For several years I’ve followed a sort of liturgy for my times of private prayer. I’ve found it so helpful in organizing and prioritizing my thoughts, and keeping me focused during my prayers. However, it provides the flexibility for pressing needs, limited time, and a purposefulness in the discipline of prayer!
Recently, what with a new baby, new town, new job, new schedule, new studies, etc. I’ve found that private prayer has been a casualty of all these changes. I do pray continually (1Thes. 5:17), but dedicated times of prayer have been less often.
However, despite my limited time for private prayer and trying to figure out where it fits in all the “newness” of my life, I’ve been refreshed by having a pre-decided commitment to pursuing private prayer and study; and even more than that, a biblical template of sorts, to guide my praying. I happened across this “template” many years ago now, and have continually returned to it as a model for how to structure my times of prayer. It comes from Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s biography, which is fabulous and I highly recommend it. He organized prayer this way, drawing from the Psalms and from the Lord’s Prayer:
“I ought not to omit any of the parts of prayer–confession, adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.