So, how's your prayer life? I realize this is a big question and one that can sometimes be dismissed. I have found that when I dismiss the importance of prayer that I miss out on connecting with God. My prayer life has improved this past year and it has brought me great joy and comfort! If you are anxious or bored or lonely, or even if you feel happy or content, I encourage you to read on for 7 tips that can benefit your prayer life today:
1. "Prayer is personal communication with God." This quote is from Wayne Grudem and his epic book, Systematic Theology, and is a foundational truth to know. Wayne's chapter on the Doctrine of Prayer is one of the best things you'll ever read about prayer. He describes how we connect with God and listen to God through prayer. God ordained prayer as a primary way for us to connect with Him. Do you want intimacy with God? Pray. Click here for a terrific free 45-minute audio lesson on the Doctrine of Prayer from Wayne Grudem.
2. "Pray without ceasing." Paul teaches us this in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, but this might seem impossible, yes? In a way, yes, it is impossible to be on your knees in prayer 24 x 7 and get anything else done. However, we actually can pray without ceasing in the Spirit while going about our daily activities. And we should also carve out time to pray on our knees or in our cars or on a hike. Seek time to pray throughout the day, even if it is just for a moment before you walk into that big meeting at work or before serving your family.
3. "A. C. T. S. - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication:" Sometimes a formula will help you structure your prayers, and this is a great one. Adoration is a great way to start your prayers, by simply worshiping and adoring God for who He is and all that He has done in your life and throughout history. Confession is telling God your sins and praying for repentance and healing to stop sinning. Thanksgiving is telling God specific things you are grateful for in your life that He has provided. (and God has provided literally every good thing in our lives...). Supplication is where you ask God for specific things to happen in your life. You can pray for your family to have a good day or safety on your drive to work or healing or peace on earth and the list can go on. God does want us to ask us for things. He is a good father who loves to give His children good gifts! I do like how this formula puts our "asking" at the end, after adoring, confessing and thanking.
4. Prayer changes things. Do you believe that prayer changes things? I do. But I think the thing it changes most is me. My heart gets softened up in the process of praying frequently and I get less anxious about life in general. I also believe that God answers all of our prayers, but His answers are not always in the way or in the timing that we might request. But I know He hears our prayers and things do indeed change because of our prayers if we are in relationship with Jesus.
5. The Lord's Prayer. When in doubt and you don't know what or how to pray, simply pray these words that Jesus taught us to pray in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke:
Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen.
6. Pray with your kids. Make it a priority to pray with your kids daily. It can be a simple prayer in the morning. Or prayers before meals. Or prayer before bedtime is always sweet. When our daughters were young we were so blessed by having them read with us at bedtime the wonderfully illustrated The Lord's Prayer book by Richard Jesse Watson and Rick Warren.
7. When We Pray! I'll close out with this this terrific song and video from Tauren Wells about prayer. Tauren is one of my favorite Christian musicians! I encourage you to listen to his music.
What our prayer tips might you have to share with others? Please share in the Comments below, thanks!
p.s. The purpose of this blog is to encourage you to live a more disciplined life by God's Grace. I'd be honored if you'd subscribe to my blog's emails to alert you of new blog posts at: www.mikepritchard.com/subscribe.html