don't love others either. God has to do the changing, and conviction is the first step. No other relationship would survive based on what I'm (not) putting in in terms of love, time, and intentionality. I'm thankful for His grace, and I long to be active and intentional in my love for Him and others.
If I actually sit down to pray purposefully, I write it all out, otherwise I tend to daydream or mentally bitch more than actually talking to God. I start with praise, then I pray for other people (whoever has been on my mind, and my family), then I pray for myself. Somewhere in there I have some sort of confession as well. I try to take time when I know I won't be interrupted (rare enough, with a two year old) and also because then I can take as long as the prayer requires, without rushing my time with God.

This scenerio doesn't happen nearly as often as it should. I kept it up on a daily basis for two weeks, and then let myself get distracted. I need to get back in the habit of spending that time every day.
My prayer style has changed a lot. I used to spend a lot of time in penitentionary prayer or intercession. Two things made me stop. One, it occurred to me that I was being very manipulative without realising it and almost testing God with my so-called 'requests'. The second reason was that I recalled Jesus saying, "I will not say that I will pray to the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you".

Since then, I really just try and spend quiet time with God and clear my mind as much as possible so that if He does wish to 'talk', I can 'hear' Him. Mostly though, we just have a nice time sitting together and being companionable. Sometimes it's a bit like meditation too but not always. I get the impression lately that God just really wants us to take time out of our day to 'be with' Him. After all, it's not like He doesn't already know every thought that goes through our head before we think it.
The second reason was that I recalled Jesus saying, "I will not say that I will pray to the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you".

I'm curious how/if you reconcile this (from John 16:26-27) with the fact that Jesus does pray for the disciples and us immediately afterward (in John 17). There seems to be a tension there, and I can see some evidence in multiple directions, but am interested in your thoughts.