If you’ve been in the Church long you’ve heard many sermons and lessons about the value of a rich prayer life. Be a Prayer Warrior they tell us! Maybe they have even given you great tips to start it well: stay focused, set a schedule, have a plan, be still, etc.
Have you tried?
Of course you have!!! Any Christian worth their salt has tried to pray more, better, longer, harder…
Does this sound familiar:
I set the clock to wake me 30 minutes earlier. The morning met me with sleepy brain fog and I snoozed past my regular wakeup time. Guilt ridden, in a noisy house (because now the kids are awake) I get up late and finally sit down to pray.
- There is a list in my mind
- I’m praying for my kids, husband, church, lost family and neighbors
- Then I realize I forgot to start with praising God
- So I start over… am I allowed to start over? How did I already mess up?
- Shoot I was supposed to confess my sins somewhere in there… what did I do wrong yesterday?
- I yelled at the kids, ignored my husband, ate when I was sad instead of taking that to God…
Everything is going “fine-ish” until a few minutes later I realize I am making a shopping list and randomly rehashing a conversation from the night before…
Distracted… I can’t get back into the rhythm of prayer.
Discouraged… I feel like I’m just no good at prayer.
Dissuaded… maybe prayer is like a spiritual gift some people get – but it skipped me.
Decided… I’ll just leave prayer to the good Prayer Warriors and go on to the next thing on my list.
For years I was in that cycle. Prayer sounded nice, but it didn’t work for me. I couldn’t focus or stay the course. It sounded boring to sit for hours just thinking to God (which is what I thought prayer was).
Then Everything Changed in my Prayer Life
James 5:16 NASV The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
There came a point – after years of open rebellion – running from God, religion and pain -that I turned back and chose to be a Disciple of Jesus rather than a Christian…
I began to actually read my Bible (instead of just listening to the preacher read his on Sunday while mine collected dust) and study it to learn how Jesus taught us to live. What I saw, time and time again was that we must pray.
When Jesus prayed, things happened. Nothing had happened in the past when I prayed. So I asked:
How did Jesus Pray differently than I was praying:
1. Jesus prayed God’s will
Obviously as God, Jesus knew God’s will but, He also knew the scriptures enough to know God’s will.
Studying the Scripture – gives clarity to my prayer life (2 Timothy 2:15).
It helps me know if my desires are in line with Gods will. Also, It helps me know if my desire doesn’t line up with God’s will.
If I’m real honest, most of the time, my first thought about my needs… are not real godly or righteous. I tend to want things that bring comfort to me life. While God wants me and those in my life to grow spiritually – which often brings discomfort…
James 4:2-3 (NASB) You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask ]with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
As I search the Bible for a verse that I can pray over my desire – and I come up empty handed – I can re-focus, and ask God to show me what I ought to desire and pray that instead.
This is actually how I found the 40 passages that I use to conquer that persistent mindset. I’d love to share them with you in this 40 Day Reading and Journaling Plan.
2. Jesus, prayed believing He was talking directly to God, with confidence and boldness.
Does your prayer life sound bold and confident? I had never done that – my prayers sounded wimpy and whiney.
Jesus believed that God would answer His prayers. God had answered His prayers so He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if his prayer was according to God’s will – God would answer it!
How do we imitate that confidence and boldness in prayer?
As we find verses that line up with God’s will and pray those verses we can know for sure God will answer.
Even if it is not right now or exactly the way we wanted – God will answer.
3 Jesus had seen God answer prayers
I prayed in faith for several years before I saw God answer the first Big prayer on my list – for my husbands salvation
To this day I can remember the Joy and Hope that soared through my soul when he prayed and was baptized. God answered that prayer.
He answered it in a way that – Y’all, there was no denying it was God!
We were at a revival, but the speaker was a former Muslim man was talking about the challenges of serving Jesus in His country. There was not an alter call. There wasn’t a single verse from Romans read…
But Bud says he heard God call his name… and he responded by surrendering his life!
That answered prayer fueled my faith to pray more, bigger, bolder prayers.
Recording those answered prayers gives me something to hold onto – like proof for when the enemy begins to whisper and offer hopelessness and despair.
4 Prayer Journaling Created a Highly Effective Prayer Life for Me.
The game changer came 2 years ago when I finished studying “A Battle Plan for Prayer”. I began to intentionally Prayer Journal.
- Because I have written down my needs and the verse – I can remember what I am praying.
- I can stay focused – and not get distracted.
- It allows me to separate my prayer list by day
- Separating the list makes it manageable
- (instead of feeling overwhelmed with all the things to pray – I do not have hours a day to pray)
- Separating the list makes it manageable
- With the prayers written down I see when God answers.
- I am able to be thankful when I see God answer my prayers
- When hard times come I can more easily remember how Faithful God has been- and hold onto Hope
This year I decided to create my own Prayer Journal. I’d love to share it with you!