7 Ways to Improve Our Prayer Lives
- Emma Danzey Contributing Writer
- 2022 11 May
It is one of the most important areas of our relationship with God, and yet it is often one of the most neglected. Prayer is a precious gift in that we have direct access to the Lord. Imagine your favorite athletes, a well-known singer, or even the Queen of England giving you their personal phone number. Pretend that they said, “Call me anytime you want to talk or have a question.” You have been given an all-access pass to your favorite person who before was unreachable.
In a much grander way, the God of the universe has essentially given us His “spiritual phone number.” Because Jesus came and died for us and rose, we do not have to go through a priest anymore to get to God. When Jesus ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit to all who believe in Him. God is with us, and we can always communicate with Him. This is a great gift, but often overlooked. Today, we are going to cover 7 ways to improve our prayer lives.
1. Do a 21-Day Prayer Challenge
It takes 21 days (or 3 weeks) to form a habit. Try to set the goal to carve out specific time each day to have focused prayer. You could start small at 5 minutes or longer like 30 minutes or an hour. We never want to make our faith a check-list, however we do want to create spiritual disciplines and this takes decision making and intentionality.
2. Use a Prayer App
One of my personal favorite prayer apps is VOM (Voice of the Martyrs). Each day, the app gives you a country in the world to pray for. It tells you about specific prayer needs of believers living there, as well as interesting facts and statistics about the country. I love this because it has helped me to pray missionally.
We may not all be able to go to these countries, in fact, many of them are closed. However, we can be made aware of their needs and help fulfill the Great Commission by praying for them. The Lord hears our cries and He cares for all people in every nation. One day in Heaven, we will be with every tribe and tongue. We might as well begin to get familiar with other cultures and pray for their needs. This grows our hearts and helps us to see a fuller picture of how God is working around the world. A prayer app is also helpful because it will send you a daily reminder to pray. This keeps you accountable and active in your prayer life.
3. Go to a Prayer Group or Meeting
It is a sacrifice of time, but joining together with other believers in prayer is nothing short of powerful. Whether it be through your church, a ministry, a group of colleagues, or even just one other friend whom you pray with, this makes a difference. Some of the most amazing moments are when we still ourselves before the Lord, praise him with others, and present our request to Him.
4. Stop Complicating Prayer
Many times we can be our own barrier when it comes to prayer. We feel like we have to be perfectly holy in life and eloquent with our words. However, prayer is simply talking with God. Yes, if there is sin in our lives, we should confess that, and yes we should be respectful to the Lord, but He has called us friends (John 15:15). He is our loving Father (John 15:9), and we can be ourselves and honest with Him. He already knows our hearts.
There are many helpful ways to pray, but there is only one model prayer in the Bible, The Lord’s Prayer. Jesus taught us to pray. We are welcome to model that, but we can also remember that we are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16) and to pray in private, not making ourselves puffed up in public (Matthew 6:6). Ultimately, we can talk to God at any time of the day. We do not have to be in a certain posture. We do not have to use specific words. We just come before Him and talk.
5. Try Journaling
I know people who love to journal. I am not as much of a journal person, however, I do appreciate bullet points and ways to see how the Lord answers prayers. There is something special about writing down what is going on in your life and how God is teaching you in a specific season.
Something I have loved is writing down my prayer focuses for the month and then not having to write every day, but just praying over what I wrote at the beginning of the month. Then, I write down as the Lord answers prayers, especially at the end of that month. This helps keep a focus. However, if you want to write out every detail or love writing your daily prayers down, then go for it! Everyone is different. Documenting is a gift to look back at God’s faithfulness.
6. Include Confession
Sin is a topic that we normally like to avoid. We are forgiven and redeemed, but we are all still a work in progress. Our sin can easily become insignificant in our minds because of the great grace which we have experienced. When we ignore our sin, we miss out on the fullness of the Christian walk. Learning to be humble and admit sin against the Lord reveals a heart of repentance. It grows us in our understanding of the depth of our sins that put Jesus own the cross. It helps us to desire change and ask the Holy Spirit for help. Confession is healing for the soul. It is a gift to be able to apologize for our wayward decisions and thoughts. We stand forgiven and appreciate the beautiful grace and mercy from God.
7. Read a Book on Prayer
There are many great Christian resources out there that can help guide us in our prayer lives. Consider using a tool like this to spark your excitement to pray. We can glean from the prayer lives of others and learn from ways that they like to communicate with God. Check out This List of Christian Books on Prayer for more ideas.
More from this author
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Jesus Is Calling You to Your Own “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the Ends of the Earth”
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Photo credit: ©Getty Images/vadimguzhva
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew and they have been married for over a year. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She has the joy of being the host of Her Many Hats podcast where she explores the many roles that women play while serving One God.
Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first published book on singleness. Emma also had the privilege of being a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com