I am sure many of you are familiar with the movie War Room and also the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. Several months ago I watched the movie which then led me to hunting down the book (I was way too impatient to wait for it to arrive via online order.) I was floored by the concept of “strategic” prayer and praying with a purpose; it was something I had never heard of. Before, my prayer life was dismal at best and non-existent at worst. My prayers were mostly “Good morning God, I need….. (insert a long list of things I didn’t need but wanted.)” After devouring Fervent (and then re-reading it slower and taking notes so I could really absorb the content), I realized that I needed to make a change; I knew I needed to start praying strategically if I ever wanted to see spiritual growth in my life.
What is a prayer strategy?
A prayer strategy is taking God’s word, His promises, and praying them over each of the needs in your life and in the lives of others. For example, someone close to me struggles with depression and anxiety so when I pray for them I use the scripture, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 and pray that this person will learn to give their anxieties and fears to God so they can experience peace. When I am praying for the strength to stay pure I use the scripture “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galations 5:16 and I pray that I will learn to walk in and obey the Holy Spirit so that I will not give into my impure desires.
How can you develop your own prayer strategy?
There are probably hundreds of ways to go about forming your own prayer strategy so I am just going to share what personally works for me:
Identify how Satan is attacking your life and the lives of others
Satan is a manipulator and his main goal is to keep you as far away from God as possible. Learn to identify how he is attacking the different areas of your life and the lives of those closest to you so that you will know what to pray for. I have a separate post, Profiling the Enemy, that discusses several ways that Satan attacks.
Write your prayers down
For each need in your life and the needs in other lives you are praying for, write it down a long with your chosen scripture(s). You do not have to write them down everyday (though I occasionally do), but this way you are not struggling to remember all of the prayers and scriptures and you can also look back and see the prayers that God has answered. I keep all of my prayers in simple composition notebooks because I go through paper like crazy. I have a whole collection of them filling up my bookcase now!
Create a schedule
Pray for specific needs on specific days so that you are not scrambling to fit a ton of stuff into your prayer time or struggling for what to pray for. I find it best to divide my prayers into categories (prayers for myself, prayers for others, and prayers for my country/world. You can divide any way you see fit). Each day I pray over a specific section so that I am not rushing to include every single prayer and therefore, I am able to truly focus on what I am praying.
What scriptures do you use to pray?
You can use any scripture that applies to the situation you are praying over. I’ll include some scriptures applicable to various ways Satan may choose to attack. (All of these scriptures are ESV translation)
- Mark 12:30, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
- Luke 12:34, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”Ezekiel 36:26, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
- Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
- Romans 14:19, “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.”
- 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”
- Ephesians 2:1-5, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. By God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together in Christ- by grace you have been saved-“
- 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
- John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
- 1 Peter 2:24-25, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
- 1 Corinthians 11:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
- Mark 11:25, “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
- Ephesians 4:26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
- Hebrews 10:24-25,” And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
- War Room movie
- Fervent by Priscilla Shirer (lead actress in War Room and a wonderful woman of God.)
- Battle Plan for Prayer by the Hendrick Brothers (directors of the War Room movie.)
- War Binder Facebook Group – this group has a ton of tips for creating a binder of prayers and developing strategy.
- How To Pray Powerfully and Effectively
Since I have started praying strategically and with a purpose, my relationship with God has completely changed. I am stronger in my faith and I feel more connected with God. For a lot of my years as a Christian I felt like I wasn’t really close to God and I can now see it was because I wasn’t praying- not really. I hope this post inspires you to seek a more fervent prayer life!