This article was originally published on 6/22/2016 at ihopkc.org and has been reposted here with permission.

Our nation and world is in crisis, and if you’re reading this, then chances are you know that prayer is of paramount importance in this hour.

You probably also know that extended times of prayer can be hard—even Jesus had to wake his disciples up from time to time.

Over the last 17 years at the International House of Prayer, we have learned a lot about extended prayer as we continue, by God’s grace, to pray 24/7, 365 days per year. Two of the biggest points are that prayer is easier when we know the meeting’s format and that prayer can be enjoyable.

Using a Prayer Model
Throughout scripture, there are different models of prayer. Jesus taught His disciples how to make a daily prayer (Matthew 6:9–13), and we get a peek into his personal prayer life with the Father in John 15–17. King David had a robust community of intercessors, singers, and musicians as he pursued the “one thing I have desired” (Psalm 27:4), which is detailed in 1 Chronicles. As we look at the prayers in scripture, a few key points emerge to help us in our prayer meetings.

Gazing on God’s Beauty
As we gaze on God’s beauty through studying His Word and meditating on what scripture says, our hearts become alive and connected with our Father. Like in any relationship, the more you know each other, the easier it is to carry on a conversation. We are not petitioning a distant God hoping and praying that He hears us; instead, we are confident that our Father not only hears us but will answer (John 5:14–15).

Adding Corporate Worship Music
Worship ushers us into God’s presence in a way that is often difficult in a quiet corporate setting. Whether you use pre-recorded worship songs, stream our Prayer Room, or have a full worship team, worship opens our hearts to prayer. Music helps keep the fire of intercession burning day and night, sets our focus on the Lord, and builds connection in the body of Christ worldwide, as we’ve seen from people globally using our 24/7 webstream. It still takes work and discipline to pray, for sure, but we’ve found that a few hours of prayer can fly by when we combine intercession, worship music, and a focus on God’s beauty.

Structure and Leadership
Many of us with a burden to pray have experienced prayer meetings that lacked order. Maybe we weren’t sure what was happening, who’s turn it was to pray, what the topic was, who would finish or close, etc. Having an established structure for the meeting and an identified leader or team eliminates those questions and helps the flow of prayer. The leader is really serving the room by guiding the time according to the agreed upon model. This facilitates unity in the room and limits distractions, making prayer more enjoyable.

Scripture Based Prayers
Pray-reading the Word of God and incorporating this concept into group prayer sets a standard to leave personal biases out and prevent pray-preaching. The Body of Christ is diverse and often has different opinions, but praying from scripture, especially the apostolic prayers, is an easy and safe way to bring believers from all cultures and walks of life together in a short time.

We Must Pray
It’s clear that in this hour the Church must pray, and we need a strategy to go deep with the Lord as we intercede for our nation and the governments of the earth. The need to pray for our families and communities, as well as our own hearts, is only increasing. As the Lord raises up prayer all across the nations, the International House of Prayer is committed to serving and equipping the Body of Christ to pray, and we invite you to join us!

What is your greatest struggle in prayer right now?