The Daily Prayer Project

This page gives a brief description of the origin and purpose 
of The Daily Prayer Project and an outline of how the five week 
project should be carried out.

The Daily Prayer Project

The book, Contending for the Habit of Daily Prayer, Revised and Expanded, was born out of a desire to help people establish a meaningful, dynamic prayer time in the Secret Place. In fact, it began as a program entitled, 21 Days to Prayer. Every week, a small group of people came together and answered the basic questions discussed in Chapter 4. Each person in the group, including the leader, had to honestly answer the following questions:

1. Did you pray every day last week? (If not, what hindered you?)

When you DID pray…

2. Did you pray at a set time every day?

3. Did you pray in a set place every day?

4. Was intimacy with Jesus the priority of your prayer time?

Then the group would discuss various aspects of the prayer life, including obstacles to prayer, in order to spur one another on to an established, meaningful, dynamic prayer life.

21 Days to Form a Habit?

Although it is widely touted that one can form a habit in just twenty-one days, it is also widely reported that such a claim is not true. In fact, it seems that the myth of the twenty-one days started with a man named Maxwell Maltz. But, as it turns out, what he said was it took a minimum of twenty-one days to form a habit. Other, more scientific research seems to say that it takes, on average, sixty-six days.[1] The truth seems to be somewhere in the middle.

The fact is, based on my experience, you can form new habits in twenty-one days, but you can lose them in about half the time: especially when there is an enemy working against you!

Suggested Use

While there are many tracks you can take with The Daily Prayer Project, the most effective way to use Contending for the Habit of Daily Prayer, Revised and Expanded is in a five week small group of six people, each of whom admit to finding it difficult to maintain a meaningful, daily prayer time.[2] The group should adhere to the following schedule:

Week 1

Read Casting the Vision  (Chapters 1-4)

Read APPENDIX 1

In Week 1, you will nail down the basics of the vision cast in the book of the importance of prayer, the necessity of praying every day at a set time and in a set place, and the priority of intimacy with Jesus.

It is assumed that each student will have read the prescribed pages before coming to the group.

Students should be attempting to put the principles into practice immediately even though the accountability questions won’t begin to be asked until the Week 3 group session.

Week 2 [3]

Do a Quick Review of Week 1

Read Transformation (Chapters 5-7)

After a quick recap of the principles laid down in Week 1, the focus turns to the second part of the book, Transformation. This section is all about understanding the process of personal transformation.

Weeks 3-5[4]

Begin Asking the Questions

Read Contending (Chapters 8-18)

Read APPENDICES 3 & 4

In Week 3, the process of contending for daily prayer begins in earnest. The session opens up with each person in the group answering honestly all of the accountability questions (see Chapter 4). The purpose is not to feel guilt or superiority. Rather, the faithful and transparent asking and answering of the accountability questions will help people recognize their priorities and obstacles later on, in the midst of the coming week.

[NOTE: it is important that the group sessions not be allowed to become therapy sessions. This can easily happen when people start addressing the obstacles they feel are hindering their prayer lives. Each person should be encouraged to invite Jesus into their difficult situations. At this point, the various topics dealt with in Part 3 of the book can become very helpful.]

Repeat As Necessary

It is strongly suggested that the members of the group be encouraged to take the class again, and from time to time. I personally have benefited from leading the group several times because it helps to remind me of important truths and to make a re-commitment to its principles.

[1] James Clear, “How long does it take to actually form a new habit? (Backed by Science)” http://jamesclear.com /new- habit; see also Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics, (New York: Prentice-Hall, 1960).
[2] It is important that the class be limited to those who wrestle with maintaining a daily prayer time. It is also important that the students agree with the principles from the outset and that no student be allowed to debate or take away from their importance. Of course, the leader of the group and each group member should be convinced of the Biblical soundness of the material. But once accepted, the focus should be on letting the process work.
[3] If necessary, an extra week can be added after Week 2 in order to ensure that the foundations of the vision for prayer and an understanding of the process of change are clear.
[4] If necessary, an extra week can be added at the end in order to cement the fragile new prayer habit and to recap the overall experience.