One of the greatest gifts we have been given – and often the most overlooked! – is the privilege we have to talk to the God of the universe any time of the day or night. Not only are we allowed to lay out all our troubles before Him, but He actually wants us to!
Unfortunately, however, many of us have been raised with a wrong perspective on prayer. Either we subconsciously view prayer to be unimportant and therefore allow ourselves to become “too busy” for it, or else we legalistically view prayer as something we must check off our to-do list everyday in order to be a “good” Christian. It’s as if we believe the lie that unless we sit still in our favorite chair (or get down on our knees!) for an hour a day, God will be displeased with us. Both notions are false and dangerous.
If you want to begin viewing prayer as important and are needing practical tips for how to make prayer a regular part of your everyday life, read on!
4 Ways to Kickstart Your Prayer Life
- Remember to Whom you are talking.
When you’re praying, you aren’t just releasing words into an empty atmosphere. Your prayers aren’t just bouncing off the walls of your home. Far from it! The God of heaven and earth is listening to every prayer you pray. Even in those times when you don’t even know quite what to say, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are both interceding on your behalf before the Father (Romans 8:34, Romans 8:26). This is an incredible privilege not to be taken for granted. Believers in the Old Testament yearned for the kind of closeness we can enjoy with the Lord today.
When it comes to remembering Who it is we are talking to when we pray, another helpful thing to do is search out Scripture verses on prayer. Certainly look up verses about prayer itself, but also read stories of people in the Old and New Testaments whose prayers were answered in amazing ways (start with some of the stories of Moses and the Exodus!). This can be a big faith-builder and boost to your own prayer life.
- Treat Him as you would a friend.
Don’t view prayer as some legalistic, formal, methodical ritual. That’s a surefire way to put a damper on your prayer life. Instead, approach prayer as your opportunity to talk to your Creator, your greatest Friend (John 15:15), your Savior, and your Love (Jeremiah 31:3, 1 John 4:8). When you begin to view God in those ways, you will find yourself wanting to commune with Him more, just as you would want to keep in touch with your best friend.
- Remember to listen.
We often think of prayer as only us talking to God, but an encouraging reminder that will surely kickstart your prayer life is to realize that prayer is a two-way street. Prayer is even more exciting and life-changing than simply pouring out our hearts before the Lord (as impactful as that is!). If we are willing to be still and listen, oftentimes as we are praying we will be able to sense the Holy Spirit speaking back to us. A sudden thought will pop into our head or we will feel a sudden nudge and pull to do one thing or another. That, my friend, is the Lord speaking back to you! Don’t miss this opportunity to listen to the Lord even as you are speaking to Him.
4. Remember there are no rules or regulations here.
The legalistic myths surrounding prayer which often keep us from cultivating a deep, rich prayer life in the first place include the idea that prayer has to look a certain way – you must pray in a quiet room every day for an hour at a time, you mustn’t ever wrestle with the Lord but instead always speak to Him in a reverent, reserved manner, there are certain things you best not talk about with Him, etc. Each of these ideas are completely unbiblical and a hindrance to a growing prayer life.
We sometimes get hung up on 1 Thessalonians 5:17 where Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. We take that to mean that we are to do nothing but pray and then wonder how to make time for that. This is not what the verse means, however. Paul is speaking more to a posture of prayer as being a regular part of your daily life than He is saying you must pray for hours on end. You can obey the call to pray without ceasing simply by being in communion with God all throughout your day, offering up little prayers here and there for whatever is happening in your life in that moment. That’s better for your relationship, anyway, and further helps to guard against legalism.
The reality, friend, is that prayer is an amazing privilege we have to go before the throne of God anytime of the day or night with our joys, hopes, concerns, worries, and more! Anything you have on your heart can and should be shared with the Lord. He longs to hear from you!