You want to pray, and you know you should pray, so why is it such a struggle to pray? Creating the habit of prayer can be challenging. Praying through a spiritual slump can seem impossible. What can you do?
Some days it can be incredibly hard to focus your thoughts without a million interruptions. Other days you make the time, but the words won’t come. Maybe you’re in a season of discouragement or depression. Frustrated, you find yourself praying less and less, until one day the convicting tug at your heart becomes too much to ignore. You know you’ve messed up and gotten off-track. How do you re-align yourself and get back in relationship with Him?
Here are 4 simple ways to improve your prayer life:
1. Make an appointment with God, in a quiet place, for prayer.
Did you see the recent faith-based movie War Room? Remember the prayer closet? It’s biblical! In Matthew 6:6 we read this example, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray…” (HCSB). The KJV actually uses the word “closet” instead of “room.” The spirit of the verse is to find a quiet place where you can shut yourself away while you pray.
If you have young children at home, try to get out of bed before they do and commit to pray, or ask your husband, mom, or friend to sit with your children later in the day. We schedule sitters for other necessary appointments; why not for prayer? Make an appointment and keep it!
To create the habit of prayer, remember it this way: make an appointment >> same time every day >> quiet room.
2. Pray out loud.
There are many instances in scripture where we read that someone “cried out to the Lord,” especially during times of stress. Use your voice when you pray. Cry to the Lord! When we pray “in our head” but not out loud it’s a certain recipe for sleepiness and struggle. There’s something about praying out loud that awakens our spirit and reaches the ears of God!
Examples of this are recorded throughout scripture, including these psalms: “Call upon me” Psalm 50:15; “the righteous cry” Psalm 34:17; “when I cry unto thee” Psalm 56:9. When we pray in our head but not out loud it’s a certain recipe for sleepiness and struggle. Click To Tweet
3. Practice fervent prayers.
We see this often in scripture, too. In James 5:16 we find that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous [wo]man avails much.” We’re not practicing patty-cake Christianity, we’re cultivating a rich, growing prayer life. We need to pray fervently and effectively!
It takes spiritual digging and planting in order to reap the harvest. Dig in to the depths of your soul. Sow in tears. Be burdened for your family, friends, and community. Speak to the Lord from the depths of your heart: the good, bad, and ugly. He can handle it all. Give it to him! We’re not practicing patty-cake Christianity, we’re cultivating a rich, growing prayer life. Click To Tweet
4. Keep a prayer journal.
Many beautiful journals are on the market today (I love this “Dear God” journal!). You can also use a spiral notebook…whatever works for you! Simply write out your prayers one by one.
Another pastor’s wife shared a new idea with me a few days ago that I’d like to try out: for her 50th birthday, she wrote 50 unique prayer needs down, one at the top of each page in her journal. As she went through her 50th year, every time she saw a glimpse of God moving in any of those needs, she’d go to its corresponding page and make a note of it. Now she can look into that prayer journal anytime and see God’s hand and her prayers at work! How encouraging!
The prayers & answers journal by DaySpring would work beautifully for this creative prayer time.
What about you, dear readers? Have you found creative ways to improve your prayer life? What tips do you have? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!