Day 1: Your Heart
If you’re like me, you know that you should pray more. We know that prayer is important, that God hears our prayers, and that God loves it when we come before him with our hearts, our praise, and our requests. Yet we still struggle to pray. Why is prayer so challenging at times? I have talked to many people who struggle with the concept of prayer. What I have observed is that a lot of times our prayers are scattered and unfocused. Often, scattered prayer makes it hard to focus well on what God is speaking into our lives. Unfocused prayer also keeps us from having a deeper and richer connection with God. I want a deeper connection with God. I want to pray more. I want to have better prayers.
Think of prayer like a conversation with a friend, a child, or a spouse. If your conversations are minimal, random, and unfocused, you will rarely connect in any significant way. Sure, you might have some interesting stories to share. But at a heart level, you won’t connect if the conversation remains scattered. The same is true in our relationship with God. We need to have a regular connection with God that is purposeful and intentional.
I have heard that it takes 21 consecutive days of participating in an activity for your body and mind to make it a habit. So, if we participated in something for 21 days in a row, it will be easier for us to continue that activity because our mind made it a normal part of our daily activities. This is where the idea of a 21-day prayer challenge comes from. If we could commit to praying for 21 days, prayer could be a normal part of our daily lives.
Over the next 21 days, my hope is that these emails will help direct prayers to God about different topics, and that after this challenge is completed, prayer would be a part of your daily life as a habit. Sometimes we need a plan, a guide, or a template to help us get started. That’s where this guide comes in—offering some direction to keep our minds from wandering. Even when the 21 days are over, the challenge can be repeated—just start over from the beginning.
I firmly believe God will honor this journey. My prayer for you is that the next 21 days of this prayer challenge will help you grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ.
Begin today by praying for your heart to be softened and open to what God has to say for the next 21 days. Take some time and reflect on these passages about your heart.
“And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances, and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”
This comes through self-examination and repentance of every way in us that is contrary to the way that God intends for us. When we spend time in His Word daily and meditate on what it is saying to us, God begins His transforming work in us.
“Good people bring good things out of their hearts, but evil people bring evil things out of their hearts.”
“So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”
If God is going to soften your heart, it will involve breaking some resistant parts. So, if there is pain in this process, continue to hold tight to Jesus. You are asking for your heart to feel again, trust that God will carry you through the pain.
Dear Heavenly Father, please reveal anything that has hardened my heart. Help my heart to be broken by what breaks yours. Reveal yourself to me and soften my heart over these next 21 days. Amen.