Learning how to pray can be seriously tough. Are you trying to be more purposeful and intentional about praying, but you find yourself stuck? Maybe you're bored — maybe you get distracted. Maybe you find yourself repeating the same things over and over. Oh girl — I've been there. More times than not, these types of frustrations will push us to not pray. We may get discouraged and just throw in the towel altogether. But we should want more than that.
What if you want a purposeful and Spirit-filled prayer life? What if you want to communicate with God everyday and feel peace and joy from those times? I've found that these steps help my prayer walk and I pray they encourage you to want to pray hard and never stop. My prayer is that these steps will transform your life and show you what true prayer is — just spending time with your Father. Once we switch our perspective from dread to praise, we will jump for joy at the chance to spend time with God! So if you feel like there's room for improvement in this department — (I'm right there with ya) — keep reading.
Purposeful Prayer in 6 Steps
1.) Keep it simple!
Often times, we hear our pastors or others pray long and eloquent prayers and we think that we have to do the same. That isn't the case! There's nothing wrong with eloquent prayers, but there's nothing in the Bible that tells us that God only accepts lengthy, grammar-filled prayers. Now, I'm not saying to dishonor God by just mumbling a few words in the name of simplicity. God deserves all the honor in the world when we pray — heck, we're having a conversation with the Most High! But keep it simple: let the words be your words, from your heart. God just wants to have a conversation and the more we pray, the more comfortable we will feel with what we say.What I have found helpful for me is to pray every single morning after my reading for 10-15 minutes. The reason why I chose 10 minutes is because it's doable — we can always give at least 10 minutes. Then, I try to be constantly aware of the Lord and how He works throughout my day and look for opportunities to talk to Him!
2.) Think of prayer as a lifestyle.
When I grew up, I thought that prayer was just something that happened after your Bible reading, dinner times, before bed and so on... Well, I was sadly mistaken. Prayer isn't just something that you do on "special occassions" or at set times. Prayer is a lifestyle — it should be like walking, talking and breathing.
What has helped me over the years is to remember that prayer isn't an obligation; it's an opportunity and it should be just as important to me as oxygen is. I've found that whenever something good happens, immediately praise God for it in prayer. When something bad happens or a friend reaches out, step back and quick shoot up a prayer. When prayer becomes our first reflex, it will become an irreplaceable part of our life. It will become a reflex — just like smiling is after you see someone you love. 😊1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us that we should pray without ceasing. That's a lot, right haha?! Well, God knows thats impossible for us distractable and flawed humans but the goal is to always be in communication. Ideally, we want to get to the point where we wake up and pray. When we go about our days and pray. When we end our day and pray.
3.) Pray from your heart and pray with confidence.
God knows you and He knows your heart — He formed you in your mother's womb (Psalm 139) so He knows every single part of who we are. We are His children; He has created us. So, pray from the heart with complete honesty, because God already knows what's on your heart and mind. He just wants to hear it from you! Pray with confidence — not the type of confidence that is cocky or self-seeking. What I mean by confidence, is confidence that God hears you. Whenever we pray in God's name and in submission to His will and power, we can be confident that He hears us (1 John 5:14).
4.) Begin prayer with praise and then supplication.
It's easy to begin a prayer with a mile-high list of our needs, wants and desires. I'm so guilty of this, but we should really seek to begin prayer with praise. After all, God is good, holy, righteous, lovely and deserves to praised because of who He is and what He does! What I have found is that beginning your prayers with praise helps set the atmosphere and humbles our spirit to His power. David says in Psalms over and over that it is good to praise God's name! Praise is so good when we recognize that God is holy. Remind yourself of how amazing God is and how much He deserves.
Then, make supplication second. Supplication is basically the act of making your requests and needs known to God. These are our wants, needs and requests. There is nothing wrong with praying for ourselves or for others: God cares about our anxieties, worries and requests! (1 Peter 5:7) Nothing is too big for God. No request or problem is too much for Him. Ask God for help on your behalf and others — do this often!
5.) Ask for forgiveness.
Repent is a big word in the Christian community. It sounds a little harsh, but hey, it's a big part of reality. Let me break this down: Sin is a real thing. We all do it. We all make mistakes and we all do things that God doesn't like. Even if we have "good intentions", we still mess up and we still need forgiveness and restoration from God. Sin separates us from God, and if we are really seeking to love and follow Him, we will want to be rid of anything that separates us from His goodness!Make it a priority to confess your sins and mistakes. Acts 3:19 says, "Repent, then, and turn to the Lord, so that your sins may be wiped out." Ask for strength to resist the urge to do whatever caused you to sin in the first place.
6.) Be thankful always and expect a response.
This is simple — thank God for who He is. Thank Him for what He has done. Once you've made your requests and laid down your worries to God, get rid of them. Leave them at His feet and then thank Him for hearing you. Thank Him for everything — even the smallest things. There's always something to be thankful for, even if life seems pretty dumpy.Lastly, be expectant. Let's be honest: How often do we pray and actually expect a response from God? Sometimes, we think that God doesn't answer us but maybe it's a problem of listening... Ready yourself to listen for an answer.
God doesn't always answer in a big, blinking neon sign; sometimes its in the quiet and the most unique ways. (Examples: The Bible, other people etc.) We just have to have the ears to listen. I pray that these simple steps will refresh you in ways that will be beneficial for your prayer life. I pray that you will seek the Lord and ask Him for His help to be a diligent prayer warrior: He will deliver. All He wants is to talk to you! 💗