Tending flocks was my daily work, and I would pray constantly through the daylight hours. The love of God and the fear of Him surrounded me more and more—and faith grew and the spirit was roused, so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers and after dark nearly as many again… I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.
Maewyn Succat, also known as St Patrick
What follows is a glimpse into my daily prayer life.
I begin praying immediately after waking up. The first few minutes of the morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. I begin with prayers of gratitude and praise.
“Lord, thank you for the gift of another day of life. Each day is a wonderful blessing. Thank you for good health, a home, my wife, my four kids. Thank you for the ministry, for the blessing of being able to help others. Thank you for the gifts you’ve given me, the country we live in. Thank you for our team members at Blazing Grace (I’ll name them). All I have is because of You. Thank you God.”
“Thank you for forgiving me of all my sins…” I will occasionally stop here, to the point of tears. I have sinned and failed many times in my life; some failures are so dark and pride-filled that the pain of those memories still run deep. Yet God has rescued me every time, even when I was willfully running to sin. Thanking Him for forgiving me for every sin keeps my past failures where they need to stay—at the cross. I will not take back the burden of my sin or wallow in self-condemnation or false humility.
I continue… “Lord, thank you for suffering, for trials, for pain. Thank you for purifying me, burning off pride, teaching me, and redeeming my suffering by using it to help me walk with others who are in pain.”
Many mornings I’ll walk into the backyard and watch the sun rise. “Wow God, I love the way you paint the sky with orange and blue; the clouds, clear skies, and wide open spaces. Thank you for bringing us to Arizona. This is so beautiful.” When the rays of the morning sun break through the clouds, I can’t help but think of Heaven.
By this time, joy and peace have warmed my heart. Gratitude lights up the brain and the soul. Giving thanks blesses God and acknowledges that everything we have is a gift from His hands, good and the bad.
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
I go back inside for more. Knowing the spiritual battle that is being waged against me and those around me, I’ll pray “In the name and authority of Jesus Christ, I command any evil spirits coming against me to stop your works and go where Jesus commands you to go. I renounce and cancel all assignments of the enemy against me, my family, my ministry. I am not given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind. Lord, please fill me with your Holy Spirit of POWER, love, and sound mind today. Give me your wisdom and strength. I’m nothing without you. I need your discernment.”
I have a list of people I pray for every day, and intercede for them, often beginning with my family members: “Father, please speak to my wife and kids. Let them know You and hear Your voice. Be first in their lives. Please provide healing where it’s needed, and pull them to you. Please, don’t let any of them fall away.”
I’ll pray for my country. “God, please provoke pastors everywhere to put their flocks on their knees and make their churches houses of prayer. Please shut down and set back the work of those who are trying to bankrupt us spiritually and financially. Please fight for our country, and bring salvation, healing, deliverance, and repentance. Please give us godly men and women for leaders, and lead them into decisions that will honor You no matter what their beliefs are.”
I often mingle praise with prayer. “God, I bless You, praise You, glorify You. You alone are God and there are none beside You. Not to me, oh God, but to Your name give glory (Ps 115:1). Please be glorified in my life today. I love You, need You, bless You. Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name (Ps 29:1-2). Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, I bless Your holy name (Ps 103).”
Through the morning before leaving for the office, I may pray about circumstances, wisdom, and people, or continue with thanks and praise. Rebekah, my daughter, works for Blazing Grace and lives with us. We will often pray together as we drive to the office.
All who desire a powerful prayer life will encounter spiritual warfare.
If I have counseling appointments, there is often warfare before we begin the call. I may pray as I did above where I take up my spiritual authority in Christ and shut the enemy down, or pray one of the Psalms out loud, such as Psalm 35 or Psalm 91.
I usually tape Blazing Grace radio show Thursday mornings at Faithtalk’s studio in Phoenix; there is often warfare in the hours leading up to when I record. The assault might come with a sense of fear or anxiety, the feeling that I’m going crazy, or physically, with difficulty breathing. I make the half hour drive to the studio from my office in silence, with the radio off, and more prayer that includes asking for His wisdom and power.
Warfare has become such a part of my life that I would wonder if I was doing something wrong or not being effective if it wasn’t there. I don’t invite it; I see it is a signal that I’m doing something the enemy doesn’t want… such as talking openly about sexual issues or spiritual warfare and encouraging believers and churches to pray.
Sometimes I’ll name the specific ways I’m being attacked when I war-pray: “In the name of Jesus, I renounce and reject fear, desolation, anxiety, lust, bitterness (or whatever I’m being hit with) and command you to stop and leave my presence. I cancel all assignments of the enemy against me. I am not given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and sound mind.”
Maybe you just read “desolation” and wondered what that was about. 2 years ago I got hit with a dark cloud. There was a sense of foreboding, and doubts about my salvation started wondering through my mind along with other crazy thoughts. A weight of depression descended, even though I had nothing to be depressed about. I prayed my way through it, but couldn’t put my finger on what had happened. In July of 2021, John Eldredge sent out a newsletter with this statement:
This is the moment of real vulnerability. Because our Eden hearts are so famished, and our recovery has only just begun, disappointment sets us up for disillusionment, and Desolation. I don’t mean discouragement, a few bad days. Desolation is a major dark force in the world today, a spiritual force, a foul spirit that is really causing people to lose heart, lose faith—even mature believers. I’ve had two close friends tell me that when they were “under it” (Desolation, that is), they felt like they weren’t even sure they believed in God anymore. So we’ve got this predator out there, looking for any crack to usher in various expressions of disillusionment and desolation, and we’ve got to be very wise in this moment.
Eldredge nailed it. In a time when many are walking away from the faith and churches aren’t equipping people about spiritual warfare or spending extended time in prayer Sunday mornings, it makes perfect sense. If a believer is unaware that they’re going through spiritual warfare, hasn’t been equipped to fight in the spiritual realm or in prayer and they start buying into the lies of the enemy, the danger of shipwrecked faith can become very real.
After some battles I’ll continue in prayer with, “God, thank you for your authority, for making me your son. Thank you for the gift of prayer, and Your word. Thank you for strengthening me, for others who are praying for me. Thank You that You will never leave me nor forsake me.” In stating this I’m reinforcing the truth of who I am and what I’ve been given as a warrior-heir of God.
These newsletters are prayer-infused. I pray about the topic to run with in the days before I write them, and during. This morning I got hit with a fear-based attack on doing this newsletter on prayer, which reveals that the enemy would rather we avoid the topics of prayer and warfare.
I strive to walk with God during the day and ask Him for wisdom in situations as they come up. I don’t always remember to stop and pray; don’t think that I have it all together, and sometimes I wait too long.
Here are other prayers that can make up my day.
“God, please align me, my heart, and my life to You and Your heart. Not my will, but thine be done. Please give me eyes to see, a heart to understand, and ears to hear.”
“Please crucify my flesh.” I pray this one often, especially when I sense that my flesh to attempting to surface with selfishness, pride, lust, resentment, fear, or some other snare. “Please keep my flesh crucified and in the grave, and help me to live in the power of your resurrection.”
If I’m getting hit with dark thoughts or temptation, sometimes I’ll picture the throne room of Heaven, where the King of Kings is seated, in brilliant light and power. I’ll ask Him to shine His light in my mind and cleanse it of anything not of Him.
“Please prepare my heart for eternity.” I started praying this one two years ago. I want a heart set on the eternal; to live my life in a way that counts for eternity. I don’t want to waste it on non-essentials and want to make whatever time I have left here to count, to be broken bread and poured out wine, as Oswald Chambers would say. I’ll also pray, “Please give me fruit! I want my life to count! Please, let me go hard until the end!”
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Brother and sister in Christ, the purpose for your being, your life’s one object and design, is to bring forth fruit to the glory of God the Father.
At the end of the day as I prepare to sleep, I’ll have more time on my knees with the Lord. I’ll give Him thanks and praise for the day, ask for more of His power, and bring any needs that have surfaced to the throne-room of grace. I’ll often finish with something like, “God, please put a hedge of protection around our home, and this room. Guard my heart and mind as I rest.”
My friends, your prayer life is the barometer of your spiritual power. The more you pray, the closer you will draw near to God. You will get attacked more, which will force you to pray more. There will be less of self and you’ll grow stronger in Him. You’ll gain more wisdom, discernment, and authority, and your faith will grow. Your hunger for entertainment and pleasure will fade.
You will become a spiritual warrior.
Prayer must be your way of life. “God bless my day” prayers won’t get it done, just as praying “God bless our church service” is nothing compared to spending time in corporate prayer on Sunday morning.
It comes down to what you want in life. You can have as much of God as you want if you’re willing to invest the time and energy in prayer and the eternal.
Prayer is an amazing blessing that opens the door to the realms of Heaven and all the blessings that flow from God. This door is wide open to all who would seek Him in spirit and in truth.
The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.
Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.