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 are happy or content, I encourage you to read on for 10 tips that can benefit your prayer life today:
1. "Prayer is personal communication with God." This quote is from Wayne Grudem's 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. (Then check out 118 more of his lectures at this link.)
2. Make prayer a priority. It is so easy to live our lives completely distracted (social media, TV, news, etc...) and not prioritize spending time with God in prayer. I encourage you to create time in your schedule for prayer! I have found that praying in the morning is ideal, before the busyness of the day kicks in. When I get in my car in the morning to drive to work, I make sure I don't turn on the radio and I spend the first 5 to 10 minutes of my drive in prayer. In my car I pray through the A.C.T.S. acronym described in point #3 below. It helps structure my prayer time and get me going on prayer throughout the day. During the day I look for times to pray: before meals, when taking a break from work and I have found walking is a wonderful time to pray.
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, others lives or in the world. You can pray for your family to have a good day or safety on your drive to work or healing for a friend 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. Pray the Bible. One of the best ways to pray is to first read the Bible and then pray based on the Scripture you just read. I am a big fan of reading the Bible daily using the One Year Bible format, and I invite you to join me in reading the Bible daily through one of my three Bible blogs at this link. Then, after you read the Bible daily, take time to pray to God about what you just read in His Word.
5. "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. Pray without ceasing.
6. Prayer changes things. Do you believe that prayer changes things? I do. But I think the thing it changes most often 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 expect. But I know He hears our prayers and things do indeed change because of our prayers if we are in relationship with Jesus, our high priest and mediator before God.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Live a life worth praying about. I encourage you to live a life where you are actively serving others. Live a life of love. Live a life where you really do need God to show up and answer your prayers! Don't just live a life of comfort and entertainment and distraction. Live life to the fullest. Live life in an intimate relationship with God through daily prayer. It's the most adventurous and best life you can live! Now and forevermore.
10. Sing and Pray! I'll close out with this this terrific song and video from Tauren Wells about prayer called "When We Pray." Tauren is one of my favorite Christian musicians! I encourage you to listen to his music. I also encourage you to sing and pray to worship music as another great way to pray!
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