One of the hardest things for a Christian to learn is how to become proficient in prayer. To be founded on a rock, we, young and old, must dedicate ourselves to praying earnestly and often.
What follows is the 30-plus program. This is by no means a comprehensive list, or one that must be followed each time you pray. But it is based on Christ’s prayer outline in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. For the young people, it gives them something simple to build on—a foundation.
1) Spend three minutes hallowing God’s name—praising Him for all of His greatness; His supreme power and might; for being such a loving and all-merciful Father. Praise God and His name for creating and designing this vast universe and for placing man on Earth and for giving us such an awesome potential. This is the God we worship in humility and faith. Let Him know that you appreciate and love Him.
2) Spend five minutes confessing your sins and faults—admitting to God where you have been selfish and self-centered, going against God’s law of love. Ask God to purify your thoughts and to clean your heart. Be humble before God right at the start of your prayer so God will listen! The Bible says God will resist and not listen to the proud—those who refuse to admit where they are wrong. On the other hand, God looks to and listens to the humble. Pray for the humility and meekness needed to pray effectively.
3) Spend five minutes thanking God for your many blessings; for giving you the opportunity to be among the 10,000; for giving us the opportunity to fight for Him; thank Him that you’re in His family. If we honestly thanked God for everything He’s provided us, it would take hours and hours.
4) Spend 10 minutes praying for the Work; for our pastor general as he directs this Work under the direction of Jesus Christ; for each department of the Work as it fulfills its part in prophesying again; that God might bring in more laborers. As you read this, we are even now in the midst of a critical court battle that directly relates to our commission! As you read this, we are in the midst of the fall festival season which is critical to our spiritual development and to the financial support for this Work.
Ten minutes! That’s all. When you think about it, 10 minutes will only enable you to scratch the surface.
5) Spend five minutes praying for the brethren—for your brothers and sisters in the Church; especially for those who might be struggling or who are sick. Pray for your minister, your family, your friends, your enemies. Pray that God might protect the 10,000 as we continue in our spiritual fight.
6) In conclusion, spend two minutes again praising God and His family name; for His many blessings. Thank God for listening and for the answers He will give in His own time—and in His own way. Don’t worry if you repeat some of the things you said at the start. Remind God of your love for Him. What physical father puts a limit on how often his children can declare their love for him? God is a Father too.
All totaled, that’s 30 minutes. But there’s more.
7) Then spend whatever extra time you have praying about yourself; about your hopes and dreams and desires. Ask God to be your guide, to lead you in life’s journey. Pray for a willing heart that will follow in His steps.
Too often, we don’t structure our prayers enough because we spend most of our time on the plus and not on the 30. God wants us to be unselfish like Him. Learn that lesson in prayer. Learn to pray for the “other” first—for the Work, then for your family (spiritual and physical), and then you! Establish this pattern of prayer now, while you are young, or while you are new in the faith, or even if you’ve been in the Church for many years, and some day you can advance to the 40-plus program—or the hour-plus!