Rarely do I meet a Christian that doesn't want to improve their prayer life.
If great intentions made prayer warriors, the church would be dynamic. But the truth is prayer is difficult.
Not difficult in the "how to," but staying consistent is challenging.
One reason, similar to my article on improving your Bible reading, is the spiritual battle that happens every time we pray.
Satan is well aware of the power of prayer and well-experienced at distracting and discouraging God's children.
Satan isn't the only one to blame for our inconsistencies. We also are experts at self-sabotaging our prayer life.
Well, mainly by not establishing good routines in our life to promote a healthy prayer life.
Here are four simple ideas that helped me avoid self-sabotage last year and might help improve your prayer life in 2023.
Find A Time That Works For You
"Well, duh, Brad. You started a blog to tell the world that."
That's the soundtrack playing in my head as I type, but let me explain.
By nature, we as humans can tend to be people that mimic others. So, if we hear of someone we admire praying at 5:00 AM, that's where we begin. But 5:00 AM may not be your "sweet spot."
Your "sweet spot" is when you can be distraction-free and totally focus on God.
At this point, the type of prayer I'm talking about is your personal time with God. The Bible is clear we ought to always be in the spirit of prayer, but when can you have some one-on-one time with God without interruptions?
When is your sweet spot?
Pray Out Loud
Have you ever tried to pray out loud?
I've found praying out loud while driving to work or walking at lunch to be an impactful time of prayer.
It's even turned emotional at times, which got awkward when people drove up beside me.
But, for me, this helps keep my easily distracted mind focused.
I've found praying out loud helps me articulate how I'm actually feeling about a situation.
It may not be for everyone, but give it a try. Turn the radio off and talk to God.
Write Out Your Prayers
Another idea, somewhat opposite of the previous, is to write out your prayers.
Some like to write out their prayers word for word. It helps them stay focused and gives them something to look back on.
I don't write my prayers word for word, but I've found it helpful to make lists.
I like to make a list within my journal. This year I tried a weekly list and a monthly list.
Here are a few questions I found helpful in planning my list.
- What am I worried about right now?
- What have others asked me to pray for? (Tip: I'd try to remember to ask them about it later in the month.)
- What is coming up in my schedule that may cause stress?
Some like an ongoing list, but I've found a fresh start each week or even each month helps me reflect on what God has done in the previous month and urges me to examine my areas of concern for the next.
Add A Variety to Your Prayers
Prayer, at its core, is asking, but there are different forms of talking to God.
I like to begin my personal prayer time with a simple question, "God, is there any sin between you and me?"
This question is a form of prayer we call "confession."
In my simple mind, this is removing anything that would hinder my prayer coming before the throne of God.
Here are a few other forms of prayer.
- Praise and Thanksgiving: Praising God for Who He is and thanking Him for what he has done.
- Intercessory prayer: Praying for others. Listen to the needs of others and spend time in prayer for them.
Many books have been written on prayer. One blog post of 750 words isn't exhaustive on the subject, but my goal is to stir your heart to become a person of prayer.
If you want to hear more in-depth about how these four ideas have helped me, you can listen to this podcast, where I share more detail about my prayer routines.
If you'd like to read more on prayer, here are a few books I've read within the last few years. These are affiliate links with Amazon, but I have personally read them.
These are the first books that popped into my head about prayer. I have many others if you are interested.
- E.M Bounds on Prayer (A Classic)
- Fresh Wind Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala
- The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
I'd love to hear ideas that have helped you be consistent in prayer.
Subscribe and leave me a comment below.