Ten Simple Strategies for Prayer


By Chuck Lawless

I know very few people who don’t struggle with prayer. We know we should pray, but doing so consistently and fervently is not easy. Most of our praying is reactionary – that is, in response to a problem – rather than proactive, lifestyle praying.

Sometimes we try to fix this problem by seeking to become a prayer warrior overnight. That approach seldom works, and we get discouraged. A better approach is to build your prayer life one step at a time. Here are some simple strategies for increasing your prayer:

  1. Establish some prayer “triggers.” Associate prayer with some daily activities, and then develop prayer patterns. For example, you might pray before you turn the ignition on your car. Pray as you cook a meal, clean a room, or walk on the treadmill. Let the “trigger” do what it’s intended to do: direct you toward prayer.
  2. Use the church bulletin or calendar as a prayer guide. Find the list of scheduled events for the week, and pray for each day’s activities. If the young people are meeting on Tuesday night, pray for them. If the praise team practices on Monday, intercede for them on Monday. Let the bulletin or calendar information guide your daily praying.
  3. Develop a “Focus on the Family” prayer strategy. Each week, focus on a different family in the church. Find out what prayer needs they have, and pray for them. Your small group might use this strategy to make certain every family receives prayer throughout the year. If so, be sure to pray for inactive families as well – only through prayer might they return.
  4. Follow the ACTS paradigm. This strategy was the first one I learned decades ago, and it is still an effective one. Build a prayer list based on Adoration (praising God for who He is), Confession (admitting sin), Thanksgiving (expressing gratitude) and Supplication (praying for others). The intentionality of this strategy will help you stay focused during prayer.
  5. Use a “Focused ACTS” strategy for one week. Use ACTS on Monday, but then focus daily on only one component during the rest of the week. On Tuesday, adore God throughout the day. On Wednesday, ask God to bring to light all of your sin so you might confess it. Thursday is for thanksgiving, and Friday is for praying for others.
  6. Do “drive by” praying. Use your time in the car to pray. Watch for church buildings, and pray for the pastors of those congregations. Intercede for children and teachers as you drive past a school. If you pass a “For Sale” sign in your neighborhood, pray for that family. Pray for your coworkers as you park each morning.
  7. Set some “prayer power points.” A prayer power point is a set time each day when you stop to pray. I find it best to set the alarm on my watch, and that reminder calls me away from my desk to pray. Just a few minutes set aside for prayer help me to re-focus for the rest of the day.
  8. Pray the “Model Prayer” of Matthew 6:9-13 daily. I would not want this strategy to become routine and repetitious, but Jesus taught us to pray this prayer. Start each day with this prayer. Pause long enough to meditate on each phrase. Let the words become a genuine conversation with God.
  9. Pray as you read the news. Whether you read the newspaper or read online, use the news to direct your praying. Intercede for countries in war. Pray for families affected by crime or natural disasters. Ask God to guide government leaders. Pray for missionaries in each country in the news.
  10. Send an email prayer to someone each day. Take ten minutes, pray for someone else, and send a written prayer to that person. This strategy doesn’t take long, and just a few sentences of prayer will encourage somebody unexpectedly.

Remember, you won’t become a prayer warrior overnight . . . but start somewhere. Becoming a furnace of prayer begins with just a spark.

What other prayer strategies have you used?

Lifeway_Blog_Ad[1]Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. 

You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

Posted on April 16, 2013

Dr. Chuck Lawless is a leading expert in spiritual consultation, discipleship and mentoring. As a former pastor, he understands the challenges ministry presents and works with Church Answers to provide advice and counsel for church leaders.
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  • Hey Dr. Lawless,
    I’m going to link this article as suggested reading for my youth parents.
    As for other strategies, I’m wearing three of those ridiculous silicon bracelets: one from last year’s VBS as a reminder to pray for this year, one from StudentLife as a reminder to pray for camp this year, and one for the “Praying across Alabama” initiative of the Alabama State Board of Missions. I love any good tangible reminder to pray.

    • Paul, what a great idea! My wid
      Fe says that I am becoming more forgetful by the day! I think I will start wearing a button I have that says “pray always” to remind me daily of Chuck’s 10 strategies! It will also serve as a conversation piece to remind others also when they ask me why I’m wearing it! Praise God! 🙂

    • clawless says on

      Like others, I too am forgetful. Nothing wrong with a strategy that reminds me to turn to God!

  • A few helpful websites:
    http://www.LOVE2020.com * Prayer-Care-Share Lifestyle
    http://www.PrayNetwork.org * Intercession, Prayer Evangelism, Groups, Blogs, Nationwide Calendar … 4200 members
    http://philsblog.net/category/ibsa-prayer/ * Illinois Baptist Prayer Ministries
    http://www.64fellowship.com/ * Acts 6:4, balancing the ministries of prayer and the Word
    http://prayerleader.com/ * Church Prayer Leaders Network

  • I forgot to add my thoughts to the list:

    Pray for forgiveness for any wrong thoughts and for any wrong motivations before beginning any prayer or supplication in order to have nothing sinful between yourself and God.

  • Hi Chuck,
    I humbly admit that I have been blind to an excellent prayer strategy and I thank God for reminding me through your blog! I used to follow #6 above. Being a pastor on the Mescalero Apache reservation in SE New Mexico involves many hours of driving weekly. I have neglected this wonderful opportunity for a long time. I really have no excuse as I used to do this. “I repent, Lord for wasting precious time in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

    Thank you again, Chuck, for this “call to duty” because this is such an excellent prayer tool that we can all use for the benefit of the kingdom.

    Blessing gas,


  • Christiane says on

    Praying ‘in silence’ after reading a thought-unit in a Psalm.
    If you have ever done this, then you may know what can come from it.

    • Christiane says on

      This psalm verse is sometimes read before sitting in the quiet stillness of a morning prayer:

      ” Cause me to hear Thy loving-kindness in the morning;
      for in Thee do I trust:
      cause me to know the Way wherein I should walk;
      for I lift up my soul unto Thee.
      (Psalms 143:8)

  • Linda Hope says on

    Because there are so many requests for prayer on a daily basis, I no longer save them for my quiet time because I would become so overwhelmed and afraid I was forgetting someone. As the request is made I take a moment right then to say a prayer for that person. Thank you for praying me and my family.

    • clawless says on

      Good word, Linda. Too many people say they will pray and then get busy doing something else. I have a friend who carries an index card in his shirt pocket, writes down the request anytime he commits to pray, and then prays over the list later in the day. Praying for you and your family now.

  • Dr. Lawless,

    I love this list, and I must say I learned a lot by reading it. I do have a minor quibble with #8. I can’t help but think this prayer was given to us by Christ as a pattern of prayer, i.e. thank God, ask His will to be done, ask forgiveness, etc., rather than something that should be repeated everyday.

    Thanks for the work.

    • Chuck Lawless says on

      Tom, I agree that the model prayer is intended as a pattern. I don’t think, though, that meditating on it daily is a wrong use of the teaching. Of course, I would not want that approach to be the entirety of one’s praying.

  • Don Matthews says on

    Pray for a lost person each day by name.

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