So You Want to Pray Better?

Praying is just as much a skill as any communication. It doesn’t take a degree in speech to do it but there are certainly some skills we can hone to make our prayer life more beneficial and meaningful.  Every person is different and we all have varying abilities.  Praying comes very easy for some while it is a difficult practice for others.  One thing is for certain we can all get better at it.

Here are a few suggestions that might help you:

Location, Location, Location. There are so many distractions that steal our concentration, especially if we are trying to pray.  Choose a quiet place away from the noise of the world.  Turn off the TV, radio, telephone ringer and anything else that could disturb your conversation with God.  Jesus even suggested your closet.  Not a bad idea for many reasons.  Praying in seclusion will keep the performer from public displays of faux piety.  It also helps us avoid common obstacles to attention.

It is Now Time For All Good Men To Pray.  Schedule specific times to pray.  Yes, unless you budget time you will lose the opportunity to pray.  It is never a bad idea to schedule a recurring time.  Good habits can be made when we practice them regularly.

Make it a time when you are fresh and awake.  Mornings are not that time for me.  I do mundane things early in the day because my best brain function comes only after a few hours of activity.  Late night isn’t real good for me either, for I often drift off to sleep before I can finish everything I need to speak to God about.

Lunch time and shortly thereafter work best for me.  I look at as an opportunity to feed the mind and spirit.  I am wide awake, have all my mental acuteness ready to focus on my prayer.

I am certainly not saying that you need to pray just once per day.  We can have short conversations with God anytime and all the time.  But the dedicated conversation time where I can go over my prayer list is a definite appointment in my day planner.

Lists and A Journal. I have a several lists that I pray over regularly.  Some are people, some are events, some are personal pleas for spiritual growth and forgiveness.  Often I will rotate my lists so that I don’t pray on auto pilot.

I have one list of Church needs, this includes the sick, the leaders, the teachers, my vision for the family, intercessory prayer for the weak.  I keep the list in list form so I can be fresh as I pray through.

I also have a list for family,our health, spiritual growth, opportunities for further service in the Kingdom, forgiveness, blessings for parents, siblings and offspring, special needs that always arise.  This list helps me stay on task and include everyone I need to be praying for.

I also have a list that deals primarily with thankfulness.  I try to list specific things, people, blessings and opportunities given me by the Lord.  It helps me to see just how much God is working in my life.  As I go through the list there will be other blessings that come to mind that I put into a journal.

I have a friend who writes out almost word for word the prayers she prays.  She collects them in a book and reviews them periodically.  It is a log of the spiritual blessings and growth in her life.  She is able to pray with deeper appreciation for all the ways God has answered her prayers.

My lists serve much of the same purpose.  I use a stenographer’s pad and record the prayer in one column and as I see the answer  I record it in the second column.  It’s a good idea to save these notes for future reading.  I am so amazed at the joy I  experience seeing God’s work done in my life.

Lord willing I’ll give a few more ideas as time allows.  The best advice I’ve ever heard about prayer originates with Paul the apostle.  “Pray without ceasing.”  Pray often and then pray more often.

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