Twenty-Four Hours of Prayer
A Suggested Format for A New Year's Prayer Vigil
Feel free to structure your prayer any way that you wish. The following are simply suggestions which may be of some help:
If you want to look into the subject of prayer prior to your hour-long session, consider these sermons: Perseverance in Prayer and Steps to Effective Prayer.
Divide your prayer into four sections: PRAISE, CONFESSION, THANKS, and INTERCESSION.
Pray aloud if alone, or if everyone in the prayer room agrees to pray together.
PRAISE GOD: (about 10 minutes)
For his creative powers;
For his attributes: He is holy, just, loving, faithful, unchanging.
For his redeeming love; for this time of year when we remember the gift of his son, when we remember his humbling himself to the point of death on a cross.
Read some sections of the Bible as part of your praise, such as Psalm 19, Psalm 47, Psalm 66, Psalm 100, Psalm 103, Psalm 104, Luke 1:46-55;
Sing a praise song or hymn.
CONFESS SINS: (about 10 minutes)
Confession is agreeing with the God you have just praised that sin is sinful.
Confess your own sins -- be specific!
(If praying with others, you may want to agree to conduct this section silently)
Reading Psalm 51 would be a good beginning.
Include in your confession:
Sins of commission:
greed, jealousy, pride, self-righteousness, lust, sexual sins, gossip, murmuring, disobeying authority, stealing (from the government, from the office, from the church, from businesses), hatred, callousness, lack of self-control, hurtful words, idolatry (putting anything before God), misuse of alcohol, others;
Your spouse, your parents, your grandparents, your brothers, your sisters, your children, your grandchildren, your fellow believers, your fellow workers, your girlfriend/boyfriend, your teachers, your pastor, your friends, your neighbors, others;
Sins of omission:
Not caring enough: to pray, to give of your time, to give of your money, to give of yourself, to visit, to reach out;
Not depending on God: to help you through temptation, to lead you in your decision-making, to develop your spiritual gifts;
Sins of groups to which you belong:
Your church, your denomination, your profession, your race, your country.
Psalms 32, Daniel 9:4-19, and Nehemiah 1:5-11 may be appropriate for reading or paraphrasing as part of your prayer at this point.
You may want to take five minutes of silence at this point, reflecting on what you have said. You have praised God for who He is, and have confessed your own unworthiness. Meditate on the wonder and mystery of 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
GIVE THANKS TO GOD: (about 10 minutes)
For God's forgiveness;
For his great sacrifice for our sins;
For what he has done for you in this last year;
For what he will do for you in the coming year;
For the natural beauty of our world;
For our church;
For its growth in the last year (thank God for individuals by name);
For individuals within the church who have taught you, loved you, reached out to you, discipled you, or rebuked you;
For the pastor, elders, and other leaders;
For the Sunday School;
For the various ministries of the church;
For your family;
For the trials you have faced this last year, and will face next year;
For those in authority over you: your parents, your husband, your employer, government officials;
For the abundance of material blessings you have received;
For other items.
INTERCESSION: (about 20 minutes)
For our church:
That God's Word would be taught effectively and powerfully;
That many individuals would receive Christ this year through the ministries of our members;
That each individual member (name some!) would desire to serve the Lord God with all his heart, allowing God to develop his spiritual gift(s);
That we will exhibit Christ's love for each other in our thoughts, words, and deeds;
That whatever differences we have would be reconciled by God, and we would be become one through His redeeming power.
For our Pastor:
That he would preach the Word, reproving, rebuking, and encouraging us with great patience and careful instruction (2 Tim 4 -- you may wish to read all of 2 Timothy 4:2-5 as a prayer for the pastor).
That he would live a life worthy of his calling, being an example to the flock.
For our all leaders in the church:
That they would be diligent in responding to the needs of their families, giving of themselves;
That they would "keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience"; (1 Timothy 3:9)
For all those who suffer physical and emotional problems in our church (name them!);
For Christian missions and missionaries we support:
In our own community;
In the metropolitan area;
In the U.S.
Around the world;
For the hungry, poor, and oppressed:
In this country;
In the Indian sub-continent, where so many people are walking in darkness, where millions of people will be suffering from hunger next year if the present drought continues, and where the workers are so few;
In communist countries;
In other parts of the world.
For your family, neighbors, others.
For God's Kingdom
Pray that God's kingdom will come, that His will may be done in earth as in heaven. Consider the implications of this phrase that so often rolls off our lips, and elaborate on it.
CLOSING (about 5 minutes)
You may want to sing another song of praise, or spend another few minutes in silence.
You may use the following to close:
I pray that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that I may be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:16-21, modified)
If you wish, you may take this guide with you. If this is the last copy, please leave it but write your name here and we will get a copy to you.
Thank you so much for participating.