Prayer, there is that word again. It raises a lot of questions. Why do I pray? How do I pray? Why do I feel so much fear and anxiety when praying. How can I spend more time in prayer? These were the thoughts that flowed through my head.
When I first became a Christian, I always struggled to pray and connect with the Lord. I was afraid to pray in front of people and did not prioritize my prayer time. It was one of my biggest insecurities and fears. When asked to pray, I always turned my head the other way. I was like, not me.
Many Christians feel like this, but God does not want us to be afraid. God calls us to pray, intercede for others and allow him to work through us as we pray.
Over the last six years, the Lord has helped me learn how to cultivate a healthy, consistent prayer life. Jesus has taught me how to pray. Now, I am filled with His presence, listening to him, and enjoying our prayer time.
Here are four WAYS to help you cultivate a healthy and consistent prayer life:
Set up intentional times to pray during the day
We often say we will pray, but we always come up with some excuse, and we never actually pray. So, setting up intentional times to pray during the day is crucial. It will help get you in the habit of praying every day.
You have to pray and ask God what times are best for you to pray. For example, I set up a time every morning to pray. Sometimes I go to the park and pray, or I would wake up a little early and pray at work in the parking lot.
Not only does praying and doing my devotion in the morning set me up for my day, but it puts my heart and spirit in position when I go out to the battlefield.
I also set up a time to pray in the evening after work. My car is like my prayer closet. I do not know if you have watched the movie War Room, but I recommend having a place where you can pray. For me, that place is my car. You can also create a prayer list. I have a prayer list inside my journal; God has begun to answer my prayers. And I can mark down when God answered them with the date next to it.
Prayer is so beautiful, and God can work through our prayers. I remember the Lord had put on my heart to pray for a particular unsaved family member. I prayed almost every single day for four years for that person. And that person gave their life to the Lord this year. And I had the opportunity to join God through prayer to see His beautiful work. Yes, it was all Jesus and His working.
Matthew 6:6~ But when you pray, go into your room; and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
In this verse, the word room in Greek is tameion, which means; an inner storage chamber or a secret room. This verse encourages us to pray in secret. That means going to a place free of distractions, where you have listening ears with God. It will help you to receive special spiritual blessings. It is where you develop a sincere relationship with God; without doing it for the approval of people watching.
2. Learn to pray throughout the day and be open to praying with people.
We have to look beyond these certain times to pray and know that it is okay to pray throughout the day. For example, maybe during your lunch break, you start praying and thanking God for all He has done for you. Also, you witness someone going through a stressful time at work, and you want to lift up a prayer for them. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and how he wants to use you and move through you.
I remember years ago I just arrived at work. I saw one of my coworkers. He was very stressed out and angry about a situation between him and someone else. He was on the verge of quitting. And I saw him begin to pray, and I asked him if he wanted me to pray for him. He said yes, please! I was so afraid to pray, but I humbled myself; I was obedient to what I felt led to do. A week later, he told me how much he appreciated that prayer. He said, Amanda, whenever you started praying, I felt every ounce of anger begin to leave my body. I was overwhelmed because I knew the Holy Spirit was working through me. I had no idea what God was doing to this man. But that shows you the power of prayer and how God uses prayer.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18~ 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
In this verse, the apostle Paul tells us to pray continually. What exactly does he mean when he says that? Paul is saying to be aware that God is constantly with you. That God is present in whatever you are doing and thinking. So, throughout the day, we should carry this attitude. Whenever a thought comes up not aligned with the Bible, at that moment, we can take it captive and pray. Praying should become like breathing for believers.
3. Stand on scripture when praying
Standing on the word of God when we pray is needed. The bible tells us how we should pray. We need to stand in truth for different situations when praying. And the only way we’re going to know the truth is if we’re reading the word of God. Everything we need is in the word of God. Doing this will help raise our faith and help our prayers be more powerful when we’re standing on the truth of God.
*Make sure that you have healthy motives when you’re praying. Sometimes we don’t get our answers when we pray because our heart is not in the right place. We’re asking God for things with the wrong motives. Motives to satisfy our selfish desires or fleshly desires. So, allow God to show if there’s any sin or selfish motive in your heart. Then, surrender those things to the Lord and ask for forgiveness.
Philippians 4:6-7 ~6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
God tells us not to be anxious about anything but pray about those things. Whenever I’m feeling anxious; or something is troubling me, I pray. I invite the Lord into that place so that his peace that passes all understanding will fill me and cover me in the name of Jesus.
Psalm 119:105 ~Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
God’s word is a powerful guide to help us stay on the right path in this dark world. So it makes perfect sense to stand on the word and use scriptures as we pray.
4. Make Room for Jesus to Speak to You through Scripture
As humans, we love to run the show and to hear ourselves talk. But when it comes to prayer, we cannot go into it with that mindset. Jesus runs the show. So, you need to make space for the Holy Spirit to lead you in your prayer time. Jesus can speak to you, direct you, and give you instructions through the word. He can also bring things to your remembrance. So, we need to be sensitive in the spirit to these things.
So, I know we get all excited when we have all our prayer requests in our minds. We want to share everything with God. There is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but be open to allowing God to speak through the bible.
Ask yourself this question. Do you listen to God during your prayer time? Or are you doing all the talking? Don’t rush this time with God. Even if it’s a few minutes, be still and listen to God. Open the Bible so God can speak to you and show you things. But we must give him space to do so.
2 Timothy 3:16 ~”All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and training in righteousness so that we can be equipped for every good work.”
Scripture comes from God, He is the Word. So, whenever we read the scripture, it is as if God is speaking to us. So as we pray and read scriptures, God speaks to us.
I pray that this has encouraged you to prioritize your prayer time. Once you build a consistent prayer life it will truly enrich your walk with God.