I’m embarrassed about my prayer life. And I have yet to find someone who isn’t!
It’s (usually) not our theology that needs fine tuning. We totally know prayer’s importance. We acknowledge its miraculous nature, that we’re conversing with the triune God! We even have a proven track record of answered prayers. It’s the actual doing that needs work.
Still, in his grace, I have made breakthroughs. And I hope to make more with the help of people who will be honest and real as well. So that we can help each other.
But here’s what’s helped me the most. Simple, “non-spiritual” (you’ll see what I mean by that term in a moment), practical methods that have transformed my prayer life – the way I converse with the real, biblical God.
They’re so simple, you gotta try them:
1) I open my eyes.
Sounds strange, I know. We’re taught as kids to bow our heads and close our eyes. And this is good – I teach my kids the same (for now). But, goodness, my brain flies to la-la land the instant my eyes close! Distraction City. For me, by keeping my eyes open, I focus way more. Especially if I give my eyes something to focus on, leading into #2…
2) I pray with the Bible open.
If I’m not careful, my prayers start sounding the same. Monotone, half-memorized, half-hearted. I run out of ammo. “Dear Lord…thank you for this day…bless this food to the nourishment of my body…in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
But when prayer is combined with Bible reading, I have endless topics, needs, and supplications to bring to Jesus.
Be honest: How many times have you fallen asleep while praying?!
3) I pray out loud.
Think through this with me. We communicate with every person in our lives by speaking out loud. And yet with God, who is a person, we use only our brains to speak. Yes, God hears us. But, man, it’s not how we speak with everyone else. So, at least for me, I’m bad at it. It’s unnatural-feeling.
The first day I prayed out loud, eyes open, with the Bible in front of me – it felt like my first-ever real conversation with God. I would talk. Then, reading the Bible aloud, he would respond. Whoa.
4) I pray for five seconds, sometimes less.
Shifting gears here. This is a different kind of prayer than the previous ones. When I’m away from my Bible and when I’m not able to pray out loud (so as to not look like a half-crazed baffoon), I utilize split-second prayers. And I learned it from Nehemiah 2:4. The king asks Nehemiah a question, and right before he responds, in the middle of a conversation, he lobs up a split-second prayer to God.
We can learn from this. If a new thought, or someone I know who is hurting, or a personal need, bounces into my brain, I simply redirect it vertically. It keeps me close with Jesus throughout the day.
The Holy Spirit’s Work in Us
The Holy Spirit is working on us. As we mature in our faith, he is increasing our sense of neediness. He is heightening our awareness of the tender accessibility of God’s throne room through Christ.
The Holy Spirit is magnifying our knowledge of the love of the Father for us. These things lead to prayer.
Hopefully these four tips can be used to transform your prayer life.