How can we get back to a vibrant prayer life during life’s busyness? How can we get back to truly engaging with God: when we fought through the distractions so that the praises, the needs of others, and our burdens came freely to our mind and we prayed in the Spirit?
I want to share with you ten practical ideas to stimulate our times in prayer. If we are honest, most admit that a consistent life of prayer can be a struggle to sustain. But it need not be that way since prayer is truly a vital aspect of our walk of faith.
- Meditate of the greatness of God. I am convinced that all our life decisions are bound to our understanding of God and His word. That is, if we have a proper view of the Savior and His sufficient word, it will properly motivate us to in every life choice. This is particularly true when it comes to prayer. An expansive view of God gained by meditation on His word should motivate the believer to spend more time with Him. We must be like David, whose spiritual priority was to “behold the beauty of God” and gain strength for life’s challenges (Psa 27:4).
- Increase your knowledge of prayer by reading books and listening to sermons on the subject. Spend a time of focused study on prayer and allow it to inform how you might pray more effectively. Whether it is a classic like, Henry’s The Method of Prayer or a modern treatment like, Henderson’s Transforming Prayer, make the commitment to increase your knowledge and pray that the knowledge will transform into commitment.
- Develop a tender heart by praying through tragic news. You can do this throughout your day when you encounter things like receiving an amber alert, seeing a car crash, or reading about current events. Often people complain that it is difficult to focus during prayer. This is a practical way to focus and develop a compassionate heart for those in need.
- Find a place of solace. Have a place where you can go and pray and be quiet before the Lord. Jesus would often go to the mountain to pray away from the crowds. I often retreat to my backyard with my noise-canceling headphones to find that quiet place to engage with God in prayer.
- Fight the wandering mind with lists, pictures, and notes. There are times for prayer that should be orderly—have the faces of people and their needs in front of you and methodically prayer though those needs. Personally, I use the Echo Prayer Manager app to help me keep track of what I want to pray for. I stopped journaling prayer requests because I wanted to have access to edit and update easily. And, I dreaded the thought of losing that journal.
- Enlist a prayer partner. This should be someone you can pray with and someone who can keep you accountable in your prayer life.
- Develop the habit of praying scripture. If you need help developing this habit, consider Donald Whitney’s Praying the Bible. Learn to read and pray through the Word of God. The double blessing is apparent. Read the word and thank God for what you are reading, ask for grace to walk in the promises and commands from the text, praise Him for attributes captured by the author, and confess the sins you read that grieve the heart of God.
- Introduce fasting as a way to seek the Lord on a new level. Fasting is a lost discipline in the church today. It is a way to focus attention on special needs or seek the Lord in a concentrated manner. When you fast, you are giving up physical sustenance for spiritual focus.
- Start small. Commit to a short amount of time in prayer and allow the experience of praying to God to be an aroma, and then the Spirit of God to convict and to encourage you to grow your prayer life.
- Be consistent and try dividing prayer into sessions. This will help you work up to longer times spent in prayer. It’s better to start off consistent than with initial lofty goals that eventually die out. Try following the Daniel’s model (Dan 6:10, 13) by dividing your prayer time into three sessions during the day. Be consistent as you retrain your spiritual muscles for more intimate communication with your Heavenly Father.
Read more from TMS faculty on prayer: