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Some time ago I found myself cranky, angry and generally uncomfortable. There was a nagging thought in my mind that just wouldn’t let go. I went about my days feeling like there was something amiss, something that required my attention but I couldn’t place a finger on it. Then one morning, as I closed my Bible and made to get up and go about my day, it hit me—my prayer life has gotten boring and humdrum.
I’d read a few Bible verses and say a few words of rushed prayers. My mind would even wander while I was praying. And then I’d get up and go, still feeling miserable and at a loss as to what was wrong.
Frankly, I’m happy this happened to me because it’s a wake-up call to be intentional about my prayer time. I believe it is not a good sign of our spiritual state when we’re far from God and don’t even know it.
But how do we strengthen our prayer life? What can we do to make sure we’re giving our best to setting time aside to talk to God and listen to His voice?
These 4 strategies have helped me tremendously:
When my life is all about me, my job, my health, my work I find it easier to mumble a few words and just keep it moving, especially when things are going great. These days I make it a duty to pray for people in my life whom I know need it. I intercede on their behalf, talk to God about the things they have spoken to me about, or I have observed.
I find that it is easier to get the best out of a ‘meeting’ when you are intentionally prepared for it. You’re alert, and your mind is on the business at hand. Same goes with prayer time. If possible, have a dedicated place to pray and commune with God. If it works for you, have a devotional or study guide that helps you really dig into God’s Word, not just read a few thoughts written by someone else. Then set aside time to pray and talk to God after study time. The quieter it is, the more you can concentrate. Timing is also crucial. Are you more alert in the mornings? Then schedule your prayer time early in the day. Do you have more time and focus after the day’s activities are over? Evening time should work best for you.
The goal isn’t to check your prayer time off the list as another activity but to treat it as a special time where you get to talk to your Father and hear His heart for you.
Do you ever feel like you run out of words to say in prayer? You thank God for the day ahead; ask Him to guide your steps and help you live for Him; ask Him for wisdom for that troubling situation at home or at work. Then you thank Him for your family and friends…then what? Sit there and hope you hear an audible voice? I know how confusing that can be.
However, I have found that praying the Scriptures is a great way to pray God’s heart for you instead of using vain repetitions. [See Matthew 6:7] How do you do this? Simply go to the scripture that has spoken to you lately. Study it to see beyond the surface. Then, when you’re ready to pray, take one verse at a time, begin to apply it and ask God how He wants that scripture to be evident in your life. With time, you’ll get better at praying those scriptures in your own words and truly pouring your heart out to God. It might feel rote at first, but your spirit will get refreshed as you spend time in God’s presence.
It is crucial to know how God speaks to you. Don’t put Him in a box. Prayer goes beyond speaking to God and telling Him everything you want. He wants to speak with you, too and He just might do that through the scriptures, through dreams, at church, through someone else, an urgency in your spirit, etc.
Pay attention. Fix your mind on Him. Eliminate distractions around you, so your heart is in tune with Him.
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Remi Roy lives, writes and enjoys being in Dallas, Texas. Originally from Nigeria, she is passionate about her purpose which is following God every step of the way no matter the details. She is a contented wife, communications consultant and writing coach. She is the author of two books Ms. Unlikely and From the Sidelines and editor of Purpose Anthologies, a collection of personal life journeys. When she’s not working with clients, she spends time working on her next book and trying hard to be a morning person. You can find her at remiroyonline.com. Or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.