Monday, March 29, 2010

Seven Practices to Increase Prayer

Since seeing the church’s deep need to increase prayer (Ephesians 6:18), I have thought about what practices might help us pray. I’ve compiled a few principles related to prayer that have been helpful for me.
1. Remember that prayer is an act of surrender (giving something up). Think about what you need to give up to pray. Maybe it is something spiritual like pride or, maybe it is something practical like TV, sleep or radio. Whatever it is, give it up for a calculated amount of time (ex., one hour every day for a week). The act of surrender itself puts you in a clear headspace for prayer.
2. Find a prayer partner. Find someone who shares your heart for prayer and commit to pray together at a certain time about a particular topic. Schedule prayer walks. Meet for coffee. Call each other to pray. Not only will you build your prayer life, you will gain a very close friend.
3. Pray while doing other activities. You would be surprised how much you can pray during a 15 minute drive or a 10 minute shower. You know how talking with a friend makes a task go by quickly. It works the same when talking to God.
4. Start a prayer journal. You’ll be surprised how natural it is to write out your prayers. It is even more exciting when you have an answer that you can document next to your prayer.
5. Read about prayer. Try anything by E.M. Bounds with “Prayer” in the title or Letters to Malcolm by C.S. Lewis. Ask a praying friend to recommend a favorite. Also, take the Next Step Survey at and see what it suggests.
6. Practice fasting. Richard Foster has written a book called Celebration of Discipline. Try the principles from this book for fasting and see what it does for your prayer life.
7. Force yourself into situations where you have to pray. Sign up for a Prayer Vigil at the church. Go to Wednesday night prayer meetings (6:30 in the Senior Center at Open Door). Step out in faith for something you can’t do without God’s provision. Start witnessing to a friend. Go on a mission trip. See what God does when you try something you can’t do alone.

One thing that you must remember is that prayer is not merely a listing of needs. In fact, petitioning God for help is at best secondary. Prayer is the conversation at the center of the relationship for which you were created. Delight in that relationship through prayer (Psalm 27:4). Talk about your day. Share your feelings, concerns and hopes. Listen for His voice. It would be better to forget your requests and simply converse with the Almighty than to ignore your relationship in the interest of your needs. Whatever you do, pray.

1 comment:

  1. Without prayer, relationship with God would cease to exist.