Stone Soup for Five: Prayer School session 4 -- {plus free printable!}

Prayer School session 4 -- {plus free printable!}

The reality of prayer in my life is pretty simple:  it's hard.
Praying without growing weary (or bored) is harder.
And praying when I don't see many glimmers of hope make it almost impossible to continue to persevere.

So when praying is a struggle, when my prayer binder seems to be hard to get to, or I'm just plain weary, I always go back to those men of centuries ago who GOT it.

This week, I pulled up the current book I'm reading through, The Bible and the Closet, by Thomas Watson, a Puritan pastor and author.  And this guy? He GETS it, and drives it home with clarity and useful application.

So today, let's look at a section in his book titled "How to Manage Secret Prayer, that it may Prevail with God." (Aren't these titles GREAT!?) Thomas Watson gives us 6 points to consider, but let's just focus on just the first point (and honestly, just the first sub-point of the first point!).
"Before going to prayer, use preparation before it, rush not suddenly into the awful presence of God.... He never prays ardently that does not premeditate devoutly."
After that statement, he writes 5 points to meditate over before praying:

1.  Consider the attributes of God that apply to your requests.
2.  Think on some promises that apply to your requests.
3.  Meditate on some suitable arguments for your requests.
4.  Ask for assistance in prayer.
5.  Engage your heart to holiness and stay focused on your point.

NOTE: If we are to pray with meditation and preparation beforehand, but still have those arrow prayers that we send up instantly in times of trial or praise or suffering, there must be two (or more) different kind of prayer times: the more formal times of coming into His presence, and times that knock us to our knees in praise or sorrow.  For this series, we're talking about the more formal times.

Does Thomas Watson's points still apply to life in 2017, centuries after this was written? ABSOLUTELY.

Here's how I implemented it:

1.  I flipped through my prayer lists for myself and for each of my immediate family members.  Looking through the lists, I started to narrow each person I'm praying for down to an overall summarizing thought.  As I was thinking through this, I realized it could all be summed up in the verse from Deuteronomy 4:9, which is one I've been praying for my sons, but can definitely apply it to myself and my husband.
"Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently..." -Deuteronomy 4:9

Going back to point one from Thomas Watson I asked:  What attributes of God apply to this request?  A quick search lead me to this list on Blue Letter Bible of some attributes of God.  Which of these applied to my prayer request? (That we would be aware of our sins, tendencies, and keep our souls diligently.)  I began to think through each of them and answer the ones that seemed to apply directly:

  • Eternality--We are eternal beings, though it's easy to lose sight of.
  • Goodness--God is good to us and desires us to willingly praise and serve Him.  Giving heed to ourselves and keeping our soul is ultimately for our good because He is good.
  • Holiness--God is pure holiness and He is worthy of our efforts to live a life of holiness to glorify Him and that requires us to fight against the default and strive to holiness by being aware of ourselves and keeping ourselves in His holiness.
  • Justice--Because He is holy, He is just, and we will be asked to give account of how we used our one life, and it is very fitting that He justly call us to give account of how we kept our souls.
Just looking at that list gives me encouragement, reverence, and a depth to my prayer that I didn't have before.  THAT excites me and adds new meaning to my stagnant prayers.

I also made a bookmark to remind me of these attributes of God while I'm praying and thought you might like it too.  Click here for the free PDF file.

Focus on one major thing that you are praying for someone (or yourself) and consider which attributes of God apply to your requests.  Make a list of HOW they apply and spend some time over the next few days praying those meditative requests.

What do you think?  Does prayer get hard for you?  Do you have dry seasons where it's easy to lose focus?  Is this a new aspect to prayer you hadn't thought of before (like me?)  Let me know in the comments below!

Previous Prayer School posts:


  1. Thank you for sharing with your readers! My sister and I were just talking about this today. Our prayer life can become so mundane at times. We were also wanting to enhance our prayer journals too. I have printed off all the information and a bookmark for us both. I look forward to sharing this with her on Mother's Day! Thank you again for your blog. It has been a great source of encouragement to me! Blessings! Michelle


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