Don’t Add Prayer to Your List

Prayer is often misunderstood and tragically neglected.

While most Christians would affirm a foundational belief in the power of prayer, the lack of its practice in many of our lives would beg to differ.

If God compiled a list of the top 5 prayers he hears, what do you think would make the list?  

Most likely, the list would revolve around individual crises or routine rituals.  Those prayers are important, but God’s Word instructs believers to be devoted to prayer.  If you are like most people, you may be hesitant to add one more thing to your busy schedule.

Prayer isn’t one more thing to add to your list.  Prayer is the new list.

The goal is not to treat prayer as something to add, but to do what you are already doing differently.  Devote yourself to prayer.

  • As you disagree with your spouse, be devoted to prayer.
  • When you experience conflict at work, be devoted to prayer.
  • If grief and depression rob you of joy, be devoted to prayer.

You might need to change some things in your life to make that happen, but for the most part, we just need to start thinking differently.


Paul commands believers to be devoted to prayer (Rom. 12:12; Col. 4:2).  While that sounds like a noble concept, what does that really mean?  What does that type of devotion look like?

He uses the Greek word proskartereo in these verses.  The word is used ten times in the New Testament; five of them are associated with prayer and five are not.  To help us understand this type of prayer devotion, let’s look at how the verb is used each time.  In the verses below, the translation of proskartereo is in bold.

  • Acts 1:14 – All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.
  • Acts 2:42 – And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.
  • Acts 6:4 – But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the preaching ministry.
  • Romans 12:12 – Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.
  • Colossians 4:2 – Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving.

What a call!  What an example!  Being devoted to prayer is a re-orientation of life!  Prayer isn’t a call for help when we are in trouble, it is an all-day connection.

We aren’t going to become more devoted to prayer if we don’t start now!

Stop what you are doing, and pray.  Then figure out how you work and decide how and when you are going to become more devoted to prayer.  Know your tendencies and come up with a game plan and ensure you have some reminders on those days when the desire will be lacking!

Pray, then read the rest.  I will wait.

Don’t Add Prayer to Your List (Unless You Need It On Your List)

To be honest, I have added prayer to my list.  Because I am a list guy.  It helps me focus my day when I have a thousand of distractions going through my head.  I have two reminders that come up daily for me in the area of prayer:

  1. Pray Eph. 5:16 over the day
  2. Pray daily psalm

It reminds me of my need.

I am wired that this type of system helps me prioritize it.  Some of you reading get overwhelmed by one more thing.  You are going to have to learn the balance in making this one more thing and then moving it to the thing that supports all the other things.

On my computer, there are always these apps that are running in the background supporting what I am doing.  They are not always pulled up into clear vision but they are going and running what is in the foreground.

Think of prayer that way.  You may have to start it as a to-do list item (or keep it there), but hopefully, it will move into something you are devoted to and it infiltrates every part of your day.

You have to be devoted to something before you can become proficient in something.