The more one hears about great times of revival and reformation where societies are changed for the better, the more one encounters stories of prayer... long, regular times of prayer by individuals, by groups, by families, by groups.
In fact, some organizations believe that leaders who are most effective in their work of ministry are spending much more than an hour in prayer per day. They may be spending multiple hours themselves in prayer EACH DAY and then several more hours in prayer with others in their team... sometimes spending whole NIGHTS in prayer once a month or once a week. Hearing these comments about prayer again and again, it became obvious how essential it would be to learn to pray for an hour at a time if one wanted to be maximally useful in the Christian life!
What? Pray for 60 minutes?
Who can put their cell phone down for that long! Yet one church in Arkansas that was researched had about had 168 people every week praying in an uninterrupted "Wall of Prayer" as they called it ... a continuous 24-7 Prayer Chain that never stops (or at least it hasn't in many years). The early Moravians of "Herrnhutt" had a continuous prayer meeting that literally lasted for 100 years. Obviously SOMEBODY had found it possible pray for an hour or more on end and enjoy the time of praying.
We seem positively addicted to everything BUT talking to God. So how did other people manage to pray like this? That was the question. Here are some PRAYER RESOURCES that can help readers spend more significant times in meditation, intercession, etc.
Here are some short tips. In researching endurance in prayers it became apparent that one "secret" of praying for an hour was to break up the time into 5 minute time spans, each with a different theme... such as "adoration", "confession", "thanksgiving", or "supplication". Or if you're not slavishly following a 5 minute rule for each topic to at least do different things. From the practical standpoint, it lends variety. From a theological standpoint on prayer, Biblical prayer involves more than just ASKING. It involves praise, confession, repentance, lament, and praying for others not just for you and your stuff. Most importantly it's about praying for GOD's KINGDOM to be established, not, you know, our own.
As an example here's how Dick Eastman's first book breaks the hour up into the following groupings, lasting just 5 minutes each:
1. Praise and Worship
2. Waiting on the Lord
4. Pray the Word
Note: there are other ways to arrange this "prayer wheel"... the key is to keep moving between prayer formats in order to let the hour of personal worship remain "lively" and moving along.
(One note about the 5 minutes of Bible reading. It may be wise to do one's long Bible reading before or after the prayer... or limit Bible reading during the prayer time or quiet time to a chapter in the New Testament or a Psalm. It's easy to spend lots of time reading but not praying. For the "Bible reading" sections of this plan, choose a key verse from daily Bible reading or some of the daily verses in Eastman's other book.)
Why Prayer Resources?
Several resources should be kept on hand that invariably "prime the pump" for praying when, frankly, prayer seems very distant and difficult. (Have you ever felt unable to pray for even a minute let alone sixty minutes?) When that's the case, and Bible reading alone doesn't get one's spirit going, a devotional work by a famous yet trustworthy author like Andrew Murray is often in order.
Andrew Murray and other spiritual writers have words on prayer and reminders about prayer that will, usually, help you turn your heart and mind to prayer if that doesn't seem to be happening "naturally" on any given day.
Here are some books that will help you pray for an hour or as long as you want. These books do a variety of things. Some give you a variety of TOPICS to use every 5 minutes. Other books give you a cycle of topics for days, weeks, or months. Some help you intercede for whole COUNTRIES of the world. And some others just warm your heart so you can talk to God when you might otherwise be tempted to go back to bed.
Feeling adventurous? The last one is about how a movement of 24-7 prayer started in England and began spreading across the globe. Maybe praying for an hour isn't enough for you? Perhaps your calling is to be part of a 24-7 prayer movement? Check it out.