The Christian blogging community is full of prayer challenges.
They can be a great jumpstart toward establishing a habit of prayer. Or a helpful tool to guide you in praying for a specific topic.
When you decide to participate in one, you certainly don’t plan to look back and realized you never finished! Unless you make a plan to follow through, though, that might be exactly what happens.
When you see a prayer challenge you want to participate in – around the web or from church -, you can prepare yourself to finish well by following a few simple tips.
If you haven’t already found one, the first task is to:
Pick a prayer challenge . . .
31 Days of Prayer for the New Year | Faith Along the Way
30 Day Prayer Dare for Parents | Kaylene Yoder
Praying the Promises of the Cross | Arabah Joy
31 Days of Praying for Your Homeschool | Pat and Candy
Be Inspired by Mark (Amazon link) | Catherine Gabrielson
40 Prayers to Pray Over Your Husband | Kaylene Yoder
Personal Heart Care Prayers: Fruit of the Spirit | Joy In My Kitchen
Now that you’ve chosen a challenge, here are the tips that will help you complete it successfully.
6 Tips for a Completing a Successful Prayer Challenge
Before you start . . .
Print your materials ahead of time – don’t “start behind” on the first day, scrambling to find your resources! With a few prayer challenges this isn’t necessary because they send you a daily or weekly email. Most though, offer a printable list or calendar that you’ll want to keep handy. Print this before the first day of the challenge!
Gather your resources in one place – collect your printed papers, Bible, notebook and pen. Stack them together in a convenient place. Preferably one where the kids won’t move them. Or borrow your pen.
Decide when you will pray – “fitting it in when you remember” won’t work – pick a specific time. Could be during your usual prayer time. Or connected to a daily event like walking the dog or locking up the house for the night. If you happen to pick a time that’s not connected to something you’re already doing, set a reminder on your phone or a sticky note that you’ll be sure to see.
Make a “fall-behind” plan – you know it’s going to happen. You’re going to miss a day, ’cause life just works that way. And the temptation will be to quit and start over when it’ll be easier. Don’t do it! Don’t quit. Decide now whether you’ll:
- pick up where you left off – and not worry about finishing on a certain date
- skip the day you missed – and pick up with the current date
For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again.
During the challenge . . .
Interact with the Scripture verses – many prayer challenges are rooted in Scripture verses. The goal isn’t just to read the verses but to use them as the basis for communion with God. This will look different for different people. Consider the following options:
- handwrite the verse(s) in a notebook or journal
- ask God for wisdom to understand and discernment to apply His words
- mark up the verse you wrote out (colored pencils work well, but you can also just use a pen to circle, underline, etc.) to recognize ideas and connections. Confused? This explanation of verse mapping is one example.
- personalize a prayer based on the truths of the Scripture; journal these if you find it helpful
- continue to pray as God brings the verse to your mind through out the day
- if your prayer challenge doesn’t already have Scripture attached, ask God to bring relevant verses to mind
Keep your attitude in check – prayer isn’t about getting something from God. Sure, we pray because we want to see something happen. But our plans are not always God’s plans. (Psalm 37:23, Proverbs 19:21, Isaiah 55:8-9) Prayer is communion with God. It’s about maintaining relationship. Learning to trust, to rest in God’s truth and promises. Be willing to surrender your desires for His better plan. Be prepared for God to reveal sin and ready to repent. Remember to praise God for the work He is doing in you. And be grateful when you see evidence of His work in those you love.
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
After the challenge . . .
Pick another one – maintain the habit of taking your concerns, questions, and joys to God. Even if you’re not ready to participate in another organized challenge, keep praying.
Have you completed a prayer challenge? What tips would you offer?
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