Prayer is vital in the life of Christ followers. It’s the way that we communicate with God, and it’s how we intercede on behalf of others. Scripture tells us that we have a “Great High Priest” (the Holy Spirit) who goes before God on our behalf (Hebrews 4:14-16). As believers, we are also intercessors for people in our lives. We are given not only the opportunity and responsibility, but the privilege of praying for people and situations. Prayer is a crucial spiritual discipline in our lives but can be challenging to put into practice.

I have a lot of friends who journal their prayers. It’s something I’ve tried off and on, but it’s hard for me. My friend Jackie blogged about using a prayer box to organize and keep track of prayer requests, and it’s something that I’ve just started to use in my own prayer life. I love it so far! {Check out this link to her blog for specific instructions on using a prayer box}

prayer box mmc

So often, people ask us to pray for something, but we never write it down or remember to actually pray for the need. By writing it down you can keep track of what you’re praying for and see how God answers prayers. One of my favorite things to do is to go back and see God’s faithfulness and His hand at work over time. When you keep a record of requests you’re praying for, it’s easy to see what He’s up to.

Here are just a few ways to help you develop the practice of prayer in your life:

  • If you feel comfortable and are able, get on your knees or lay prostrate on the floor when you pray. Your physical posture is one way you can express the posture of your heart.
  • Praise God for who He is – don’t just start asking God to do things for you. Acknowledge who he is and all that he has done.
  • Pray specifically. God cares about details and wants to know what’s on your heart.
  • Confess your sins. Just be honest and lay it all out there. It can be really hard to do, but hear the truth of 1 John 1:9 when it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  • Integrate Scripture into your prayer as a way of speaking God’s promises back to him and declaring truth.
  • Follow the model of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-14)
  • Pray out loud. I often do this on my way to work in the mornings. It’s easy to get distracted when we only pray silently, but there’s power in the name of Jesus and in speaking our prayers out loud.
  • Surrender your prayers to God and leave them at his feet. While it’s easy to pray that God would answer prayers in a specific way, we have to trust him with the outcome. This is much easier said than done, but in the words of my oh-so-wise mom, “I trust the Lord way more than I trust myself.”
  • As you pray for answers and for his will, pray that your will would be aligned with his. The more we seek God and follow him wholeheartedly, the more our will starts looking less and less like a list of our wants and desires, but looks like God’s desires for us.
  • “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)

Often, waiting can be the most challenging part of prayer. We wait because we trust. As we wait, we give glory to the One who created us, formed us, and still communicates with us… through his Word and through prayer.

“Waiting on God ascribes to God the glory that He is all to us.” -Andrew Murray

Books on Prayer:

Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

Mary Margaret headshotMary Margaret is an Event Project Coordinator on the Church Education Ministry team at LifeWay. She works alongside Chris Adams and coordinates training events for women’s ministry leaders like YOU Lead and the Women’s Ministry Forum. Mary Margaret has served several churches in the area of Girls Ministry and she recently completed a Master of Arts in Christian Education at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In her spare time, she writes for Story of My Life - her personal blog.

Comments

  1. As a visual person/learner … I currently post photos of prayers and answers to prayers in one place. A visual reminder for me. I am so patiently waiting for our new church people directory to come out, so I can buy an extra copy and cut it up … so I can post em up member by member and pray.

  2. Thank you, Mary Margaret. These were very good suggestions. You keep up the good work.

  3. This is a season in my life where I know I need to focus on my prayer life. Thank you so much for this confirmation!!

  4. Such a well done and practical list of suggestions! Thanks so much.

    Blessings,
    Dori

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