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What comes to mind when you think of the things that are vital to your spiritual growth? For me, it’s reading the Bible, learning from other believers and having open communication with God. The value of prayer has been impressed on me since I was a little girl. I learned what honest prayers sounded like from my parents and siblings. I learned methods of prayer from the Christian school I attended. But we can have head knowledge about something and not really understand it in our hearts. It’s when we humble ourselves before God, express our need for Him and see Him working in our lives that we finally grasp the power of prayer. If prayer isn’t a part of your day you are missing out! Here are 5 easy ways I’ve found to incorporate prayer into my daily life:
I memorized Philippians 4:6-7 a few years ago when my small group studied the topic of worry. At the time, I was overwhelmed with my job situation and found myself reciting this passage every time I caught myself being tempted to worry.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
These verses provide directions on what to do when you’re faced with worry: pray for help and give God thanks as you tell Him what’s on your heart. When you place your worries in God’s hands and trust Him to handle it, His peace—which is beyond anything we can ever understand—will protect you. My prayer after I recite this passage goes something like this: God, I’m having a hard time not worrying about ___. Thank you for caring about my heart and for being in control. Please take this worry away and help me to trust in You. Let me feel Your peace flow through me and protect me from future worry. Amen.
Earlier this year I made a commitment to pray more frequently for my husband and our marriage. I spoke to a friend about it, and she suggested I subscribe to receive daily prayers from Unveiled Wife. This subscription has been such a blessing to me, and I highly recommend it! There are also various prayer apps you can download on your phone, such as Christian Prayer App (also available through the iTunes store). I don’t recommend only praying when your computer or phone alerts you to do so, but I like having a reminder to pray for something specific. On that note…
When a friend of mine was in a near-fatal car accident, our church asked for volunteers to sign up to pray over her for a half hour each day. Enough people signed up that we not only covered Lorrie-Anne in prayer for 24 hours a day, but also had multiple people praying for her each hour. I signed up for 11:00-11:30 a.m., a time that I spent driving from my base high school to a different high school in the county. I prayed for her recovery, for her faith, for her family’s finances, and for my own safety on the road. Even now, a decade later, I find myself thinking of Lorrie-Anne when I drive along that familiar stretch of road. Through the years I’ve used my lunch break to pray for missionaries and my shower time to pray for healthy pregnancies for my friends and myself. If it helps, use a visual cue like a ribbon around your steering wheel or a note taped to your bathroom sink.
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:16 (NIV)
How many times have you promised to pray for someone but then completely forgot about it? I’m ashamed to say this used to happen to me a lot. I don’t know what finally flipped a switch in my head, but I vowed to only say “I will pray for you” if I knew I would follow through. I can’t tell you how much this simple change has affected my prayer life for the better! Now I start to pray the minute after I receive a “please pray” text or phone call. My prayer also includes a request that God would remind me to continue to pray over the specific person or situation, and He is always faithful in prompting me!
If you’ve ever wondered why Christians pray before meals, it’s because we are following Jesus’ example.
“And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.” Matthew 14:19 (NIV)
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." Luke 22:19 (NIV)
I’m guilty of foregoing praying before a meal so that I can dig right in. Or I might say, “ThankyouJesusforthisfoodAmen!” super fast. I don’t think I’m the only one, but I hope we can all agree that this isn’t how we should pray. Of all of the prayer habits I’ve mentioned, this one should come the easiest to me—after all, I grew up praying before meals. Sadly, my actions show that I’ve allowed this practice to become commonplace, almost like a little chore I need to check off my list. Praying should NOT be a chore! I think we allow prayer to feel this way when we are focused on our busy schedules (and before meals, our rumble-y stomachs). Let’s try to put the focus on God and the good things He has done for us. Even if you’ve had a horrible day, God is in control, and that’s something to be thankful for!
Do you currently practice any of these prayer habits, or have habits of your own to share? How have you seen God work through your prayer life?
Laura Rennie lives in Maryland with her hilarious husband and constantly shedding dog. She loves reading, writing and playing word games. Her greatest desire is to share Jesus through her words and actions as she learns how to be a better wife, daughter, sister and friend.