Holy Spirit, Prayer Coach

Praying man

“Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?’” (Mark 14:37, NKJV).

When you read this question that Jesus asked Peter, what is your inner response? Can you identify with Peter? Sometimes, we as Christians carry around a vaguely guilty feeling about not praying more. I think that sometimes, too, believers find the idea of a dedicated prayer life so daunting that they give up before they begin.

If you wish that you had a better prayer life, but don’t know how to start, Holy Spirit is passionately committed to training you. The burden is on Him. All you need to do is show up for class. If you will set aside time to be with Him, He is bursting with desire to teach you how to pray.

One of the keys to growth is to be pushed beyond what we already know how to do. Any excellent schoolteacher knows that he needs to challenge his students, and yet create goals that they will be able to achieve. Our Heavenly Teacher knows this better than anyone!

He will set gentle goals with you. If, right now, you have a meager to nonexistent devotional life, He is not cracking the whip. He is not expecting you to acquire rapid proficiency. He will begin with you where you are, and tenderly lead you to the next step.

And what of His challenge to Peter? Let’s not forget that, at that point in the story, Peter had already been in Jesus’ intensive discipleship program for over three years. In his case, praying for an hour would have been appropriate to his learning level. I have to imagine that when he started out, his attention span might not have lasted for more than five minutes in prayer.

So be encouraged. Start where you are. Let Holy Spirit challenge you to grow from there. Not sure what the next time increment goal should be? Ask Him. He will make it clear to you. “Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 16:24b, NIV).

Once you set yourself to begin, you may find your mind immediately wandering. Don’t let that discourage you. Merely realize that your schooling in prayer has begun. Gently, without any condemnation, redirect your thoughts to the Lord, as often as you need to. And instead of feeling like the mind-wandering moments were wasted time, view them as part of the training process.

You have the most kind, devoted, enthusiastic, patient, loving Teacher that you could ever ask for, in Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “[He] will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you. Peace I leave with you…” (John 14:26-27, NET). Holy Spirit’s prayer training floods us with peace.

He is so eager for you to come. He longs to spend time with you. You know how when you’re with someone you love and enjoy, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing? As long as you can be together, your heart rejoices. That’s how Holy Spirit feels about you. He doesn’t have any unreachable expectations for your prayer time; He just wants to be with you.

A lifetime of growing richly in prayer lies before you. So by all means, dearly beloved child, don’t give up before you start!

“One of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’” (Luke 11:1, NKJV).

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Have you experienced Holy Spirit directing you in your prayers? If so, what is that like?

25 thoughts on “Holy Spirit, Prayer Coach

      1. It’s wonderful to “meet” you, Lhynn! What a beautiful spelling of your name — I’d never seen it before. Do you and Tony both occasionally write on here? Or would it be safe to always address you as Lhynn?

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  1. As a Catholic deacon, I am required to pray from the Liturgy of the Hours twice per day. No complaints, but since it is required, it sometimes can feel a bit mechanical, if I’m not careful. Beyond that, I have strongly felt His urging to slow down at some point every day and be aware of the beauty of the world in which we live. For example, I’ve just come back inside from enjoying a gentle, cool breeze heralding the arrival of rain. Such moments can become profoundly prayerful. — Mike

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    1. Hi Mike, what an important role you have as a deacon. I want to encourage you to ask the Lord to show you something fresh in those prayers you pray every day. I believe that He will show you something fresh every time. Maybe in your own time find some other prayers in the scripture and start praying those also in your alone time. What I personally have experienced in my own prayer life is that when things start to become mechanical or feel that way, I ask the Father for fresh revelation.

      Often that is just what I need. Imagine the people before who did not have the whole Word of God, they only had a few things to go on also. I believe it was God Himself who became so alive to them that it kept the every day routine fresh and new!

      Bless you my brother in the role you have. Keep blessing the people and the Lord with those prayers, you are making a difference!

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      1. Thank you for your kind words. I am but a tool in the hands of the Divine Gardener (aren’t we all!)!
        Fun to consider these questions on a Thursday evening, as on Friday mornings my schedule allows an additional 90 minutes with God in a quiet church. I so look forward to this period of spiritual reading and prayer. God is good, yes?

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      2. Yes he certainly is, may your time tomorrow be like David who when spending time with His Lord has the most beaut duo revelation of Him. Be blessed.

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    2. I am not familiar with the Liturgy of the Hours — is it something I could read on the Internet? I am curious about that. Also curious, about how long does it take you to do so?

      And wow, that moment outside enjoying that breeze sounds exquisite. What a special thing He has been emphasizing to you 🙂

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      1. Yes. Google ibreviary, and it should get you there. As far as time, it was cumbersome at first as I got used to the format. Now, it can be done in 15 minutes or so, depending on what messages God may sneak into the readings for the day!

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  2. Jennifer, please excuse me if I have shared this experience in walking with the Lord before. It was and is one of the greatest turning points in my life and believe it is strongly connected to what you are saying.
    After walking for years with the Lord, a time came where I rose early one morning and called out to God, Father, is there not more that I need in my life to serve You and reflect the love of Jesus. The immediate word was “tithe” but in days to follow, He clearly spoke to my spirit that the most valued thing in my life was the TIME He had given me! I then vowed to give 10% of 24 hours each day to be alone in His presence, for study and meditation on His word, prayer and communion with Him and silence, to be still and know He is God. Since that day [with rare excepting] I have awoke, with out any assistance at 430 am and fulfilled [without a sense of requirement] for 2.4 hours. This has changed my life forever!
    This past two weeks have been painful and has taken it’s toll. Previous physical infirmities have overwhelmed me- extreme sciatia and continued direticulities along with other dehabilitating illness. I continue praying for miraculous intervention, divine discernment and wisdom to do in the natural what the Spirit leads me to and finally knowing that God works all things to His Glory forever. I have been unable to work at my new job, have not left my room in days, have prayer worriers lifting me daily. I cry often in desperation and call out to the Lord to shorten this suffering , that I may declare it is OVER!
    In closing, I must say [as David did] our GOD IS GOOD AND PERFECT IN ALL HIS WAYS. He has made me able to not break my vow of time alone with Him but has only MULTIPLIED IT! In this I rejoice and am filled with peace and the love of Christ Jesus. Amen. Len Wisniewski.

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    1. Wow so beautiful and full of testimony, thank you for sharing. Even if you might think it was again. I had never reas it before. What a great thought of giving 10% of your time to the Lord. Like dedicated in the Word and His presence kind of time! I agree with you that when I do this my whole perspective on my day changes.

      I pray for His great comfort over you in these days. May His Spirit be so present lifting you up in these moments. You are a héroe of the faith and I pray you will soon experience a release of what you are going through.

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    2. I am so very sorry for your suffering, my brother. Lifting you up to Jesus right now, asking Him to comfort, encourage, strengthen, and heal you. You are so very precious to Him! Holy Spirit, surround Len with Your love, power, and peace right now in Jesus’ name! (And I am rejoicing with you for His faithfulness, drawing you unto Himself in such a precious way and with such a wonderful revelation!)

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  3. God the Holy Spirit be for me this day the Leading, Guiding, indwelling Coach Who will pray through me when necessary and bring to my heart and life the desire for stillness and prayerfulness. A-men. Blessings and Love to all.

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  4. Hi Jennifer,
    Isn’t that an amazing and intriguing part of the scripture. As I think about what went on right before that moment, which was the last supper, Peter saying he will never disown Jesus and yet here he is, falling asleep cause I can only imagine how exhausting this one meal with Jesus would have been emotionally.

    I know there are moments where the situations of life, even those in my ‘communion’ with the Lord are making me exhausted and really the discouragement can put you ‘to sleep’ in the moments you need to be most awake.

    Watch….

    Oh Jesus, through Holy Spirit teach me how to ‘watch’. What does it mean for me to keep watch, to look around me, to pay attention to the things that are happening so I can ‘pray’.

    I agree with you, Holy Spirit is our teacher and what a wonderful teacher His indeed to show us in the way in prayer even when we get tired and weary, the main question in the verse was ‘to keep watch’ first.

    I do ask as well that He would teach me how to ‘watch’. Seems there is a lesson in prayer already right here.

    If we know how to keep watch we will know how to pray. It was not ‘pray’ and keep watch’

    It was watch for an hour, then it was watch and pray so you don’t fall into temptation…

    Wow what an interesting lesson isn’t it…

    We fall into temptation cause we are needing to learn to ‘watch’…

    Thanks Jennifer for a rich moment of pondering on scripture!

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    1. Those are some deep, powerful thoughts He shared with you, Mar! Thank you, I really appreciate you sharing them, so very much. It reminds me of Jesus saying that He could only do what He “saw” the Father doing. In order to “see,” He had to be watching! Such a critical principle in prayer — to first tune into what the Father is doing, through Holy Spirit, and then move into that flow! I, too, am struck by what He pointed out to you. Thank You, Lord!

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