Devoted to prayer?

Paraklesis [‘encouragement’, ‘exhortation’, for life and ministry]

November 2023

Peter Adam

Dear friends,

Are you devoted to prayer?

  • The first Christians ‘devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer’ [Acts 2:42].
  • Paul instructed all the believers in the church at Colossae, ‘devote yourselves to prayer with thanksgiving’ [Col 4:2].
  • In Acts 6, the apostles announced ‘we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word’ [notice that prayer comes first! Acts 6:3].

Do our habits, our evangelical culture, our churches, and our model of ministry show that we are ‘devoted to prayer’. Are we ‘devoted to prayer’ in our personal, married, and family life? Are we ‘devoted to prayer’ as part of our ministry?

Prayer is often sidelined in our services, Bible studies, and church life. It is hard to see that we are clearly followers of Jesus who was devoted to prayer:

‘Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed’ … ‘Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God’ [Lk 5:16, 6:12].

Here are some practical steps to help you to become a more prayerful person. Just pick out two or three to put into practice at any one time!

  • Whenever you do pray, ask your heavenly Father to make you more prayerful: when you ask other people to pray for you, ask them to pray that you will grow in prayerfulness.
  • See prayer as part of your ministry responsibility to people. Include it in your job description; put time to pray into your ministry calendar; start and finish each day of ministry with prayer. Don’t do any ministry without praying about it, and for the people to whom you will minister.
  • Whenever you have a serious conversation with someone, pray with that person, in private, and, if appropriate, in public. Make this your default [though you may decide it is not appropriate on some occasions].
  • If someone ask for you to pray something for them, do so immediately with them!
  • Organise your daily intercessions, so that each week you pray for all the people and ministries you should cover in prayer.
  • Whenever you read the Bible, pray in response to that reading, using words from the reading. If you don’t know what to pray, you won’t know what to do! If you do know what to do, you need to pray for God’s help in doing it!
  • When organising a meeting of leaders or staff or people in charge of a ministry, include time to pray for the ministry, not just for the meeting!
  • Organise things so that you/you and the staff team/you and the leadership/ pray systematically through the membership of the church or ministry, and of enquirers or people you are trying to serve.
  • Organise rich and wide intercessions in your Sunday services or public meetings: make sure the leader prays for the world, its leaders and its conflicts: and for the progress of the gospel around the world, through your church, and in your community [as well, of course for members of the church who are sick or in need]. [See 1 Timothy 2:1-6].
  • Plan your ministry prayers so that you include your ministry preparation; the people who will receive your ministry; the ministry you did last week; and the ministry you are planning to do next week.
  • Each night make time to reflect on the day that is past. Think of 3 sins of life or ministry of which you need to repent and receive God’s forgiveness; 3 things for which you can thank God; and 3 prayers to pray for your life and ministry next day.
  • Find one of Paul’s prayers [e.g. Ephes 1:15-23, 3:14-21, Col 1:9-14, 1 Thess 1:2-3; 3:12-13; 5:23-24], and pray it for your church or ministry, or adapt it to pray for yourself.
  • Write a pray for your church or ministry to pray together in 2024. Make sure it is prayed in every service, and encourage people to use it in their daily prayers.
  • Pray Jesus’ prayer for his disciples: ‘sanctify them by the truth: your word is truth’; ‘protect them from the evil one’. [John 17:15,17].

This is my last Paraklesis for this year, as I will be on holidays in December.

With warmest good wishes to you, and I pray that God would make us all prayerful in life and in ministry.


P.S. I have just added this to my website