Prayer has transformed into various shapes and sizes for me over the years. I struggled at first with what to say, how to say, where to say, how long or how many times I should pray, who I should pray for, do I pray for myself, and the list goes on. The important thing is that we make a practice of it. God wants to hear from us, an it’s important to make time in our daily schedule to talk to Him. Here are some of the things that helped me get comfortable and make a habit:
1. Try praying in different places. After watching the movie, “The War Room,” I was inspired to lay a yoga mat in the floor of my closet and try to pray in there, but with the dim lighting, and clothes hitting me in the face, it didn’t last long. I tried taking long walks to pray, but I would run into someone I knew and that too would distract my train of thought. Today, I try to pray throughout the day, no matter what I am doing, and then, at least once a day, I get on my knees and have my big list of petitions to God made known. Being on my knees helps me to remember what I am supposed to be down there doing (ADHD ya’ll) and to stay focused on the task at hand. But no matter what, find what works for you, and try to pray in different situations until you find the one that works best for you.
2. Keep a prayer journal. I try to always write down my friends prayer request specifically, and any major prayers I have to bring before God. It helps me not only to remember, but I can also find scripture to go along with the request, and speak God’s truth over the difficulties in my life and over others. His promises help me to be expectant of the fact that He answers them. It also helps me to look back and recall the answers I’ve been given, and strengthen my faith. Sometimes I just jot down names, or one word reminders, and other times I write a formal letter to God. Some people like to write, or draw while they pray, to help them stay focused. These are all great tools for worship.
3. Be bold. Big general prayers are great, but how would your prayer life change if you really believed every single one would be answered? How would you pray if you knew God was acting on your behalf and would answer? Well the Word says, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen…” (2 Cor. 1:20). We should have the confidence to ask our Father to move mountains, because He does not lack the power or resources to do so. Now, I don’t mean this in the sense that if you ask God to let you win the lottery that He will do it, but I’m talking about the breaking spiritual and physical barriers. Sometimes our own lack of faith that a situation can change (an illness be healed, an addiction be broken) will cause us to not ask at all. Pray with expectation that God can do anything and that He wants only the best for His children.
4. Be reverent. There have been times in my life where prayer was something I craved, and at other times it almost felt like an obligation that I had to God. I was just going through the motions because it was what I knew I had to do. The fact that I had this amazing ability to speak directly to the King of the Universe became lost when I tried to force it into my daily schedule of tasks. Remember what a privilege and honor it is that God loved us so much that He came to the earth to give His life so that the veil between us could be torn, giving us direct access to Jesus. When we pray, it doesn’t get sent to God’s email inbox to be read at a later date. He is right there with us! Listening intently to every word we say, and He cherishes the alone time He gets with us. The least we could do is to cherish it as well.
5. Pray without ceasing. The word tells us that we should meditate on the Lord continually. A lot of us think meditation is emptying our minds, sitting in a corner with our legs crossed, and humming. But that is not what the word really means in it’s original Hebrew. Instead of emptying our minds, we must fill them with the things of God. In Philippians 4 Paul writes, “… whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.”(emphasis mine) Jesus wants us to meditate by continually talking to Him and thinking about Him. This is the best way to guard ourselves and develop a rich prayer life.