Prayer is something I really want to focus on this year.
If I’m being completely honest, I’ve never really been super intentional about my prayer life – or at least not consistently. I mean, I make an effort to pray. And I do my daily quiet times, but I haven’t really spent time consistently pursuing a prayer discipline. Personally, I’m more comfortable journaling or studying or doing something more active than simply sitting in silence and praying – either in my head or out-loud.
All that to say, prayer isn’t an area I feel confident in and it’s one I want to grow. Like most things in my life, my first instinct when I want to work on something is to learn as much as I can about it. So in an effort to motivate myself to focus more on prayer, I took to studying what the Bible and others have to say about it.
I mentioned this on instagram earlier this year, but I spent some time in scripture looking at how and why Jesus prays. I shared a few things I learned in this instagram caption here.
I’m still on a learning adventure, but I did want to take a minute to share a few practical tips I’ve found to be helpful in my effort to focus on my prayer life.
Three practical tips to transform your prayer time
One – Pray Over Your Prayer Time
This seems simple, but what better way to start a conversation with God than asking the Holy Spirit to prepare my heart and pray over my time in conversation with Him. Praying over my time brings focus and helps protect my mind from the millions of distractions and lists my #brightonbrain has constantly running through it. I can pray and ask the Spirit for discernment as I talk with God. A great way to start your time of prayer is by praying, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through your word. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.”
A verse you can pray is:
“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”
Two – Spend Time in Worship
Whatever our heart is turned towards is what we will worship. God is the one worthy of my worship, but my heart so easily drifts away from Him and toward my own desires. When I spend time in praise and worship of God, I reorient my hearts back to His character and His desires for me and away from myself. It gives me an opportunity to dwell on who He is and as a result praise overflows from me. When I understand who God is, I understand who I am and how I get to reflect who He is to the world around me.
Some ways to practice this is listening to your favorite worship music and speaking/writing out praises about who God is and what He has done before you get started in prayer. This was a game changer for my prayer life!
“He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen.”
Three – Pray The Word
If you want to EMPOWER your prayer life – PRAY HIS WORD. I feel so lost on what to pray more often than not, but God has given me his words to pray in scripture. Praying these words will conform my heart to His desires and His character – so how can I go wrong? Claiming his truth over my life in prayer is a no brainer! It hides the truth in my heart and mind so I can think the way God thinks. How AWESOME is that?!
Psalms is a great place to look for a verse because they are meant to be prayed. Find a Psalm you like – read through it several times and meditate on it. What stands out to you? Repeat the verse out loud (it helps, I promise!) and try making it specific by inserting your name or personal pronouns where appropriate. Reword it as a prayer or write it out as a prayer if that works better for you.
“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
If you put these into practice, I have no doubt you will see a powerful shift in your prayer life! REMINDER: God wants to talk with us. If you’re believing anything different, then it’s not the TRUTH. Take these tips and get to praying! I would love to hear how these practices help you as you try them out!
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