Have An Incredible Sweet Hour Of Prayer

If I told you that you could take an hour with your best friend over lunch (or maybe a cocktail!), would that sound like a good offer?  

Or would you turn down the offer thinking it would be a bore, a chore, or that you would not have enough conversation to get you through the hour?

My best friend, Cindy (the other Sunshine!) and I try to meet for breakfast at least once a week.  It is always on the calendar for Friday mornings, but well, you know how life goes . . . we get it in, but maybe not always as planned.  But we do fit it in because, even though we get together weekly, we still have so much to share.

And that is how it should be with prayer!

Excited and worth the time & effort to get together with God

In 1845 William Walford, a blind preacher in England, wrote the famous hymn called "Sweet Hour of Prayer".   Though Scripture never gives an exact length of time to spend in prayer, many set this hour time frame as their goal in spending time with God.   Others however I am sure are thinking, "Really, an hour spent in prayer."


A friend of mine calls this, "Praying in Bulk."  I call it, "A Luxury and A Discipline."


Sometimes I am like Moses on the mountain, wanting to stay in prayer for 40 days.  It is just such a treat, a real  luxury to get to spend "Quiet Time" with God.  Other days, bringing myself to a time of prayer is like picking up a dumbbell.  I just don't want to do it, too hard to find the time to fit in my schedule.


1.  Find A Regular Spot

I have 3 regular spots that I use for my prayer time:  A club chair in our Family Room, a sofa on the Sun Porch, and a rocking chair on our Front Porch.  These are the places that I have found are most inviting to me (quiet, nature around, places to put my materials).

2.  Have Materials To Assist You


Here I have my Bible, my calendar, a journal, devotional, and writing tools.

I also keep other devotionals that I rotate (to keep the prayer time more interesting), a bunch of colored pens and pencils that I use when I "Pray In Color" (more on that in 2 weeks), a worship book of praise songs, and a large print Bible that I use strictly for reading versus studying.

3.  Have A Plan, But Have No Plan

This is where you go from merely spending an hour in prayer to having an INCREDIBLE SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER.

To have a plan is to know you will devote the time to come.  It is to follow some basic guidelines to move you through the hour.

To not have a plan is to be flexible enough to allow the Holy Spirit to lead you through the hour.  To not have a plan is to be willing to practice different disciplines when you come for prayer.  

Basic guidelines consist of:  a.  making a transition from the world, its thoughts, and activities, to the world of "other", the unknown, where we lean on God and not ourselves, where we lean on what is unseen versus what is seen. We do this through sitting still in silence, through meditating and breathing exercises, through worship in music, through praise.  b.  reading the Bible or devotionals to transform our minds.  c.  taking actions such as following a study, praying for specifics, or just listening with anticipation for God's voice.

I find my most INCREDIBLE sweet hours of prayer come as a result of having a plan, and not having a plan.  I come to my special spot.  I get still.  I empty my mind of all that is troubling me, and then I wait for what I feel is God's direction.

Sweet Hour of Prayer Journal

Maybe I will feel led to read a devotion.  Maybe I will pick up a journal and record things that are on my heart.  Sometimes I will unload my burdens asking for God's help and then I will readjust my calendar.  Sometimes I will grab my Praying in Color journal and start to meditate and pray as I color.  

Other times, I will read a couple of chapters of the Bible or do my Bible Study homework.

The point is not the specifics of what you are doing, but that you are doing something.  The something you are doing is spending time with God.  It is not wasted time, it is GODLY time!  And, it can change every time you come.


Just like when I meet for my weekly breakfast with Cindy, I come anticipating the expected and the unexpected.  I come knowing that she and I will have regular topics of conversation, but there will also be conversations that I can not anticipate.  I come knowing there will be the unexpected in where we sit, the mood of the day, the topics to be discussed, whether others will be part of our conversation, or sometimes if one will need to speak more than the other.

The unexpected is what makes our time together so rich.  But it is also good to have the expected.  This is what brings about safety to want to return.

The lyrics of the hymn "Sweet Hour of Prayer" (see below) give us an idea of what we can expect in an hour of prayer.  

*We can come away from a world of cares

*We can make all our wants and wishes known to God

*We can find relief from our distress and grief

*We can find release from the tempter's snare

*We can find joy and bliss

*We can trust that God's wings can handle our petitions 

*We can know that God desires to bless us


There are a couple of points to ponder if you find your time in prayer is not so "sweet."  The first is that you might be bored, restless, feeling like you don't know what to do.  The solution:  add some of the above materials to your prayer time, ask others what books and tools have helped them.  

It is also possible that you feel guilty about spending an hour in prayer rather than doing something "productive."  Whenever, I feel this way, God always puts on my heart that this time is GODLY time, it is not a waste.  I even have journaled in my Bible (yes, I write all in my Bible!), at Psalm 46:10, "The world will never get what it means to be still, but they crave the food it produces."  Don't ever feel guilty about time before God; He will redeem the time.

You may need to start with a 1/2 hour of sweet prayer! Or even just 15 minutes!  Any good relationship takes time to build.  Just keep spending time, trying new avenues to share.  The more bear your soul, the more you will want to share.

One other possible reason for not experiencing anything during a time of prayer is that you do not have the Holy Spirit living within you.  The Spirit within us is the means to talk to God.  If you think that might be the case for you, check back next week when I discuss "How To Know God Is Real."

Until then, I will be praying for you to discover an 


Words:  William Walford, 1845; Music: William B. Bradbury

“Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
that calls me from a world of care,
and bids me at my Father’s throne
make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
my soul has often found relief,
and oft escaped the tempter’s snare
by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
the joys I feel, the bliss I share
of those whose anxious spirits burn
with strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
where God my Savior shows his face,
and gladly take my station there,
and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer! 

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
thy wings shall my petition bear
to him whose truth and faithfulness
engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since he bids me seek his face,
believe his word, and trust his grace,
I’ll cast on him my every care,
and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!”

© margaret young