I was recently asked a question about how to stay strong during the incredibly challenging season we are in right now. I wish I had a new and exciting answer to that question, but I do not. However, the answer I do have is one that will work for you – prayer, the Word, and staying connected to the body of Christ.

I find in my own life, and in the lives of those I shepherd, that exercising these three things usually comes down to these two things: I don’t want to, I don’t know how to – or both.

The great thing is that Jesus answered both when He was here on earth.

Regarding the “want to” He said,

Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

Praying is no different than working out, eating right, or even going to work. Your flesh rarely wants to do these things, but they are non-negotiables if you want to survive and thrive. But once you do get into a habit of doing them, you are stronger for it.

So how do you pray and read the Word when you do not want to. Just tell your flesh to shut up and do it.

Regarding the “How to”, I am so thankful that Jesus’ first disciples actually asked Him this very question. And I am even more thankful that Jesus answered them, and that it was recorded for us! His answer is what we call, The Lord’s Prayer.

This outline is one of the main tools that has kept me praying consistently for many years. When you see it as just that, an outline for prayer, it will help you kickstart prayer, stay focused in prayer, and stay consistent in prayer.

If you are not familiar with the outline, it is masterful, of course, having been given to us by the Master Himself. Jesus’ answer covers the seven primary needs of every person:

Paternal – Father in heaven. Everyone needs a healthy relationship with God as their Father. When you do not know where to start, just say, “Father”. This will kickstart your prayer. It starts the conversation.

Presence – Holy is Your name. Meditating on a few names of God will remind you of how big and awesome He is, and it will calm your soul and draw His manifest presence. (Study 8 names of God HERE)

Priority – Your Kingdom come, Your will be done. This helps you release your anxieties into God’s capable hands, trusting that His will is best. You begin to release your kingdom authority in prayer. It takes you from being a victim to a victor!

Provision – Give us this day our daily bread. Praying for His provision lifts your eyes from what your hands can produce alone to what His hands can produce! Your faith and expectation soars.

Pardon – Cleaning out the spiritual arteries of your heart is critical to live a healthy soul-life. And notice that this prayer outline is before the day begins. “Give us this day…” That means when you pray this part of the prayer you are making the decision to forgive even before you are offended. And as you obey the command to forgive, you will be forgiven as well. This opens heaven and closes hell over your life!

Protection – Lead us away from temptation and protect us from the evil one. Wouldn’t you like help resisting your own sinful desires, as well as Satanic attack? Well, then ask for it.

Praise – Yours is the kingdom, power, and glory. This keeps your eyes on your sovereign God. When you finish your prayer by praising Him for Who He is and for how He is going to answer your prayers, you end with a victorious mindset.

I care deeply about your emotional, mental, and spiritual health, especially during these challenging times, but nobody can seek God for you.

If you want to stay healthy, you must ignore your flesh, read the Word and pray every day, and stay connected to the body of believers who are doing the same.

John