Over the years, as I’ve prayed for my own heart, I’ve accumulated seven Ds that I have found helpful. Maybe you’ll find them helpful as well.
With seven you can use them a number of ways. You might choose one D per day. Or you could choose one D as a theme for a week and pray through these every seven weeks. You’ll also note that I have a verse for each prayer. But over time, as you pray, more verses will come to mind, and you might find it helpful to collect them so they are right at hand as the Spirit leads.
“Whatever it takes” prayers help us press toward and express childlike trust in the Father.
I begin each prayer with the phrase “whatever it takes, Lord” because the Bible teaches us to be bold and wholehearted in our praying, not reticent. I also use the phrase because it tests my heart. How much do I want God and all he promises to be for me in Jesus? Do I really want true joy enough to ask for my Father’s loving discipline to wean me from joy-stealing sin? And how much do I trust him? Do I really believe that he will only give me what is good when I ask in faith (Luke 11:11–13)? “Whatever it takes” prayers help me press toward and express childlike trust in the Father.
Delight: Whatever it takes, Lord, give me delight in you as the greatest treasure of my heart.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
Desires: Whatever it takes, Lord, align the desires of my heart with yours.
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9–10)
Dependence: Whatever it takes, Lord, increase my awareness of my dependence on you in everything so that I will live continually by faith.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Discernment: Whatever it takes, Lord, teach me to discern good from evil through the rigorous exercise of constant practice.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)
Desperation: Whatever it takes, Lord, keep me desperate for you because I tend to wander when I stop feeling my need for you.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. (Psalm 119:67)
Discipline: Whatever it takes, Lord, discipline me for my good so that I may share your holiness and bear the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:10–11)
Diligence: Whatever it takes, Lord, increase my resolve to do your will with all diligence.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15–16)
These are just suggestions. God may lead you to pray in other ways. But however he teaches us, whatever means we find helpful, may God cause us all to grow in faith until we pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and never lose heart (Luke 18:1).