I've already told you that I plan to pray every single day. There are plenty of times when I wish I could opt out of my commitment. I haven't made a vow to God that I am going to pray X amount of hours each day. The Bible says that it's better not to vow than to vow and not pay. So I don't vow to God about how much or how often I am going to pray.
But I do vow to myself. I hold myself accountable for my prayer consistency. I have always believed that if a man isn't accountable to himself, he will never be accountable to anybody else.
If I can't make myself pray, you can't make me pray. But if I do make myself pray, you needn't worry about motivating me. I'm self-motivated to pray. Can you find it in yourself to become self-motivated?
You may not be able to get self-motivated to pray without some serious self-talk. You are going to have to take a brutally honest look at your own life and your own priorities, and consider all the people who are important to you, and all the situations that you care about.
Get a writing pad, a tablet, a composition notebook, or anything to write in. Sit down somewhere alone tonight and begin to make a list of things that you know in your heart that you ought to be praying for.
As you write, tell yourself that this is a very important list you are making and that you are going to keep this list indefinitely and review it regularly. You have to convince yourself that this is not a game of trivial pursuit, but this is serious business before the living God.
Either you believe you are going to make a difference by your praying or you don't. If you do believe, then there is not going to be a better time to get started on a life of genuine intercessory prayer than right here and right now.
As you make your first prayer list, you probably won't see very clearly how all the priorities are going to sort out. I think you should just make the biggest, most general prayer list you can for starters. List everything and everybody that is important to you, even if the list gets very, very long, don't balk at it. Just do it. You won't be sorry.
I have many hundreds of people on my prayer list. I have been working on that prayer list for years. It has changed a lot over the years, but I have almost never removed anybody's name from my prayer list. I figure that if they are important enough for me to pray for them one time, I should keep on praying for them.
Oh, I know, this already sounds like it's going to be far too cumbersome. I know you are feeling like this is way too radical, and if that's the way it's going to be, you'll go to the Christian bookstore and get somebody else's book about prayer.
Go ahead, if you want to. But if you will stay with me, with God's help, I'll make a prayer warrior out of you. And if you EVER get to be a prayer warrior, believe me -- you will be addicted!
I resolved long ago, that no matter what life may dish out to me, no matter what trials and tribulations, no matter what deprivations or reversals -- I would keep on praying. A lot of things in my life may change, but not my prayer life. That's one thing I don't ever want to lose. I might have to quit preaching, or quit singing, or even quit writing, but I can never quit praying. There is no discharge from this army.
Men ought always to pray and not faint.
Pray without ceasing.
Why? I've already said it once, but "prayer changes things." Is there anything in your life right now that needs to be changed? Pray about it. Is there trouble with your job? Pray about it. Is there trouble with your family? Pray about it. Is there trouble with your finances? Pray about it.
Whatever needs changing in your life, that is your reason to pray. Do your kids need God? Pray. Do your grandkids need God? Pray. Does your church need a revival? Pray. Does your school or community need a spiritual awakening? Pray.
Make your list. Now. At least start it right now. You will be adding to your list until Jesus comes. Get a good notebook that you will be happy to continue using for months and years to come. This prayer notebook is going to be one of your most important possessions in the world.
If you are a computer user, you may prefer to make your prayer list on your computer. That is where I keep my prayer lists. You can put them in a Word Document, or list them in a Task in Outlook. If you carry a laptop or a hand-held computer, that will work wonderfully. I often pray with my laptop in front of me. Maybe you think that doesn't sound very spiritual, but you would just have to hang around me during the days or nights when I am engaged in praying. Your computer is an excellent tool for creating your prayer notes. You can always print your notes out periodically and use paper notes to pray with if you like that better.
I urge you to keep a separate set of notes that will keep an inventory of MIRACLES AND ANSWERS TO PRAYERS that come as a result of your efforts. Believe me, they WILL come. God keeps His promises. He said, "the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."