What to do when you feel like your prayers are hitting the ceiling and you’re just going through the motions.
Prayer can be hard work. But it is also a joyful and rewarding practice. As we continue to deepen our life of prayer, we’ll find that we crave it when the busyness of life has edged it out.
FOR AN EFFECTIVE PRAYER LIFE, HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL TIPS
1. Designate a consistent time and place. Obviously, there are exceptions. Some of us travel and can’t always be in the same place at the same time every day. But consistency will help aid in the routine.
2. Use a journal. Sometimes I like to write my prayers out in my journal. Other times I simply make a list of the people and situations I’m praying over and I’ll include those in my journal as well. Journaling provides a wonderful record of what God has done in my life and what has been important to me over the years.
IDEAS TO HELP YOU IN PRAYER
1. Pray Scripture. What better words to say to God than the ones He’s given us.
Pray prayers from the Bible. There are lots of beautiful, powerful prayers in Scripture. Here are a few of my favorites:
1 Samuel 2:1–10
2 Chronicles 6:14–42
Any of the Psalms
Pray Scripture passages. Perhaps a verse, series of verses, or even a chapter that has meant a lot to you. It may be filled with words of praise, petition, or even instruction you want the Lord to help you follow. Personalize that passage and pray it to the Lord. Turning passages into prayers can also be effective in helping you know what to pray.
Here are some examples of verses to pray:
Again, this is just a brief sampling of the many places you could turn in the Old and New Testaments for passages to pray and make your own.
2. Follow a formula. Pray using a simple method that helps remind you what to pray and keeps you on track.
ACT: Adoration / Confession / Thanksgiving / Supplication
PRAY: Pray / Repent / Ask / Yield to Christ
THREE Rs: Rejoice / Repent / Request¹
3. Organize your prayers. Set up a system where you emphasize different prayer requests on different days. For example:
Sunday: Family or close relationships
Monday: People you want to reach out to
Tuesday: Intercession for those sick or in need
Wednesday: Those who don’t know Christ
Thursday: Your church community
Friday: The persecuted church
Saturday: Mission and ministry opportunities
4. Pray with others. This is a big one. I can often pray longer and with more focus when I’m praying with others. I’m amazed at how praying with other people bonds you with them, which is why it’s difficult to hold grudges with those you regularly pray with. Praying with others holds me accountable. And while it can be a vulnerable and uncomfortable practice at first, I encourage you to take that step. The blessings of group prayer and the bonds of friendship that can come out of it are unrivaled. Just a reminder: praying with others shouldn’t take the place of your personal times of prayer, but it will be a wonderful addition.
5. Pray continually. Remember, talking to God doesn’t require a reservation. He lives in you. Carry on a constant conversation.
This article was adapted from Kelly Minter’s new Bible study, Encountering God: Cultivating Habits of Faith Through the Spiritual Disciplines and originally appeared on LifewayVoices.com. It’s reposted here by permission.
1. Ben Patterson, God’s Prayer Book (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2008).