Although prayer should be our way of life as we converse with God throughout our day, sometimes we simply need to spend some set-apart time with Jesus. Our souls just want to enter that secret place with Him. That’s where intimidation often creeps in. Not because we don’t want to become more intimate with God, but because we doubt our ability to do so. “I can’t focus for an extended period of time.” “I don’t know what to say.” The self-doubt floods our minds as we look at the slowly ticking second hand on the clock. In addition, we sometimes have misconceptions. “Prayer is boring. Who wants to spend time doing nothing but praying?” At other times, we're completely in a rut as we talk to God about the same issues over and over again. These limitations to our communication with God can be attacked much like eating a steak—one bite at a time. We’re already used to applying this principle. Using letters to make words that become sentences and paragraphs. Using order of operations to dissect an algebraic equation. Organizing the pots and pans then the junk drawer as we head toward a functional kitchen space. Why don’t we use that same technique in prayer? That’s where a prayer wheel comes in handy.
The prayer wheel was introduced to me as a teenager when I was challenged to spend an hour in prayer. Praying one hour felt impossible, but spending 10-minute increments of time praying different things felt quite doable. Sometime later, I became acquainted with the prayer journey. This takes the same concept and invites people to walk to a different location with each phase of prayer. Some ideas to incorporate in the prayer wheel or the prayer journey are the following:
Praise and Worship
Petitions, which can be broken into innumerable sub groups (family, nation, military, those bereaved, FB posts, schools, world events.....)
Praying the Word
Praying in the Spirit
Reading the Word
Taking action (like writing a card or driving through a hurting neighborhood while praying for those people's pain)
Singing (What comes to mind right now is the hymn "Just A Little Talk With Jesus" because it talks about getting the prayer wheel turning!)
These can be sectioned into uniform increments of time. Or time spent on each part can be varied. Every idea on the list can be included, other elements added, or only a few of them sprinkled into a prayer session. These can flavor personal prayer time, or they can be part of a group prayer activity. They can be structured with one portion accomplished after another, or they can be a conglomeration with different sections repeated throughout the prayer.
I find the concept of the prayer wheel beneficial even when I don't adhere to its structure. For example, I like to spend my mornings with God before other things clutter my day, but right in the middle of talking with Him, I can have the random-est thoughts pop into my head. Things like, "I wonder who invented mayonnaise. Why would anyone think to put grease on their sandwich?" My brain works that way. Quite possibly, I prayed for someone hungry, thought about being hungry, imagined a great sandwich, then had the mayonnaise thought, but just as easily, I could have thought about mayonnaise without any previous provocation. However, I can discard that thought and re-establish focus by applying one of the prayer options. Yes, it's intentional and purposeful, but the discipline helps me move into a place that's much freer where my conversation with God flows more naturally and where His replies are more easily heard.
So let's pencil in a God appointment on our calendars, grab a prayer wheel and a Bible, and enjoy some quiet time with Jesus. Who knows where prayer will take us!
See the "Freebies and Fun" section of this website for prayer wheel specifics.