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Confession: I have never been great at prayer.
I love the idea of praying on my knees, seeking God’s wisdom, presenting my requests with confidence. It sounds bold & right.
And I pray. But intentionally?
Well, let’s just say I can do a whole lot of thinking about praying without doing the actual praying. Then I’m reminded of James 1:22 which tells us, “Do not merely listen to the word… Do what it says.” [NIV]
Do what it says. Don’t just read the words. Take action.
Taking action means taking the first step. So, I began the journey to a deeper prayer life and found that I needed help and some practical tips for fervent prayer.
I read a book called “Discerning the Voice of God” by Priscilla Shirer and my understanding of the importance and the beauty of prayer was drastically changed.
Prayer became a whole new concept to me. It became more about spending time in the presence of God than about begging for strength, a close-to-the-front-entrance parking spot, or a good grade on the paper I barely squeaked out.
God longs for us to rest in His presence – to enjoy time with Him. And that means learning how to pray intentionally and learning to improve our prayer lives.
Let’s be action-takers starting today. Here are three baby steps you can take with me!
3 Tips for How to Improve Your Prayer Life
Have a plan.
This might look different for everyone. To me, this means having some sort of prayer schedule with a topic for the day (ex: 40 days of praying for your husband, a daily prayer for our country, praying the promises of God, etc.).
This could also look like having a plan to pray at a specific time, in a specific place, with a specific friend – anything that you purposefully choose to do to ensure that you regularly meet with God in prayer.
Let your mind wander.
I used to believe that if my thoughts wandered during prayer, I was a bad Christian. I had trouble focusing on one topic, one person, one issue. God has flipped that belief completely around and allowed me to feel freedom in prayer.
Oftentimes, when my mind wanders to a friend, something on the to-do list, or an assignment I have, it’s because I need to pray about it. Like I said in #1, I do have a plan with a topic for the day, but oftentimes my prayer time is much enriched because I allow my thoughts to wander – and this results in more earnest prayer about the real parts of my heart.
Be silent often.
Just as much as you want to plead with God and share your needs and wants with Him, He longs to talk right back to you – but you have to be willing to listen. Waiting on the Lord is a lost art these days in our go, go, go society. When we slow down and stop to listen, God will speak. You will feel His presence.
This makes prayer unbearably exciting. Talking to the Creator of the world is a privilege that we must be quiet enough to experience.
Intentional, focused prayer is a great gift when we choose to become action-takers. Maybe – like me – you tend to think about praying more often than you actually pray.
Let me encourage you to develop a prayer plan, let your mind wander, and embrace silence.
I just know that your relationship with the Lord will be much enriched because of it.
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
What tips would you add to this list? In what way do you struggle to pray intentionally – is it allowing God to speak, quieting your heart, setting aside a specific place, or something else? How will your life be enriched by making prayer intentional?
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