The health of any relationship depends on the couple spending regular quality time together. This is true for our relationships with other people, and it is also true for our relationship with God. One of the key ways we spend this quality relational time with our Heavenly Father is by prayer. If our relationship with him is to grow and flourish we must plan ahead and organise a regular time each day to pray.
The purpose of this article is to give you an outline of how to structure your daily prayer time.
If you’re someone who wants to begin, or get back to a regular habit of spending time with God in prayer, I hope this article will be a great help to you.
A – Adoration
When we pray we must begin with Adoration. It can be tempting to move straight away to asking God for the things we need. However we must resist this temptation and begin by spending time focusing on God himself and glorifying him for who he is.
We begin with Adoration or worship and not our own needs because we are not the center of the universe, God is. We exist for him not him for us.
Romans 11:36 says,
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (ESV)
All things have their source in God, in him they “live and move and have their being” (Acts 17:28) and exist for his purpose and his glory. As the planets revolve around the sun all things revolve around God, not us.
Furthermore we must begin by giving praise and glory to God because he is worthy of it all. Revelation 4:11 says,
Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.(ESV)
A good way to adore God in prayer is to think about something God has done; either in the Scriptures or in your own life. Then, reflect on what this action reveals about who God is, and praise him for it.
C – Confession
When we focus on who God is, who we are is revealed in sharp contrast. He is holy; because of our sin we are not. Therefore it has always been necessary for sinful man to confess his sin and have it atoned for, before he enters God’s holy presence.
In prayer we are approaching God. Jesus has already atoned for our sins, once for all, and opened up the way into the holy presence of God for us (Heb 10:19-21). Therefore after praising God for who he is we must acknowledge who we are – sinners needing his grace. We do this by confessing our sins and continuing to trust in the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus for our forgiveness and acceptance.
T – Thanksgiving
Following Confession we must proceed to Thanksgiving. Again, this is often something we skip over. We pray for things but always forget to thank God for answering those prayers.
It is not only answered prayer we must give thanks for. We should give thanks “always” and “for everything” (Eph 5:20) because we know that even the suffering in our lives works together for our good (Rom 8:28).
So as we think of things to give thanks for, lets think of our difficulties as well as the pleasures we enjoy. Let’s give thanks that these difficulties develop Christ-like qualities in us such as patience, humility, and trust in God (James 1:2-4.)
S – Supplication
Finally, the one we’ve all been waiting for: Supplication. ‘Supplication’ is not a word we use very often these days, but it means to ask someone for something we need. It is right that as we spend time with the Lord in prayer that we Adore him, Confess our sins, and Thank him for all he has done for us before we ask him for our needs. This helps us to take our rightful place as his creatures and subjects, and it guards against us falling into the trap of praying like God is our butler.
This being said, lets not be ashamed to seek God for our needs. For what to ask for specifically, see the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and Paul’s record of how he prayed for the churches in the first chapters of his letters to the Ephesians (1:15-23), the Philippians (1:9-11), the Colossians (1:9-12) and 2 Thessalonians (1:11-12).
It is my hope that this outline will give you the structure you need to help you begin or sustain a daily prayer time, whilst also allowing freedom within the outline for you to express to the Lord the devotion, failures, desires and needs of any particular day.