I did not grow up in a family that prayed. I was not sure if I honestly believed in pray until I had my first child. But I would love to share my experiences with you and my thoughts on prayer backed up by bible verses and quotes.
Sometimes I find it easy to pray when I have time. I do find it difficult to pray when everything is going well. But when things do not go the way I think they should, go I start praying. The word prayer comes from the Latin precari, “to beg.” Maybe that is why I am good at praying when I need help. Growing your prayer life is like building a muscle. When you complete the exercise a little bit at time you begin to grow. At the Desiring God Conference, Paul Miller estimated from surveys that he has taken that about 90 percent of evangelicals do not have a meaningful daily prayer life.
When I feel worried, and bitter I start to realize the importance of prayer and God. But prayer has also been with me on the good days which make them even sweeter. Prayer helps me stay centered, living in the moment, and living for something greater than myself. Joyce Meyers once said the worst thing that you can happen if you don’t pray is nothing. Prayer should be where we start with everything that we do. I pray that this book will also give you a better understanding of your prayer life.
Stopping is hard for us to do some times. There are so many distractions. The cell phone vibrates, or the kids may want something, or you just can’t stop thinking of different things that pop into your head. Stopping is very difficult for most of us. I like to stay busy and praying just does not feel busy enough for me. In Luke we find that Jesus withdraws to desolate places to pray (5:16). I don’t think you need to go into the desert or the woods but a quiet place in your house free of distraction may help you stay focused and less distracted. Yes, that means logging of Facebook and Pinterest and I think you can do it.
Think about the past experiences where God has been seen during your day. You may write down things throughout the day for you to easily remember how God is seen in your life. Understanding the past may be helpful for moving forward in the future. I like to keep a journal and pen on my night stand. When things come to mind during the day or night I write things down. I can later use these thoughts in my prayers. You may not think that God has answered any of your prayers in the past. Try keeping a journal of all your prayers. Then continue each day going through the list and checking off the prayers that have been answered.
3. Be Honest to God and Yourself
You need to be honest with God and yourself. You may want to talk about your hopes, and frustrations. You cannot pretend that everything is great or that everything is horrible. Be honest about your current situation. Let go of all your fears and worries and let God take over. Giving up control can be difficult but the changes you see in your life with be worth it.
4. Forgive Before You Pray
You need to forgive other before you pray. That might even be the reason why you are praying. If you have hatred for others, praying to God will be more difficult. God has forgiven you many times for little and big things. You need to do the same and forgive others. These people are only human. They will hurt you. Try to forgive them before praying. If you can’t do that, then try praying for them. Wayne Dyer wrote on his Facebook page “Release the need to be upset with others. Remember that anytime you’re filled with resentment, you’re turning the controls of your emotional life over to others to manipulate.”
5. Pray With Faith
Seeking God during prayer is important. Faith if what we do and not just what we say. So we need to pray with faith. Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” You may not believe, but as you pray and have faith your belief with grow as you see the changes in your life.
“Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Try praying as an act of Faith. Even if you don’t believe you can fake belief until it becomes real in your life. Mark Batterson said in his The Circle Maker media series that prayer is like a time capsule. You never know when or where God is going to answer them but you can live the holy anticipation. Prayer is not like asking the genie from Aladdin for something and in a cloud of smoke it magically appears. But the good news is that you get more than three wishes.
6. Make a Prayer Guide
We can all be busy and forgetful people at times. We may hear sad news from a friend or on the news and forget later that day what we want to pray for. You can have a notebook or a digital document to remind yourself who and what to pray for. You can use bullet points to stay organized. You can start to ask others how you can pray for them. When they tell you write it down. I usually purchase notebooks from the dollar store that will fit in my purse to write down my prayers and my notes from different groups that I am part of throughout the week.
7. Pray Specifically
Instead of praying for your family, pray for each individual family member separately. Take the time to pray for each one to show your concern. Each is their own person with their own praises and needs for the future. Ask others what they would like you to pray for them. If you ask you will probably get a smile and a long list.
My family and I go to church at a coffee shop. The church owns the coffee shop. Our church started to grow with people who were just graduating college and starting families. These small children needed a place to learn more about God and for the parents and congregation to get some quiet time. There was a small room in the back of the shop literally filled with junk. But not only did we need to remove the junk, we had to make the room a place where we felt safe to leave our children. We needed to raise funds. Instead of praying for the church, we prayed specifically for money to do repairs on the back room. God answered our prayers and not only are the children learning every week, but the room is great for community events like the recent gender reveal party for our second child.
8. Keep a Prayer Journal
Start to keep a list of your prayers and if God has answered them. You will soon see all the answer to pray you did not even realize were happening. We started doing this at our women’s bible study. One woman recorded our prayers on her iPad. Each week we would go add more to the list and check for answered prayer. Each week we would have a few that were answered according to his will. Yes, that is right. Not all prayers were answered and many were not answered in the time frame we wanted. But still many are answered. Acknowledging when prayers are answered is important to continue to grow faith and your prayer life.
9. Talk with God
Talk to God like you are talking to a close friend. He is with you always. I was a software trainer that traveled all over the country. Sometimes I would get off planes and need to drive to a destination in a place I have never been before all alone. But I had God with me to have a little chat about my worries. Praying calmed my fears of planes crashing, driving in heavy traffic, and getting to the hotel. I was never really alone during these trips. Lucky for me, I got to see the scenery of Gods beautiful creation on the way too.
10. Pray Out Loud
I will admit I do not like to pray aloud. I really don’t like to do it in front of others. But I love when others pray allowed. I love to hear the way they talk to God. Each person is different. Some treat him like their best friend. Others keep the prayer to a carefully calculated formula that they use to communicate with him. Hearing people pray for the things in my life makes me feel loved. Praying out loud can help others pray together but can also keep you focused on praying. One day I will enjoyed praying out loud in front of people. This is something I am working on. Are you?
Please read all 50 Tips and learn more about this book: 50 Things to Know About Prayer by Lisa Rusczyk Ed.D.