How do you create a structured and spontaneous prayer life?

When I pray, I fall into one of two ditches.

On one hand, when I try to be spontaneous in my prayer, I get distracted. In the age of the smartphone, our minds don’t know what to do with open-ended time. Most of us can’t fill silence with prayer because our minds are hardwired to seek distraction. Our thoughts wander and we find it difficult to maintain a conscious stream of prayer.

The other ditch is rote prayer. I used to have a list of prayer items I would go through each morning. However, over time this list became hollow to me. I prayed the same thing every day, and eventually, the words lost their meaning.

Enter the Prayer Matrix

Several months ago I realized a need to revitalize my prayer life. I was swinging between overly rote time with God and unstructured, unfruitful time in prayer. So I created a prayer matrix.

I started by taking the long list of prayer requests I had created.

I broke this list into many categories—family, friends, church, youth ministry, personal, martial, and many more. These categories became my vertical column.

Most of us can’t fill silence with prayer because our minds are hardwired to seek distraction.

For each point, I listed five prayer requests I regularly lift up. For example, under family, I included my parents, my three sisters, and my brother-in-law. These prayer requests filled my horizontal rows.

Across the top, I put the five weekdays. This strategy allows me to use Saturday to make up for one day a week if needed. Sunday could be more contemplative.

To complete it, I included an “everyday” row on top with prayer points I counted too important to pray every day (points like “Thank God,” “Confess sin” and “Receive forgiveness”).

On the bottom, I included a note to end with the Lord’s Prayer.

The prayer matrix model really has given me great benefits. Using it daily has allowed me to consistently pray every week for every area of my life.

I encourage you to try the prayer matrix for yourself. It’s easy to create yourself, but if you’d like a template, you can sign up for my weekly updates below and I’ll send it immediately to your inbox (and if you’re already signed up, it should be in your inbox already!).

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