3 Thoughts to Help Your Prayer Life
My wife and I spend time nearly every day in prayer together. We believe prayer is important for all Christians to participate in. We are all instructed to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17), and to pray for others (Matt. 5:44; 1 Thess. 5:25). The clear, honest truth is that a Christian that doesn’t pray is not really a Christian. If you exclude prayer to God, you exclude relationship with God.
Because of this, I want to be helpful to those who want to get better at prayer.
Needless to say, I’m still a work in progress. I certainly don’t have it all figured out. Furthermore, I’ve been praying to God that he would continue to teach me how to pray. But I have seen God answer prayers, and we have been consistent in communing with God. With that being said, my hope is to be transparent about a couple things regarding my prayer life in order to encourage and inspire you.
All Christians should be praying. It’s definitely true that none of us can say we pray enough. We all feel the need to pray more when we examine how much time we spend in prayer. What I want to exhort you in is not necessarily committing to 6 hours of prayer each morning, but taking a real step in deeper intimacy with God. We could talk about many things regarding prayer; however, for this post I want to share only three quick helpful thoughts…
1. Write out your prayers.
During the early stages of my relationship with God, I got easily distracted when I tried to pray. My mind drifted off thinking about what to eat later, how much homework I had to do, if I paid rent or not, or something else would pop into mind. Writing out prayers (some call it journaling) was extremely helpful. I have notebooks full of prayers because writing them out kept my mind focused. It’s also nice to eventually look back and see what I prayed for in previous years.
I still journal prayers sometimes, especially in the mornings. Grabbing a pen and paper is better for me in the mornings so I stay awake! In our home we usually wait until after coffee to head into the prayer room anyways. We like to wake up first. But no matter the time of day, writing out prayers has been helpful for me.
2. Pray the Scriptures.
“Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples’,” (Luke 11:1).
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you,” (John 15:7).
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions,” (James 4:3).
I believe that if we do not pray in alignment with Scripture, we are praying wrongly. We must pray in accordance to Scripture, and also literally pray Scripture.
People make requests to God in prayer that he clearly answers in the Bible. For example, many times I’ve heard the phrase, “God be with us today.” But if you think about it, it’s not really a request he could answer twice. Hebrews 13:5 reveals God saying “I will never leave you or forsake you.” He is with us. Do you see what I mean? We are possessed by God and he possesses us once and for all. Now I understand that a context is needed for a prayer, that if someone feels far from God in a moment they may pray something like this again and again to remind themselves that God is in and with them. However, that’s more like talking to yourself.
Praying direct Bible verses is something else I do. If you don’t know what to pray, open the Bible, listen, and talk with God about what you’re reading. Read a verse and ask God to do a work in and through you in relation to what you just read. This is pretty self-explanatory. As you read his Word, talk with him, be transparent, give him thanks, and make requests known.
3. You won’t ever regret praying.
This third and final thought about prayer is a little different than the other two thoughts. This isn’t really something practical to take away, but hope it helps.
Think about this: How many times have you scheduled time to pray, followed through with it, and left thinking it was a waste of time? Hopefully never. If you know ahead of time that a certain activity will leave you encouraged, why not make time for it?
It is true that no dude can say he prays enough, but each and every disciple of Jesus prays. It’s good fruit. It’s a command. It’s helpful. It’s a gift. It’s life-giving. This is how we experience the power of God, by praying rightly and seeing him answer.
Now, I’ve thrown out three thoughts to help your prayer life. These thoughts have greatly helped me in my walk with God. So much more can be said… Let’s talk. Reply here with some thoughts you have on prayer that we can benefit from. Hopefully I can write another post on prayer later. As you intercede for others in your church, at your workplace, family, and friends, pray also for me. Add me to your list if you will. The fool says he doesn’t need prayer, so pray for me! May God richly bless you.