Insights from "Teach Me to Pray" by Dr. William E. Sangster.
MORNING PRAYER : Devote 10 minutes as a minimum as early as possible in the morning.
ADORATION: Think on the greatness of God--the incredibility of it that He should hear us at all. Does not the wonder of it almost strike you dumb? Praise be to God that God is the God, God is!
THANKSGIVING: Go over your mercies. They are more than you know. Thank Him for
health, home, love, work, friends, books, fun, a night's rest. . . .If you lack health, or home, or sleep, there are other great mercies to mention. Think on them till you glow with gratitude.
DEDICATION: You are dedicated to God already with whole-life vows. Nonetheless, follow the lead of the hymn writer: "That vow renewed shalt thou daily hear." You are not your own. Nothing you have is your own. You are a "given" man or woman. You belong to God.
GUIDANCE: Ask God for guidance all through the day. Fore think and foresee your day with Him. In imagination go over every task which you know the day has in store for you and meet it with Him. Even the things you cannot foresee will be better met because of this discipline.
INTERCESSION: Pray for others. Have a prayer list. Praying without method is not serious prayer. When you get to heaven and realize all that prayer did on this earth, you will be ashamed that you prayed so ill. The casual recollection of people in need, or prayers only for one's dear ones, or prayers too general--common weaknesses as these are--can all be overcome by a prayer list kept up to date and daily used.
PETITION: Some masters of prayer have no place for personal petition. Clement of Alexandria had none. He and many like him were content to leave God to give them what was good. Yet Jesus taught petition--and that is enough. But keep petition in a minor place. Nothing more reveals the juvenility of our prayers than praying with persistence and passion only when we want something for ourselves!
MEDITATION: It is a good thing to conclude prayer, as well as to begin it, with meditation: deep breoding on love, wisdom, beauty, joy, light, peace, power, freedom, and holiness. A hymn may help you here.
EVENING PRAYER: Plan for some minutes at the end of the day.
CONFESSION: Things will come to your mind, which will not be pleasant to recall. A failure here, a bit of posing there; something not strictly truthful, exaggeration; and missed opportunities for doing good. . . . deal with each separately. Itemize your sins. Do not bundle your beastliness or pettiness together in one of those all inclusive phrases, "Forgive me all my sins." Blush over them in their separateness, claiming forgiveness and a greater wariness in the future. Make restitution where you can.
THANKSGIVING: Every evening will bring its occasion for gratitude to God for morning prayers answered and for help through the day. Let the day close with a warm, inward awareness that God has indeed been with you "all through the day."
BEFORE SLEEPING: Commit yourself to God again. "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."