Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution and then failed to do those things? Most people have. We say, “I’m going to lose 10 kilos.” Or we might say, “I’m going to start exercising.” We make resolutions, we set goals- then we go back to our old ways. Sometimes this makes us not even want to set goals! The problem isn’t with goal setting. If a goal is to become a reality though, you have to change your behavior. There is one regular practice that will make a bigger difference than any other. It is the development of a daily intercessory prayer habit.
We are creatures of habit. Habits are not things we think about. We just do them. I don’t think about if I will drink coffee in the morning. I just do. Don’t think about brushing my teeth either. It happens automatically. When I meet someone, I always say, “How are you?” Another habit.
There are many important habits we need in our life if we want to release movements. Sharing your testimony freely needs to become a habit. Praying for the sick should become normal behavior. Making room in your calendar to focus on discipling new believers – it needs to be a typical thing for you.
The most important habit to develop, out of all of these, is the habit of regular prayer and intercession.
How can you develop this habit? How do you make intercessory prayer a regular, natural, normal part of your life?
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV
Keystone Habits- One Change That Creates Others
“The Power of Habit”, a popular business book by Charles Duhigg, describes what he calls keystone habits. A keystone habit is a new behavior that once it develops, catalyzes change in many other areas of our lives. The habit of regular intercessory prayer is a keystone habit for a disciple maker. It makes evangelism easier. You will see the release of the anointing you’ve been wanting. A powerful passion to reach the unreached around you will grow.
5 Things You Can Do to Develop This New Habit
1) Make a fresh decision to develop an intercessory prayer habit.
This is hard if you have wanted to prioritize prayer in the past but haven’t. It is difficult to try to do something again and again but fail. Don’t let the enemy’s lies tell you this isn’t important enough to try once more. Don’t listen to the voice in your head that says, “I’m not really an intercessor. That is a gift for other people.”
The Father wants to help you become like His Son. Jesus regularly went away and prayed. If it was a habit in His life, it can become one in yours. Start with a fresh decision to try again.
2) Write down 5 reasons developing this habit will help your ministry.
Knowing your “why” is key to moving forward in anything new or difficult. A lot of us don’t like to take time to write things down. You may like to talk more than pick up a pen. Maybe you even hate journaling. Recording things in written form, however, makes them clear. It helps us to commit. Take a minute right now. Jot down 5 benefits to your disciple-making efforts if you started interceding daily.
3) Choose a time to start. Mark it on your calendar and set a reminder.
Now you need to commit. We put our good intentions into practice by marking our calendars. A lot of people are not very calendar oriented. I understand that. Perhaps you are someone who has a diary somewhere, but you can never find it. Using a calendar is another important habit. I’ll write about it in another post sometime! But for now, at least set a reminder on your phone every day for a month. Choose a specific time you will intercede daily. Don’t start with huge goals. Start small. Maybe it is only 10-15 minutes a day. Later, you can increase this if you want to. Consistency is more important than quantity when it comes to habits.
4) Find someone to join you.
Encourage a friend, spouse, or colleague to take this journey with you. Share your new habit with a like-minded person and set goals together. We are much more likely to succeed when we have a partner in our journey. Who can you talk to this week about developing a stronger intercessory prayer habit? Ask them today to join you. Set up the first time you will check in with one another about this.
5) Decide now what you will do to celebrate when this becomes a habit.
This is important! Decide now what you will do to reward yourself. One month from now if you have a new intercessory prayer habit, what will you do? Take an extra hour or two to do something fun? Buy yourself a nice meal out with your family? Buy a book you’ve been wanting? Make sure it is something significant enough to motivate you.
Using a Prayer Guide or App- A Great Way to Begin
Every year there are prayer guides released for the Muslim World during the Ramadan festival. Similar guides are available for the Hindu world during Diwali, their major celebration season. Using one of these guides is a great way to start a new intercession habit. Christar also offers numerous online tools for how to pray for the least reached.
Another option is to use a prayer app like the one offered by Joshua Project.
I like to use these guides to get started. After 15 or 30 days of using these you will be on your way to having a new habit. Just don’t stop when the guide stops! Get a new guide or just use that same time to pray through your Lost and Saved List.
Develop your new (or renewed) intercessory prayer habit this month. Many blessings as you start this important keystone habit for disciple-makers!
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