Praying is one of my very favorite things to do (in case you didn’t notice, I mention prayer 35 times in this article). Not only is prayer an incredible thing because of what it produces (answered prayers), it’s also something that is demonstrated all throughout the Bible.
Did you get that? All throughout scripture there are references to prayer and praying. We learn how to pray, what to pray, when to pray, and see numerous examples of prayers. These are all great places to start reading about prayer:
So we know that we’re supposed to pray but how do we put that into practice?
I’m definitely not an expert on prayer but I’m learning to make it a habit. I want to share seven strategies I’ve used to make prayer a bigger part of my daily life. I’ve used each strategy at different times in my life and they’ve proved vital to making prayer a natural part of my day.
- Set an alarm on your phone. I know you have a phone or an iPod or something that makes noise when you want it to. For about a year I set a daily alarm for prayer. In fact, I think during some months in that year, I had more than one alarm go off in my day. Each would have a different person’s name and I would take the time then to bring that person before God and lay down the burdens I knew were around them. Sometimes I prayed for their day and sometimes for their future. I covered things such as their school life, work life, relationships, family, health, and more. I would typically pray for one person a day for a month. Sometimes I would let them know I was praying for them but mostly I would just keep quiet about it. The prayers could be long or short – sometimes they would last a long time as I let the Holy Spirit lead my prayers and sometimes they would be a simple shout-out.
- Pray through the book of Psalms. When I’ve taken time to pray through the Psalms, one Psalm at a time, I’m often amazed how often what I read is relevant to what I am feeling. It’s pretty cool. Each Psalm is easy to pray because it typically won’t be too lengthy (just wait until you get to Psalm 119 which is 176 verses long – I’d suggest that you break that one up into a couple days). I truly think the Psalms are beautiful.
- Find a prayer friend. Whether you work full-time (meet on a coffee break or for an early morning breakfast), go to school (lunch break at school sounds like a great time), are a full-time Mommy (play-date time) or fall under a different category (just make time), there are many opportunities when you can find time to chat. Make it in person, meet over skype, meet on the phone, or meet via email. Find a friend who either already demonstrates a passion for prayer or desires to gain that passion. Start meeting up and praying together. Send texts to each other a few times a week or month to make sure that you’re constantly in prayer. The Bible tells us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Having a friend who is praying for your prayer life will lead to answered prayers – because you’ll start praying! Hooray for that!
- Make prayer associations (as in choose a place where prayer is going to happen every time you are there). For me, my car is definitely a place of prayer and worship. I sometimes dance to the radio as I drive, but most often when I drive by myself that time is Jesus time. You’ll find me either worshiping God through song, silence, or spoken prayer in my car. The same could be with you and your morning coffee, your afternoon drive home, your make-up routine, your baby’s diaper table; wherever or whatever you choose. I’ve personally been working on making my shower a place of prayer. I know that sounds odd but honestly, I want to live out the verses from 1 Thessalonians that I listed above – to pray without ceasing, even if I’m just washing my hair or shaving my legs.
- Pray through the ABC’s. This is my current personal favorite. I love it. When I’m on a long drive or just need to fill some time I pray through the ABC’s. I start with A and move through to Z. I say the letter and let the Holy Spirit give me a word or phrase. Sometimes it’s silly. For example the letter “x” usually turns into “eXclamation marks” – thank you Lord that I have so many reasons in my life to use an “!” mark!!! Other times it’s a request. For example, when I get to the letter D I’ll pray for my Dad’s health, his marriage to my Mom, his continued renewal and passion in faith, and for Jesus to remain his joy, or whatever else comes to mind. The time is often spent laughing with Jesus as I sound out the letter, crying with Jesus as He brings things to mind, and laying down the burdens that surround my world. Sometimes I use this technique by only giving thanks for things—thank you Jesus for “J” jokes, “K” kindred spirit friends, “L” lots of reasons to have praise itself. You can use these techniques whichever way you like, but it’s a fun way to make sure you spend a solid amount of time in prayer.
- Tell people you’ll pray for them – and then do it on the spot. This one is great. We all live busy lives so it can be hard to remember everything you’ve promised people you’ll pray for. However you can pray for them in the moment they mention needing prayer, and then ask God to bring them to mind. I’ve made it a habit to pray immediately for people. It makes it a lot easier to remember to pray for them later when I’ve already spoken words to Jesus for them.
- Ask Jesus to help you. This one is a necessary part of prayer. Ask Jesus to help you love prayer. God always honors the requests of those who desire more of Him! He wants to be known by you:
“Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)
I hope these are helpful tools for you. Have any tips for the rest of us? Leave a comment!
Until next time,