Five tips to help you deepen your prayer life.
By Mary Lou Carney, Chesterton, Indiana
Prayer. We know it’s good for us, a healthy habit we want to include in our lifestyle. But do you really appreciate the awesome power of prayer? How can you deepen your prayer life, make it more vital and energized? These five tips can help:
- Move beyond just asking.
Of course, we should ask the Lord for what we need. He encourages, “Ask and it will be given you” (Matthew 7:7). But suppose you had a friend who never spoke to you unless he was asking you for something. Wouldn’t that be a strange friendship? Incorporate praise into your prayers; read the Psalms aloud; thank God for his wisdom and guidance. And don’t forget that prayer time is also for confession…and forgiveness.
- Learn to listen.
When Jesus visited Mary and Martha, Mary did Jesus the honor of simply sitting and listening to his matchless words. And he said Mary had “chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42). Remember: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Find a quiet place and sit with your feet flat on the floor, your hands resting lightly in your lap. Breathe deeply and, as you silence your thoughts, invite God to speak to you.
- Let God love you.
Spend part of your prayer time thinking only of how good and gracious the Lord is. “One thing have I desired of the Lord,” said David, “… that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4). “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Even if you feel unlovable, know that your Heavenly Father loves you a great deal. Ask him to show you the many ways he has loved you in the past; trust him to continue loving you.
- Practice positive affirmation.
Bring your problems to God and leave them there. Don’t keep mentally going over them. Instead, believe that he will provide the right solution. Picture a good outcome. Pray with David, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). Believe that good things are headed your way, and they will Your optimism and prayer will draw them to you.
- Pray without ceasing.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul exhorts us to praycontinually. While it is good to have a regular time and place for prayer, we can pray anywhere, at any time. Realize that God is always with you. The more you pray, the more you will wantto pray. Live in the spirit of thankfulness, faith, affirmation and praise, and you may discover that your whole life is one continuous, joyous prayer.
Prayer is more than a habit; prayer is purpose and power. Begin this very day to make it so in your life!