If you meet a new person and want to build a relationship with that person, would you talk to them rarely or would you talk with them often? Would you expect them to become a great friend if you never spent time together? Of course not! However, it seems like our relationship with God is often like that. We say we love God and have a relationship with Him, but seldom talk to Him or take the time to hear what He has to say. We pray when we can’t figure something out ourselves and we’ve already asked our best friend for advice or help . . . when we have nowhere else to turn. Don’t you want more?? I know I do! Let’s discuss how to grow in prayer, even if you barely have one.
Why is Prayer Important?
Before we jump into how to deepen your prayer life, let’s talk about why prayer is even important. Prayer really is a vital part of the life of a follower of Christ. It’s how we communicate with God. Prayer doesn’t have to be anything fancy since it’s just a conversation between you and God. God wants to hear our prayers. In fact, there are many Scriptures on the importance of prayer.
“Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2 ESV
“Pray without ceasing,” I Thessalonians 5:17
“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Luke 18:1
As we can see from just a few verses, prayer is important, and we need to be praying often. Prayer brings us closer to God by keeping us focused on Him, helps us keep the right perspective and change our mindset, and encourages us to submit our will to His rule in our life. Prayer is also the example Jesus set for us, which we’ll talk about more in a bit, and, prayer works. Check out this next Scripture passage, especially the last sentence.
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:13-16
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How Can I Grow Strong in Prayer?
Now that we see how important prayer is in the life of a follower of Christ, we can move into some tips on how to grow strong in prayer. Maybe you already have a pretty good prayer life and just want to grow in this area, or perhaps you’re new to all this and are yearning to learn more. No matter where you are on the spectrum, let’s learn and grow together. Let’s become women who prioritize prayer and God’s Word. Let’s become moms who are constantly asking God for wisdom and strength to help us in our motherhood journey.
I’m reminded of a biography that I read to my kids about George Mueller, who was a man of incredible faith and prayer. He committed to never ask for money for the work God had called him to, and his journals are filled with time after time that God provided in amazing ways. Don’t we want God to work in and through us? I know I do, but I also know that if it will happen, I need to commit to growing in prayer. So, let’s get busy and talk about some ways we can do that.
Develop a consistent prayer life
How do we develop a consistent prayer life? Well, first of all, you need to just start. Don’t wait until you make this big, elaborate plan. Take a moment and pray right now. Then, set a couple of reminders on your phone to remind you throughout the day to give your worries to the Lord or pray for whoever God lays on your heart at that time. You need to prioritize prayer in order to get it to the point of being consistent. Also, set a regular time and place for focused prayer. There is no right answer for this, but it will be important to make it part of your everyday routine. You may choose to pray before you get out of bed, during your shower time, or in conjunction with your daily Bible time. You may start out praying a couple of days and then miss some. However, don’t get discouraged. Keep prioritizing and get back on track.
As moms, unless we prioritize our relationship with God, it can easily fall by the wayside. Learn more about growing closer to God. As we grow closer to Him, we become a better wife and mother as well.
Use different methods of prayer
Prayer doesn’t need to be a boring, rote ritual. There are different ways to change up your prayer routine. God made us all so very unique, so it only makes sense that we will each find that we feel closest to God in prayer in different ways. Try a few to find what works for you.
- Prayer prompts. You may find prayer prompts or cards helpful. These don’t necessarily tell you exactly what to say, but give ideas to get you started.
- Talk out loud. Do you get easily distracted while praying? Try praying out loud. Psalm 142:1 says, “With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.”
- Journal. This could just be a simple notebook or pretty journal that you write in. Maybe you just want to write out part of your prayer that day or write out your prayer response to what you read in the Bible that day. You could also have a page for different family members or loved ones and specific things to pray for each of them. This is also a great space to record answers to prayer. Look back and see how God worked!
- Try a prayer walk. You may try praying through each room of your house or praying for your community as you walk in your neighborhood.
- Quiet prayer. This could be in combination with other prayer times. Have a time of just sitting in silence before the Lord. He may impress an action that He’s calling you to do, or bring a truth from Scripture to your mind.
- Use The Lord’s Prayer. Matthew 6:5-13 is a great passage in which Jesus tells His disciples how to pray. Study and use it as a model for your own prayer.
- Use a prayer book. I’ve found that Face to Face: Praying the Scriptures for Intimate Worship to be an amazing resource. It separates different areas of prayer and then has Bible verses and prayer prompts to follow.
Scriptures to pray to grow in prayer
Praying Scripture can be powerful. I mean, the Bible is God’s Word to us, and what is more powerful than that? Using God’s own words in your prayers can deepen your prayer life to a whole new level. The Psalms especially are full of praise to God for us to pray. Look for verses like these as you read the Bible.
“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.” Nehemiah 9:6
Psalm 51 has many verses that can be prayers of forgiveness and renewal. I encourage you to read the whole Psalm, but here’s how it starts:
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” Psalm 51:1-2
Sometimes you find passages of Scripture that are great for praying for yourself or others in your life. Check out these prayers written by Paul.
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, ” Ephesians 1:16-20
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11
Try praying this next verse for our nation. As we all know, our nation and world need great healing at this time.
“if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Pray like Jesus
As mentioned above, Jesus used what we often call The Lord’s Prayer to teach His disciples how to pray. However, we can learn much about prayer from His own example while He lived on earth. So, how did Jesus pray?
- Jesus prayed alone. Mark 1:35 talks about how Jesus got up early and went to a desolate place to pray. There were many times He went off by himself for prayer throughout His ministry on earth.
- Jesus prayed for others. Jesus not only prayed for His disciples in John 17:20-21, but also prayed for those of us who would embrace His message after the disciples . . . you and me!
- Jesus prayed in submission. Matthew 26:39 tells us that Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
- Jesus prayed with thanksgiving. Even Jesus thanked God the Father. Luke 10:21 is an example of this. “In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.'”
- Jesus prayed often. As you read through the Gospels, notice how often Jesus was praying. He prayed before meals, before and after miracles, in private but also in public, and even as He died.
Acronym for prayer
There are different parts of prayer that we should be using, such as thanksgiving, confession of sin, and praying on behalf of people and things in our world. Using an acronym for prayer can be helpful to us so that we’re not just focused on praying for ourselves and asking for things. We need to spend time praising Him for who He is and what He does. Now there are many different acronyms for prayer that you can find online, but here are a few to get you started.
- A.C.T.S.– Adoration (praising God for who He is). Confession (confessing our sin and asking for forgiveness). Thanksgiving (thanking God for what He has given). Supplication (making your requests known to God).
- P.R.A.Y.– Praise (for who He is and what He has done). Repent (of sins committed or commands neglected). Ask (for my needs and the needs of others). Yield (my will and agenda for God’s will and agenda).
- T.R.U.S.T.– Thanksgiving (open with thanks for who God is). Remember (remember God’s faithfulness). Unburden (unburden your heart. Ask for help). Surrender (surrender to God’s answers). Trust (trust in God’s power).
Improve Your Prayer Life
Don’t feel overwhelmed with all the options and ideas given to help you grow in prayer. Just start. Try to become more consistent in prayer, and then explore different ways to pray, Scriptures to pray, etc. Pick one area to change up. What really makes your prayer life come alive? Do you use a prayer acronym? Where will you start, or what will you add? Please comment below.
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