Prayer is an essential part of a Christian’s life, but sometimes Christians are challenged by this spiritual discipline. Consequently, many give up or settle for on-the-go fast food prayers when they really should be slowing down to savor sumptuous and filling banquet style prayers.
“Hmmm,” you might say, “What gives you the right to talk about the challenges of prayer?” Well friends, the answer is simple. I’ve struggled with prayer. Many times. But there is good news for all of us. God yet loves us in spite of our struggles and we have the ability to train our spiritual muscles in order to become mighty prayer warriors. In fact, this is exactly what our Lord desires!
Do you want to become a stronger Christian, one who is better equipped to glorify God and face life’s challenges? I’ve learned prayer is the key that unlocks the door to spiritual growth and victory. In fact, over the past four months, I have concentrated on improving my prayer life and as a result, my relationship with God has deepened. During this time of rededication, I’ve grown and now I’m eager to share 11 things wonderful things God has shown me about prayer!
- There is no time like the present. Satan, our enemy, tries to trick us into believing we have to have it all together before we can pray. This is one of the enemy’s greatest lies. The enemy knows if he can delay our prayers, our blessings may be delayed as well. Don’t waste another moment! Christ invites us to come to Him just as we are. Pray…today.
- God wants to hear from His children every single day. Yes, God is the Mighty One who created the universe, the One who holds the stars in place, and the One who keeps count of every hair on our heads. Yet, He is never too busy to listen to and advise us. God wants to meet with us daily in prayer.
- Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words. There are times when I’ve hesitated to pray because I didn’t know what to say. Heavy issues and deep hurts can be difficult to voice and other times our sins make us ashamed. However, we mustn’t neglect prayer because we don’t know what to say or because we are too embarrassed to speak. Our omnipotent Father knows exactly what we mean. Take comfort in knowing He understands our tears and moans.
- Listening is important. For a long time, I spent most of my prayer time talking to God. And though talking to God is important, over the past few months I’ve found that listening to God is even more important. It’s during these quiet times in prayer that I’m usually most aware of His presence. In the midst of the quiet, I feel His comfort and sense His guidance.
- Complete surrender is necessary. Life can be hard and I sometimes come to prayer dragging quite a bit of personal baggage behind me. Because of fear, anxiety, pride, or lack of faith, I fail to surrender and end up dragging these same issues as I leave my prayer session. When I release my issues and give them to God, the healing begins. There is something wonderfully freeing about “letting go and letting God”.
- Prayers don’t have to be long or fancy to be effective. Quality is more important than quantity. We do not need to pray bloated prayers full of excess verbiage. Short, sweet, sincere prayers are okay too. God wants our conversation with Him to be genuine.
- Just be you. Chances are you have heard some great prayers over the years. I know I have. Some people have a wonderful way with words and we may feel an urge to imitate their style. Please don’t do it! God has given us a beautiful and unique voice He loves. He wants to hear our unique voices as we talk to Him. No copy and paste versions of others’ prayers allowed!
- Prayer lists can help maintain focus. I carry my planner everywhere I go and inside it, I have a few pages dedicated to prayer requests. Each time someone asks me to pray for them or if I have a specific want or need, I write it down on my Prayer Request page. Doing so keeps me focused as I pray and also allows me to see how God has answered my previous prayers.
- Worship can help set the tone for prayer time. Music helps me focus my thoughts, so before I begin to pray I like to play worship music. My playlist includes songs that remind me of the Lord’s might, majesty, love, and goodness. My current favorites are Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin, Intercession by Kirk Franklin, Call It Grace by Unspoken, Comforter by Cece Winans, and Because of Who You Are by Vicky Yone.
- An official prayer room is not mandatory. I would love to have a specific room dedicated to prayer, but we are a family of five with lots of stuff. Creating a specific prayer room in this bustling household is next to impossible, so I’ve had to improvise. I pray in front of the comfy armchair in my bedroom. To limit interruptions, I close my bedroom door and hang my Prayer Time sign so other family members will not interrupt me. Just find a quiet and uninterrupted space in which you can settle down and commune with God.
- Expect to hear from God. I first began my new and improved prayer time, I prayed teeny, tiny, timid prayers. My faith was weak and I wasn’t always sure God would do what He promised to do. But each day, I prayed for more boldness and God has given me more boldness. Now when I hit my knees, I know and I expect that He will move on my behalf because He loves me and wants what’s best for me. Believe me when I say, prayer changes things!
Whether you’re just beginning your prayer life or you’re seeking to improve your prayer time, I hope the lessons I’ve learned and shared will encourage you. To help you get started, I’m offering my Prayer Time Sign as free printable. Print it out, laminate it for durability, add a string for hanging, and post it on the door before you head into prayer.
Want a copy of my Prayer Time Sign? Just click on the Download button below to get your copy!
© 2016, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.