Day 1 – It is easy to forget all that God is doing for us, especially the little things in life: coffee with a friend, a good book that we’re reading, an extra-tasty meal. That’s not to mention all the bigger issues in life. Think of something from yesterday that you are thankful for. Give thanks for 1 minute.
• Pray specifically for what it is you are thankful for (what happened?)
• Why are you thankful for it?
• Who was with you or involved in the situation?
• When did it happen (time of day)?
Day 2 – John wrote that if we say we have not sinned, we are liars and the truth is not in us. Jesus said that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Think of one thing from yesterday (or before) that needs to be confessed and spend 1 minute praying a prayer of confession.
• Who did you sin against?
• With whom (if anyone) did you sin?
• When and where was the sin committed?
• Why did you sin?
• What promise of God did you not trust?
Day 3 – There are many ways to characterize God: loving, merciful, gracious, just, faithful, true, immoveable, unchanging, etc. Spend 1 minute giving praise and adoration to God for his one of his character traits or attributes.
• Why is this an important attribute to everyone?
• Why is this an important attribute to you personally?
• How has this affected your life in the past?
• How has it affected someone you know?
• How does this help you to trust God more?
Day 4 – When Jesus’ mother came to him at the wedding in Cana, she informed him of the problem at hand: there was no more wine. At that point, she trusted him to do something. When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, they simply told him that the one whom he loved was sick. They then trusted him to do as he would. We are allowed to come to Jesus with our requests and trust him to do something. Spend 1 minute just informing Jesus of what you are concerned about, but trust him to do as he desires. This is a great time to pray for those requests for which you told others you’d pray.
• What or whom are you concerned about?
• Why are you concerned? Where does it stem from?
• What does the Bible say about the issue at hand?
• What have you promised to pray about?
Day 5 – Isaiah tells us that God’s ways are not our ways; his thoughts are not our thoughts. That truth will often mean we are unsure what will happen in any given situation. Yet for all believers in Jesus—the Son of God and our Savior—we are promised that all things will turn out for our good. Pray for 1 minute for God’s will to be done in one, two, three, or more areas (of course in all of life itself), but be specific.
• For what concerns do you desire God’s will to be done?
• What situation going on right now are you willing to give to God’s will rather than your own?
Day 6 – One of the greatest fears of many Christians is evangelism. It is therefore a neglect for most Christians. Jesus said though that his kingdom would be like a mustard seed—growing into a tree that could house all birds. He said that the gates of hades would not prevail against it. That means that the growth of God’s kingdom is a guarantee; it’s inevitable. Pray for 1 minute that God would give you eyes to see opportunities to speak the gospel to someone in the very near future.
• Pray for a lost friend
• Pray for a lost family member
• Pray for a “chance” meeting with a stranger
• Pray for missionaries you may know
Day 7 – God has commanded that his name be taken seriously. We are not to use it vainly—as if it means nothing. It should always be seen and presented as a holy name of the Holy God. Pray for 1 minute that you would understand God’s holiness better.
• Pray for understanding of his holiness
• Pray that you would present it naturally in life:
o At home
o At work
o At school
o In the movies and television shows you watch
o In the books you read
o In the discussions you have
Day 8 – Jesus said that we are not to be anxious about clothing or food, but trust God to provide them. Paul wrote that with clothing and food he’d be content. Essential needs—its easy to worry about them. Spend 1 minute praying about your essential needs. Try not to confuse wants with needs. As you pray acknowledge why you trust God to fulfill these requests.
• Praying for food (even if thanksgiving)
• Praying for clothing
• Praying for shelter (home repairs, moving, selling)
• Financial troubles
Day 9 – Who among us has not sinned more than once a day? John wrote that if we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just (right) to forgive us of them. As before, take 1 minute to pray a prayer of confession.
• Who did you sin against?
• With whom (if anyone) did you sin?
• When and where was the sin committed?
• Why did you sin?
• What promise of God did you not trust?
Day 10 – Jesus said that if we go to offer a sacrifice and remember our brother has something against us, we are to leave the gift and reconcile ourselves to our brother (if possible). He also said the same to those who had been sinned against. Pray for 1 minute about reconciliation with others.
• Is there someone in your life you haven’t forgiven? Pray for a forgiving heart.
• Is there someone in your life estranged from you because of something you did? Pray that reconciliation would come soon.
• Ask God to reveal anything that may be buried deeply from long ago.
• Pray that God works it to his glory
Day 11 – The writer of Hebrews told us to lay aside every weight—every sin—that easily entangles us. Most Christians tend to see one glaring sin in their lives (though there are others). It may be anger, lust, pride, contentiousness, covetousness, etc. Spend 1 minute in prayer about the sin that you so easily fall into. This will probably be an ongoing prayer throughout the challenge.
• Are there specific times when you’re more susceptible to falling?
• Are there specific people that help (directly or indirectly) to falling?
• What temptations are there that you face?
• Pray to see a way out when tempted.
• Pray for strength and willingness to take the way out.
Day 12 – God’s Word is mainly about God. That God is a wonderful God who reveals himself in his wonderful Word. Take 1 minute to pray that God would reveal wonderful things from his word to you today.
• What are you planning on reading?
• Ask to see something you’ve not seen before
• As to see something afresh…something you’ve taken for granted
• (Don’t forget to actually read His word)
Day 13 – God created humanity to have dominion over the created earth. That means we were created to have control over certain things. We like being in control. But the fall marred everything, including our desire for control. We take it too far, wanting it for circumstances that we cannot and are not supposed to control—leading to anxiety. Spend 1 minute praying about this kind of anxiety: the anxiety from a lack of control.
• What do you want control of?
• Why do you want control of it?
• What is driving your anxiety?
• What is it about this situation that causes you to lack trust in God?
• Are you willing to trust God’s will and plan?
Day 14 – Paul tells us that when we pray for those things we are anxious about, it should be done with thanksgiving. This is perhaps due to the fact that when we focus on what God has done, it reminds us of how he is in control so we need not worry. Pray for 1 minute giving thanks for what he has done.
• Has there been a similar situation in your life that God showed himself to be in control?
• Has there been a biblical example similar to your situation in which God has shown himself to be in control?
Day 15 – You’re halfway done with the prayer challenge! That means you are up to 15 minutes of prayer today! Way to be faithful in prayer! That’s devotion right there! That’s exactly what Paul calls us to in Romans 12:12. It’s probably been difficult at times to keep going (maybe every time). Take 1 minute to pray for strength and grace to finish strong.
• What do you find difficult about prayer?
• Are you concerned you won’t make the thirty days? Why?
• Do you need to confess anything about your prayer life?
• Give praise to God for bringing you this far!
Day 16 – Let’s admit it. We’ve all done it. We’ve prayed selfish prayers. There are times when this is a no brainer: God I want a Ferrari. Other times, though, we deceive ourselves. The Psalmist prayed that God would search his heart for any waywardness. Let’s do the same. Spend 1 minute that God would seek out your motives in your prayers.
• Ask for Him to reveal them to you if they are impure
• Ask that he purify and make them right with his own holiness
• Ask the Holy Spirit to continue to pray for us when we don’t know how or what to say
Day 17 – Often, in our times of confessional prayer we can become overwhelmed by our own sinfulness. Thoughts like, “How could I have done ‘X’ again?” come into our minds and condemn us. For this reason, take 1 minute and pray the gospel.
• How has God’s grace forgiven you?
• Why did Jesus live the perfect life?
• Why did Jesus die upon the cross?
• What is the result of Jesus’ resurrection?
Day 18 – Many of us have people in our lives that make life difficult—at times, nearly unbearable it seems. We may not say that they are enemies, per se, but we wouldn’t mind if they were less __________. Pray for them for 1 minute.
• What is their name?
• What are they doing to make life so difficult?
• Is there something you can do to help them?
• Pray that God would bless them (maybe even through you).
• Pray that God would give you long-suffering when it comes to them.
Day 19 – Decisions, decisions, decisions. Studies show that the average adult makes thousands of decisions every day. Most are small, and seemingly inconsequential, but some are big and immediately life-changing. Pray for 1 minute that God would give you wisdom.
• Is there a big decision coming up?
• Is there a small decision coming up?
• How will your decisions affect your family, friends, or church?
• Are you restless about a decision or how you ought to handle a situation?
• Ask for counselors.
• Ask for strength to do your best.
Day 20 – Solomon once wrote that it is better to go silent and humble before the Lord than to offer sacrifices; therefore, let our words be few, and let us sit in silence before our God. This is so difficult to do because our minds might wander. Some don’t like silence. Yet we need to learn to be still and know that God is indeed God. Spend 1 minute in silence before the Lord. Just do your best to keep your mind from wandering. If it begins to wander, perhaps it is wandering to something you need to pray about.
Day 21 – Jesus told the disciples that the nations must first hear the gospel before he will return. Pray for the world for 1 minute.
• Do you know a missionary serving God somewhere?
• Do you know of a nation that is closed to the gospel?
• Have you heard of any Christians being persecuted/martyred?
• Ask God to raise up laborers for the fields are white
Day 22 – Jesus was leaving the city of Jericho when he and the disciples were stopped by a blind man named Bartimaeus. Jesus asked what he wanted. He wanted to see and was rather bold about telling Jesus his request. Jesus said that he would if Bartimaeus believes. His response: “I believe; help my unbelief.” We’ve been praying for a while for requests without asking for specific outcomes, allowing Jesus to do as he sees fit. But there is nothing wrong with specific requests. Take 1 minute to pray for something and a specific outcome you’d like to see.
• What is the situation/circumstance that you or someone you know is going through?
• What is your desire?
• How will you feel if God’s will is something other than your desire?
• Pray for God to strengthen those areas where you doubt.
Day 23 – God has given us quite a bit of responsibility. Think of all the areas in life over which you have stewardship. It would have been fine if not for the fall, but with it, those responsibilities are nearly impossible, if not impossible. We cannot do them in our own strength. Take 1 minute to pray for strength.
• What responsibility do you seek to do on your own?
• Where could you use God’s strength (be specific, don’t say “everywhere.”)
• Pray that you may toil with all of his energy that he powerfully works within you.
Day 24 – David knew what Jesus taught: the mouth speaks what the heart thinks. Thus, King David prayed that both the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart would be acceptable to God. Pray for 1 minute this idea for today.
• Are your thoughts idle? How about your words?
• Are there harsh thoughts? How about words?
• Is there course jesting?
• Are there lies believed? Spoken?
Day 25 – Believe it or not there is a battle going on for your affections. Believe it or not, you have enemies out there, but they aren’t made of flesh and blood, but enemies of darkness. Pray for 1 minute against these enemies.
• What is battling for your affections for God?
• Pray that God would not allow you to be put to shame
• Pray that God would cover you in his armor to fight your spiritual enemies
• Pray that your affections for God would grow
Day 26 – We have a president over our country. Other’s have kings, queens, dictators, prime ministers, and such. It does not matter if you like your national leader or not; he is still the nation’s leader and he needs your prayer. There are also senators, representatives, legislators, and local officials that need your prayers. In fact, Paul instructed us to be in prayer for them. Take 1 minute to pray for your leaders.
• Pray for them by name if you know it
• Pray for them to live with integrity
• Pray that they would live righteously
• Pray that they would have wisdom
• Pray that they would allow Christians to live in peace
• Pray for their salvation
Day 27 – Paul started nearly every letter with an acknowledgement that he was praying for the church to which he was writing. At some point he usually thanked them for their prayers for him. Take 1 minute and pray for your church (choose any or all or other requests).
• Pray for guidance
• Pray for wisdom
• Pray for worship services
• Pray for your pastors
• Pray for visitors (that they come and that they’d feel welcomed)
• Pray for gifts to be used
• Pray for faithfulness to the truth
Day 28 – There is so much to be thankful for, but sometimes it is hard to recognize it all. Part of being thankful is trusting God’s plan. Joseph was sold into slavery and accused of rape, imprisoned, and then forgotten about. In the end he saw God’s hand at work. Surely, he believed it was at work all along. He was able to see that the evil that happened to him was intended for good not yet seen. Pray for 1 minute and give thanks.
• Are you going through some evil time and so need to thank God for what he is doing and is going to do even if you don’t know what that may be yet?
• Thank God for his good plan
• Thank him for his strength
• Thank him for his promise to work all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
• Thank him for his faithfulness
Day 29 – Let’s face it, sometimes it is difficult to see any light or hope in this fallen world. Peter wrote that we would do well to pay attention to God’s word as a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts. Take 1 minute to pray that God’s word would be a lamp in a dark place.
• Where are you lacking hope?
• What darkness are you going through?
• Is your hope found in his word? If not, confess and ask for him to redirect your hope.
Day 30 – Paul (and others) would, at times, get so overwhelmed by God’s goodness, might, glory, or some other reason, and would break out into doxology, that is “to give a word of glory.” This is your last day of the challenge why not spend 1 minute in doxology? Here is a list to look up, if you’d like to use it; feel free to use your own if you’d like.
• Romans 11:30
• Romans 11:36
• Ephesians 3:20-21
• 1 Timothy 1:17
• 1 Timothy 6:15-16
• Jude 24-25
• Revelation 1:5-6,
• Revelation 7:12
Seriously, great job! I hope that through this challenge you found your time in prayer to be joyful and exciting. I also hope that you will continue growing stronger and deeper in your prayer-life. Feel free, of course, to keep using this guide. If you want to switch up some days, go for it. Perhaps number each prayer in the order that works for you.
In closing, let me give an extended quote from the great J. C. Ryle:
There are few children of God who do not often find the season of prayer a season of conflict. The devil has special wrath against us when he sees us on our knees. Yet, I believe that prayers which cost us no trouble should be regarded with great suspicion. I believe we are very poor judges of the goodness of our prayers, and that the prayer which pleases us least, often pleases God most…One thing, at least, we all feel: we must pray. We cannot give up. We must go on.
(Ryle: “A Call to Prayer”, (Pensacola: Chapel Library, 1998), 21)