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When I first became a Christian, my prayer life was nonexistent but I knew I wanted to start praying more. I wanted to form a connection to God through prayer.
Do you have a prayer life? Maybe your prayer life is nonexistent or maybe you want more out of your prayer life. More than saying grace or reciting a basic prayer.
It’s possible to accomplish if you’re proactive.
What Is Prayer?
First, it’s important to know what prayer is.
In its simplest definition, prayer is talking to God. It’s a way for us to communicate with God our worries, desires, thanks, and anything else on our minds.
God wants to hear it all. It doesn’t bore Him. He cares for you. The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV).
Prayer is a privilege. How amazing is it that we get to talk to God — the creator of all things.
How to Start Praying
It’s fairly easy to begin praying. It’s as easy as having an inner monologue.
What’s hard is staying consistent, which is why you need a plan. Those who have a plan tend to be more successful than those who don’t.
Decide How You Want to Pray
First, decide how you want to pray. There are different kinds of prayers and different methods of prayer.
When I first began praying consistently, I used a prayer journal. A journal specifically for my prayers helped me stay on track. I’m also more of a writer than I am a talker so it worked well for me.
Prayer journals allow you to:
- stay on track
- keep a record of your prayers
- reread previous prayers and see how God has answered these prayers
- be honest with yourself and God
- spend more time in prayer
Some people don’t like writing and that’s okay. There are other ways to spend time in prayer. I’ve prayed out loud, in my mind, and in silence. I’ve even set up a chair for Jesus and imagined He was sitting there beside me.
Do whatever is best for you.
Set up a Routine
You need to have a plan! If you have a plan, you’re more likely to follow through. Having a plan starts with having a routine.
A few questions to ask yourself as you plan your prayer time:
- When do you want to pray? In the morning? At night?
- How long do you want to pray? 10 minutes? 30 minutes?
- Where will you pray? In your room? On the balcony?
After you decide when you want to pray, set an alarm for 5–10 minutes before that time. This will be your reminder that it’s time to pray.
Ideally, we should be praying throughout the day — but you gotta start somewhere. Don’t feel bad about starting small and taking baby steps.
As you feel more comfortable, schedule more time for prayer, or just pray in your mind throughout the day.
Ideas When You Don’t Know What to Pray
Sometimes, we don’t know what to pray for. That’s okay!
The Bible says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words,” (Romans 8:26 ESV).
Here are a few ideas when you don’t know what to pray for.
Scripture is a great guide for prayer.
Jesus gave us an example of how to pray in the gospels.
Jesus says, “When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:1–4 ESV).
You can use this prayer as a guide or you can use other scripture as a guide to prayer. If you’re reading a Bible passage and you extract a lesson from that passage, pray that scripture over your life or others’ lives.
Family & Friends
Do you have anyone in your family or friend base that isn’t saved? Pray for their salvation.
If your family and friends are saved, pray they’ll remain steadfast in the faith and pray for your relationships.
You can also simply ask. Ask your family and friends about how you can pray for them. Keep these noted somewhere so you don’t forget.
Christians (The Body)
Pray for other Christians. We all need each other and prayer can change things. God hears our prayers.
Pray for the leadership in your church, for the Christians that are persecuted worldwide, and for the Christians in your life.
Trust me, it means a lot to people when you pray!
Give thanks when you pray. We have so many blessings in our lives and so much to be thankful for.
Be thankful for your home, running water, food, friendships, family, financial security, etc.
It’s been shown in research studies that thankfulness changes our hearts and minds. We tend to be more positive and happier people when we’re thankful.
Finally, pray for your personal needs and for God’s will in your life.
Pray for things like deeper faith and trust, a deeper understanding of God and His will in your life, and for your needs. Be honest with God in your prayers.
If you’re angry, tell Him. If you’re sad, tell Him. If you have questions, ask Him. God hears your prayers and welcomes your honest feelings and questions.