“Couldn’t you pray with me for one hour?” Jesus asked his disciples (Matthew 26:40.)
Some bible translations use the word “keep watch” or “stay awake” but regardless of the terms, there is no mistaking the incredulity that Jesus felt when He found his closest friends sleeping while He prayed and supplicated at what would be the beginning of the end of His torturous death. He agonizes. Peter, James and John tour Dreamland. He begs the Father. They shift into a more comfortable position. Apathetic to the sorrow of their man-god companion.
I grew up in a Christian home where prayer was not an option. Nor was it a mandate. Prayer, my friend, was a way of life. There was prayer in the morning, prayer at meals, prayer in the night, and if it was not morning, noon or night, there would still be prayer. My father was a deacon at church and my mother was the Women Ministries president, and we children were carried to all the services including all-night prayer meetings. Taking us was the safest way for parents to watch the brood while they watched with God. We’d spread blankets on the hard, wooden pews and sleep if there were not a lot of people at church that night. In the daytime we were less fortunate. My mother’s fingers pinched us into Wakeland, and that was as good as smelling salts to get us snapping to attention. So I grew up praying for long hours.
It was not until I was a student at the University of the West Indies, and encountered Campus Crusade for Christ that I really discovered a structure for effective praying. I joined the prayer discipleship group and every Tuesday would make my way to the Faculty of Engineering, Room 106, to learn about prayer. Thus my prayer life was transformed by the book called The Hour That Changes the World: A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer .
In this little book, Dick Eastman teaches how we can easily pray for an hour a day. He proposes 12 areas to focus our prayer, each for 5 minutes. How neat is that! The hour begin with Praise and ends with Praise, and in between is filled with segments on Waiting, Confession, Scripture Praying (my favourite), Watching, Intercession, Petition, Thanksgiving, Singing, Meditation, and Listening.
Friend, I’ll tell you that if you spend only 5 minutes on each part of the prayer circle, you’ll easily pray for 1 hour. However, I have found that some people need smaller doses because they may be new to praying and 60 minutes, or even five minutes, to start could seem daunting. Others may already have an overflowing schedule and cannot accommodate much more into it. Or they may not have built a routine for prayer. Or they may be children.Whatever the reason, a big goal is always reached by taking smaller steps. So as December drew to a close, and the Lord dropped the 1-Minute plan in my brain, I was totally excited. This is the Plan:
Pray for 1 minute each day of the first week in the New Year. Then increase each week by one minute and pray for 2 minutes for each day of the second week. And so on.
This small step will help to build a more consistent prayer habit in anyone who wants to see change through prayer.
But there was a problem. Fifty-two weeks will not give 60 minutes of prayer if using the weekly one-minute increment. Then the Lord downloaded again.
As I follow comments and posts on Facebook, and talk with people on-on-one, a common theme is that many are dissatisfied with the commercialization of Christmas and they want to return to the real meaning of our Saviour’s birth. To get back to the sacredness of the season. To focus on the Lord Jesus. This thought prompted me to add the final 8 minutes to the last week. That week is arguably the busiest for Christians, so it may not be as easy to dedicate those Christmas days to increased prayer. But therein lies a challenge.
A sacrificial gift of prayer would restore Christ to Christmas if we chose to spend an hour in prayer with our Lord.
And that’s how the 1-Minute Prayer Plan was born.
Join the event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/726997343977027
Copy and Tweet:
Pray for 1 minute a week, increasing by 1 minute weekly, leading up to 1 hour by year’s end.
Small steps in pray will develop a more consistent prayer habit.
“Couldn’t you pray with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40 paraphrased)
Join the 1-Minute Prayer Plan event at https://www.facebook.com/events/726997343977027
A sacrificial gift of prayer could restore Christ to Christmas if we spend an hour with our Lord.