Many Christians struggle with maintaining an active prayer life. Nothing this good ever comes easy! It may seem at times that our prayers are accomplishing very little. But nothing could be further from the truth. Prayer is always powerful and effective, even when it appears not to be--so we must remain vigilant.
By the way, what is the purpose of prayer? I've heard people say something like this: "If God knows what we need before we ask Him, then why bother to ask?" The reason is because the primary purpose of prayer is not to get things from God; it is to have fellowship with God. God wants to have communion with us. He wants us to talk to Him. Prayer is essential to a vital relationship with God.
So, what can you do to improve your prayer life? Here are some practical suggestions:
Make A Commitment
We won't start without a commitment. So make a decision to pray... now. Bow your head right now and pray, "Lord, I'm making a commitment to You to pray. Please help me keep it." That prayer is definitely in His will.
Make A List
My wife is the queen of all list-makers. She uses a list to keep her on track. A list is a great tool for prayer. It helps you keep track of things you are praying for. But I suggest you don't get to attached to your list. Change it up every week or so. Some things may need to stay on it indefinitely, but some things need to be changed up periodically as God answers or shows you a different course.
Have A Set Time and Place
Have a place that is your "prayer closet." Choose a place that is quiet and free of distractions. Sometimes his is more a matter of time than place. It may mean getting up a half hour earlier in the morning. Discipline yourself to do it. We make time to do the things that matter to us. One of the advantages of having a set place and time is establishing a routine. We are all creatures of habit. I have an office in my home. This may sound strange to you, but in the mornings it calls to me. It really is hard to ignore that voice that comes to me in the morning and says, "I'm waiting."
Enlist An Accountability Partner
It helps to have someone who holds you accountable. I think we fear this for a couple of reasons. One, we are afraid of getting the wrong partner--the accountability partner from hades. But second, it is in our nature to resist being held accountable. Approach someone you trust and ask them to help you. Keep it basic. A simple text message may suffice: "Did you pray today?"
Read the Bible
Reading the Bible is one of the greatest aids to an active prayer life. How? You can pray Scripture back to God. Psalms is a great example. You can't go wrong praying God's Word back to Him.
Keep A Journal
I talked to a lady recently who said she keeps a record of her conversations with God. She has recored 33 specific answers to prayer in the last 9 months. I'd say that keeps her motivated! But it also helps to keep a record of your requests, and it also helps for personal accountability.
I've heard people use the excuse that they don't pray because they don't know how. They don't know how to talk!? Prayer is simply talking to God and telling Him what is on your heart. You can tell Him anything. He won't get offended. He already knows it anyway. So pour out your heart to Him. By far the greatest mistake we make when it comes to prayer is not praying at all!
So take your Christian life up a notch right now. Bow your head and pray now. Make that commitment to begin praying, or to renew your prayer life, or to become more consistent at it. Do it now!
Do you have any suggestions? Let me know.