If you’re anything like me, the subject of your prayer life has been a source of pain and even shame at times. For years, when I tried to pray, I would be so distracted that I would end up just giving up.
Then, at a worship conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, I had a five-minute conversation with a woman named Susan, whose simple words over a decade ago changed my prayer life forever. “There is never a wasted time of prayer,” she told me.
Even if I’m distracted and don’t feel anointed or effective, she guaranteed me that three things are happening every time I pray: (1) Things in the heavens are shifting, (2) I am being changed, and (3) God’s heart is being deeply moved. That day began a journey of confidence to keep coming before God in prayer.
If you struggle with discouragement when it comes to your prayer life, I’d like to share these insights that have kept me pressing into God in prayer despite how I feel in the moment:
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1. We can approach the throne of grace with confidence when we know God is moved by our prayers.
Sometimes a lack of confidence that God is pleased with me or that He will even hear my prayers will determine whether or not I pray. If I’ve already counted myself out of the game, why would I even show up to play?
However, if you believe that even your weakest, most uninspired prayers make a difference, your desire to persist in prayer will increase. And since prayer is a form of worship (and natural companion to it), “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
Though your love may feel weak, it’s real in His eyes. He loves even your weakest attempt to spend time with Him. The times when you’re most distracted, God sees the intention of your heart and is moved by it.
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2. You have permission to pray for your own heart.
Someone once asked me, "How often do you pray for your own heart as a leader?”
The question shocked me because honestly, I never really did. Wasn’t praying for myself a prideful thing for me to do? Well, no. Communing with God and asking Him to intervene on your behalf is modeled throughout Scripture. It took me a long time to get to a place of admitting that I actually needed to pray for myself.
How many times have you prayed for yourself, for wisdom in your decision-making, or for grace in dealing with people?
Several years ago, I began making this a normal part of my prayer time and I’ve seen tremendous fruit from it. Not only have I grown on a personal level in areas like patience, stewardship, and servanthood, but my perspective of those I lead has changed as well, as I have grown to see them more like Jesus does.
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Here are some of my favorite prayers that I recommend that you pray over yourself:
Pray for strength in your inner self: God, grant me according to the riches of Your glory to be strengthened with might by Your spirit in my inner man, that I would know the width, length, depth, and height of Your love (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Pray for wisdom with your time: Lord, I believe that I can do all things because You strengthen my heart. Teach me how to rearrange and reorder my life to make time to stand before You (Philippians 4:13).
Pray for help to become more of a servant-leader: Lord, show me ways that I can serve others and lay down my life for them. Help me to consider others better than myself (Philippians 2:5-8).
Pray for your love to increase: Lord, let my love abound more and more for those I interact with daily. Give me insight, knowledge and discernment into how to better serve and love those You’ve placed in my life (Philippians 1:9-11).
Pray for help to wisely steward what He gives you: Lord, help me manage the people and resources that You’ve given me, that I would serve well and lead with excellence (Psalm 39:4-6; Psalm. 90:12; 1 Peter. 4:10).
Pray for greatness before His eyes and not the eyes of men: Lord, I want to be great in Your eyes and have eternal rewards in the age to come, so help me to serve now and be like You, Jesus, for You came to serve and not to be served (Matthew 20:25-28).
Pray for righteousness to abound in your life: Lord, lead me in paths of righteousness. Let everything I say and do be grounded in righteousness, love, and truth. The enemy is seeking to get me off course, so I will lean into Your strength and You will make my way straight (Psalm 5:8). Help me to study and meditate on Your Word daily, for it is the light that lights my way (Psalm 119:105).
Pray for help to remain in the secret place: Help me to remain faithful in coming before You in secret. I don't want to try to get oil while I’m leading and serving others; I want to get oil as I sit alone before You in the secret place (Psalm 32:8).
Pray for an increased Spirit of prophecy: Lord, help me to speak things over others that strengthen, encourage, and comfort them on their journey with You (1 Corinthians 14:3) and faithfully testify about You (Revelation 19:10).
Pray for creative ideas: God, give me creative ideas of how to minister to and communicate with to others. There are so many unique people and personalities that I don't understand, but You do (Philippians 2:5-8).
Pray for grace to follow His leadership: Lord, help me to trust You with all of my heart and not lean on my own understanding, but inquire of You. I trust and believe that You are directing my path (Proverbs 3:5).
Pray for a sustained heart in the mundane: Lord, I recognize that living for You is not possible outside of Your grace. I don't want to get burned out serving you. Sustain my heart to walk with strength for months and years to come (Colossians 1:11-12).
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3. Praying for God’s divine order in your life changes everything.
A leader once told me to start praying this prayer over every aspect of my life and it has literally been life-changing for me. He told me to pray for divine order in my work, friendships, family, finances, etc.
Divine order is synchronization between God’s plans and yours that can only happen when you invite Him into the planning process.
Ultimately, it is when you realize that you are a simply a steward set here by God to care for and manage that which is already His. This prayer has given me peace about every aspect of my life (professional and personal). Although His will for my life isn’t always what I would have chosen, I can eventually see the good in every situation and circumstance.
This prayer has given me confidence not only in God’s love for me, but in His leadership over my life. Praying this way has expanded my heart, caused me to love Jesus more, opened my mind to His perspective, and truly helped remove the entitlement, offense, disappointment, and stagnancy that affected my heart as a worship leader.
Praying for divine order looks something like this:
“Lord, divinely order my friendships. Bring friends who will sharpen me like iron and take friends out of my path who may not be the best for me. Divinely order my finances. Show me where to give my money, when to sow, and when to store. Lord, Your plan for my life is perfect and I want to get out of the way and allow You to lead me. Let Your will be my will.”
Justin Rizzo is a worship leader, songwriter, author, and composer. He was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, where he developed a passion and love for music at an early age. He began playing a variety of instruments and started leading worship at age 12. He has released five albums and been featured on multiple compilation projects along with writing and producing two full-length musicals. In addition, he travels extensively to lead worship and speak at conferences and events around the world. Justin is currently based in Kansas City, Missouri, where he serves as a worship leader, songwriter, composer, and blogger.Visit justinrizzo.com for more worship team resources including Justin’s free e-book “10 Keys to Being a Successful Worship Leader."