Pray without ceasing the Bible tells us and already I feel like my prayers don’t measure up.
I want to pray bolder. Longer. More fervently and more persistently.
And though my prayer life has come a long way, I still catch my thoughts drifting mid-prayer or remembering to pray as a last resort.
I want to be a better prayer warrior – not to check something off a list, but because there is power in prayer.
Over the years, I’ve found small ways to incorporate more authenticate prayer into my life. Yes, we can get up an hour earlier every day and devote that time to prayer or take a day to fast and pray for a specific need.
But there are also ways to make prayer as natural as breathing. To incorporate it into all of our daylight hours rather than delegate it to the beginning or ending minutes. And to be sensitive to how the Spirit is leading us to pray as we go about our normal activities.
If you want to improve your prayer life, let’s look at 7 ways to strengthen our prayers.
While I don’t always alliterate, all 7 of these start with P to help us remember.
7 Ways to Strengthen Your Prayers
1. Pause to pray.
The beauty of social media is that we have real time notice of real time needs and we can pray in real time. If your feed is like mine, on any given day I see friends post a variety of prayers requests. First, know that nothing compels us to pray for each one. But when the Spirit moves us to pray, rather than responding with the prayer-hand emoji and scrolling on, we can stop and lift up that person and that need right then and there.
2. Put prayer on the calendar.
When someone mentions she’ll have surgery on a particular date or asks for prayer for an upcoming interview, it’s easy to forget to pray. I’m so glad we have calendars on our phones! We can put the date and prayer request on our mobile calendar. The notification will remind us not only to pray, but to follow up later. We can even calendar annual reminders to pray for someone on a significant day – a gotcha day, the date of diagnosis or the day someone died.
3. Pray for pint-sized needs.
Years ago, my ladies’ Bibles study shared prayer concerns around the circle. After one young mom asked for prayer because her mammogram revealed a suspicious lump, the next mom hesitated to share her request. “I was going to ask y’all to pray I could find flooring for our house.” Did her concern even count in the context of her neighbor’s huge need? Yes. All need matters to God. How awesome that we don’t have to wait for extraordinary need to come to the King of the Universe. He is Lord over all. I’ve heard it said if it matters to us then it matters to God. “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23
4. Pray for the practical.
God is so practical. I’ve learned this over the last 7 years of being a widow and single mom, as I’ve desperately needed practical help. Days after Dan died, I had to make a hard phone call. I was nervous about what to say and how it would go and when I prayed? God literally ordered my thoughts and what I would say. I dialed the number and the conversation could not have gone better. As I’ve prayed over needs, God has brought the name of someone who could help. He’s given clear direction on decisions I would have decided differently. You ask me how I know He lives? Because He is so much more than an idea or a pie-in-the-sky-platitude. God practically answers prayer. I saw it again this morning!
5. Pray the promises of God.
Praying scripture has broadened and deepened my prayers. It takes our Bible study and morning devotional even deeper as we turn what we’ve read into a personal prayer. Praying scripture uses the words of a Bible verse or a Bible passage to guide our prayer. The entire book of Psalms is a prayer book! Praying the Word keeps our mind from wandering, anchors our prayer in God’s truth and helps us pray the will of God.
6. Pray when God prompts.
I’ve learned that when God brings a name to mind, He intends for me to intercede for that person. One day, a name of an acquaintance came to mind. It seemed awfully random and yet later that day I got a group text message that he’d been severely burned and rushed to the burn unit. Nothing is random with God! The Spirit connects us together as the body of Christ. We shouldn’t be surprised when the Spirit brings a name to us out of the blue. “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)
7. Pray before prattle.
Truth is, our instinct is to phone a friend. When we’re burning with indecision or fuming with outrage, our initial reaction is to go to someone who will tell us what we want to hear. We want immediate feedback or the emotional affirmation that comes with venting. Instead, we need to pray before we tell. God promises to guide us and give us wisdom. He has insight not even a spouse can have. Our prayer life will be strengthened as we learn to go to God first.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything
according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14 (NIV)