Whether you are a seasoned prayer warrior, or new to a life of faith and just beginning a relationship with Jesus Christ, we can all use new tools in our faith toolbox from time to time, including ways to deepen our prayer practice. Talking to God can be a formal affair, or you can chat with Him out loud on your drive to work. There is no special dress code, and you don’t have to use a script. These 5 tips will help breathe new life into your prayer routine.
It is easy to fall into the habit of “grocery list” prayer – handing God your list of wants and needs without pausing to truly communicate with Him. He wants to hear from you and to know exactly what’s on your mind. No need is too great for Him. But it can be easy to forget all the many ways in which He’s blessed you, and recalling these blessings can help reframe your day, your job, your circumstances – not to mention your relationship with the Lord.
Try beginning your prayers with thanksgiving – thoughtful, detailed thanksgiving. Consider starting a bedside list of things you are grateful for, or posting a list on the fridge to add to when something pops into your mind. You don’t have to present God with a Harvard-worthy presentation to honor the gifts He has given you. Simply say, “Thank you God for ______.” Even on our toughest days, we have so very many things to be grateful for. Bless His Holy Name each time you call out to Him in prayer by expressing your thanks.
Meaningful prayer can take the form of words spoken aloud or silently, songs sung to God in prayer, or a prayer journal. If you are the pray-in-silence type, try mixing it up with another approach. Journaling is cathartic and a great way to pour all your thoughts out to God. You can hand-write your prayer journal in a beautifully bound book or a $1 spiral bound notebook, or you can type your thoughts in a private file on your computer. If music is your thing, consider adding background music to your prayer time, or choosing a timeless hymn or contemporary Christian song to sing to the Savior, or to focus on as your prayer.
God is vast. He wants to hear from you, and the way you commune with Him is personal and filled with thoughtful options. Don’t limit yourself to a certain style of prayer just because that’s how you first learned to pray. God will listen and will bless your time spent with him, regardless of what method you choose to deliver the message.
Need a fun daily reminder about the power of prayer? This adorable Cherished Girl T-shirt will help remind you (and everyone who sees it) to "Dream Big & Pray Often!"
Choose a verse, passage, or entire book of the Bible as a prayer focus. If your life is in crisis mode, consider the book of Job. If you are seeking peace, consider the Psalms. If you or someone you love face health challenges, spend a month (or more) focused on scripture concerning healing each time you pray. Begin your reading by asking God to bless your study and to speak to you through His Holy Word. Choose themes from what you read to inspire your prayer life for a week, a month, or even an entire year.
You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to make God’s Word part of your prayer life. If you aren’t sure where to begin, do an internet search for “Bible verses about ______.” There are amazing resources online from pastors, authors, speakers, and folks just like you who want to connect more deeply with Jesus and have compiled verses pertaining to many worthwhile topics.
God promises when you join with others in prayer, He will be there beside you. There is great comfort in knowing others are joining you in praying for a specific need or purpose. You can join a formal prayer group in your community or church, an online prayer community, or even start your own group (such as a prayer group for cancer survivors, parents, or young adults); or you can ask a friend or family member to partner with you in prayer on a regular basis.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
— Matthew 18:20
God created us to be in community, and He loves when His children join together in prayer. When you include the needs and concerns of others in your prayer life, your horizons expand; you will begin to focus on more than your own existence, and God can open opportunities for you to serve, that you didn’t even know existed. It is also a great comfort to know the rest of your group, or your prayer partner, is lifting you up in prayer as well.
Maybe you have missionary friends in another country. Maybe you once visited another nation in need, and you have a passion for the struggles of the people there. Maybe you are concerned for the state of our nation, and you aren’t sure how best to support the men and women making decisions at the highest level. Maybe you lost a parent to Alzheimer’s disease, and you hope fervently for a cure. Maybe you know a single mom struggling to make ends meet, or you are particularly moved by the plight of homeless or impoverished people in your community.
Each one of these causes is worthy of your time, energy, and attention in prayer. Take time to learn more about a cause that calls to you, and devote a portion of your prayer life to this cause. Ask God to bless those whose hands are involved in behind-the-scenes work for your chosen cause. Ask Him for clarity for decision-makers, and for His hand in all aspects of the situation. Ask Him for favor for funding and other resources, and for a clear path to success – whether that means a cure for a devastating disease, or an end to a war overseas, or safety and fulfilled needs for those struggling to make ends meet in your community.
Ask God to give you a clear path to help all the hurting people we see daily, and be prepared for the answer He gives; He can use your time, talent, treasure, and relationships in ways you may never have thought of before, and when you prayerfully petition the Lord in good faith to be a light upon your path, He will answer. It is incredible to see what happens when you commit yourself to prayer for a specific cause. God is always faithful to answer.
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