I highly recommend this method of Prayer for you, your family, friends and Church.
When I decided to take God seriously, I thought - I'd better pray - it's what good Christians do. For a few years I religiously came to God with my list of things He needed to do, should do or could do. It was a season of prayer completely focussed on my selfish needs and had little focus on the relationship I could have with God.
Of course there were plenty of moments where I things happened which changed that perspective, altered that way of prayer and really helped me understand that I needed to see God as Father, focus on thankfulness and then through that depth of relationship my prayerlife became more intercession focussed than just prayer.
So what is the difference ? Well Prayer is praying to God what is on your heart. Intercession is praying what is on God's heart.
Over the years, I've realised more and more that God works in partnership, He's interested in the relationship we have with him and what comes out of that.
So how do I start you may ask. It's as simple as putting the 'list' aside and spending some time thanking God for the things you have, the family, the health, the provision, the friends, the work, even the very breath you breathe, the sunrise or sunset you saw.
When you shift your prayer life to thankfulness, you are honouring God for what he has done, rather than blaming God for what he hasn't done. You'll also begin to understand that you'll stand within the Heavenly courtyard, and realise that there might be a bigger picture or plan that God has, and that you are only a part of that.
Early signs of this change in your prayer life as you get deeper and pray God uses you, is a sudden wake up in the middle of the night, with a sense of urgency to pray, for someone, something, some nation. If you want to go deeper, pray for the urgency you feel.
When you do that, for a week, a month, a year, three years, you'll pass the proof test. Like any relationship, God will begin to trust your dedication to pray for the things on His heart.
In my own walk this grew into a regular pattern of early morning prayer. Often waking at 4 or 5am, the first thing in my mind was 'what should I pray for today Lord'. It sounds simple, but when you pray this 1,000 or 3,000 or 5,000 times you learn to focus in on some amazing prayers.
This prayer method is a bit like a Radar, the more a prayer gets to the centre of the radar, the more intense the prayer. I've prayed for people I never knew, but met months later, I've prayed for situations and circumstances all over the world. Occasionally when praying for folk I knew, when the radar hit the bullseye, I had a sense to give them a ring, later that day. After the greetings I would upfront say, I was led to pray for you today - about this specific thing. There wasn't a time that the situation was true, the insight accurate and sometime the restoration swift. God cares for people.
It's hard to condense into a blog, the journey this type of prayer takes you on. It would be true to say, that you can only progress down this part if you are dedicated, determined and plan to serve God in prayer no matter what. It's not about getting rewards, not about getting prayer famous, it's all about hiddenness and spending hours investing in God's kingdom in ways you'll never plan or even think could happen.
There are of course times where this style of prayer is lost to the change of life circumstance. Starting a family, moving home, new job and working hours, ill health etc. all of those things are impactful. Yet, when you delve into this style of prayer, it's like riding a bike again after a few years - you know how to, it's just a case of doing it again.