5 Meaningful Ways to Restore Your Prayer Life

Jennifer Slattery

Published: Feb 20, 2020
5 Meaningful Ways to Restore Your Prayer Life

Have your prayers become rote and repetitive? Does it seem like you’re constantly stating the same requests and praises again and again, perhaps even with little thought? As a result, has your heart and mind slowly become disengaged?

A while back, this was precisely how I felt. I understood the importance of prayer and the privilege of connecting personally with my Savior and Creator. I also knew the needs I routinely presented, from friends battling cancer and unemployment, to ministry concerns, were important. I wanted to intercede, often, for those I cared about but I wanted to do so while engaged in an intimate conversation with God.  In short, I wanted to revitalize my prayer life.

For those who have begun to feel the same, here are 5 fresh ways to pray:

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1. Plan Your Environment

1. Plan Your Environment

Years ago, a church I attended facilitated a “prayer experience” where they set up various stations. Then, with praise music playing softly, the women’s director invited us to move from one location to the next, praying as prompted. For example, in one room, our leaders had placed a mirror on a lace-covered table. Beside this, they displayed verses proclaiming our identity in Christ. Written instructions told us to read the verses while looking in the mirror. This activity added emphasis to Scripture’s words. 

Try it:

  • Gather journaling supplies, perhaps including pens of different colors.
  • Find a relaxing and comfortable space.
  • Turn on some praise music and play it softly.
  • Light scented candles.

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2. Artistic Prayers

2. Artistic Prayers

A while back, a spiritual formation resident at my church shared how she used art to deepen her experience with Christ. On her day off, she visited a museum. Once there, she approached various pieces prayerfully, asking God what He wanted her to notice or had to say about the painting. The result? That morning, she connected with God on a deep and unique level. What’s more, I suspect she received a fresh appreciation for the Creator of all things beautiful and creative. 

Try it:

  • Set aside a morning or an afternoon.
  • Visit a local art museum or check out art books from your local library.
  • Release all expectations except this: to connect with God through various art pieces.

Photo Credit: © Unsplash/Ilber Franco

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3. Experience Christ through His Creation

3. Experience Christ through His Creation

When our daughter was young, I’d drop her off at school then visit a local park to pray. My beautiful surroundings engaged my senses and drew my heart to my Creator. I could feel His presence in the gentle breeze that stirred my hair and the mid-morning sun that warmed my face. The birds chirping and the sound of wind rustling through the trees reminded me that God was near. Watching clouds drift across the sky, I contemplated God’s brilliance to hydrate our earth. Lying on the soft grass, I sensed His tender care, not just for me, but for the hills and fields that surrounded me. 

I saw God—His heart, power, faithfulness, and wisdom—displayed in everything He made. Like Scripture states, His creation revealed His greatness. “The heavens declare the glory of God’ the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour fourth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 29:1-3, NIV). 

Try it: 

Gather whatever you might need for a relaxing day at the park. 

  • Blanket or folding chair to sit on
  • A journal
  • Bible
  • Pen
  • Water and snacks

Once at your location, meditate on Romans 1:20, which says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen …” (NIV). 

Ask God to help you experience the truth of that verse in that moment. 

  • Enjoy the wind, the scent of flowers or fresh cut grass, and whatever sounds you encounter. 
  • Consider: What invisible qualities of God do your surroundings reveal? Prayerfully tell Him about each one, thank Him, then lose yourself momentarily in the divine melody He sings to your soul. 

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4. Poetic Writing

4. Poetic Writing

When I read through the Psalms, I’m often struck by the imagery displayed. Even more surprising, most of them were written by a strong and powerful warrior, Israel’s second king. One might expect such a man to write straightforward, literal prose, similar to how many of my prayers sound. But no. David created thought-provoking hymns that revealed the depths of the human heart and the glory of God.

In his prayers, David often used metaphors:

  • In Psalm 19:5, he compared the sun to a bridegroom after his wedding and an athlete eager to run.
  • In Psalm 23, perhaps the most often quoted chapter in Scripture, David recalled God’s faithfulness using an analogy of a shepherd leading his sheep across lush, green pastures.
  • In Psalm 29, he said God’s voice “echoes above the sea” and that it’s so powerful it “splits” and “shatters the cedars of Lebanon” (NIV). God “makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;” and “leap like a wild ox.” It strikes “with bolts of lightning” that make “the barren wilderness quake” (v. 4-8).

In each of these examples and more, we see a man expressing and cultivating his love for God through prose. We don’t need to be authors to follow David’s example. We simply need to turn off our inner critic and take the time to allow our creativity to emerge./p>

Try it:

  • Consider a characteristic of God, perhaps His power, wisdom, or presence.
  • List out various ways He’s revealed that trait to you, and thank Him for each one. Create a compare and contrast list for the divine attribute you’re focusing on.

For example, for His presence, in comparison, one could write:

  • As present as the air I breath. As present the sun above.

For contrasts, one could write:

  • More present than the ever ebbing and flowing tide. More present than the clouds drifting past above me.

But remember, the purpose isn’t to create beautiful writing. Rather, you’re deepening your connection with Christ by fully engaging your heart and your soul.

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5. Simply Rest

5. Simply Rest

More often than not, as I turn to God in prayer and sense His presence surrounding and filling me, all my requests evaporate. In that moment, nothing matters more than connecting with Him. I surrender all my concerns and requests to Him, knowing He’s a good Father who will take care of me and those I love. Then, I simply rest and focus entirely on experiencing Him. When my mind begins to wander, I ask Him to help me refocus. 

Whether I have thirty minutes or two doesn’t matter. I find strength and peace whenever I disconnect from the noise all around me and lean into my Father’s embrace. My fears and anxieties are calmed by the knowledge that God knows all, sees all, is working in and through all, and holds my life firmly in His hands. These truths enable me to release all expectations and plans and to simply be. 

Try it:

  • Set your timer for five or ten minutes (shorter if you’ve not practiced the discipline of silence, longer if you have).
  • Lie on the bed or the floor or find someplace comfortable to sit.
  • Close your eyes and focus on God’s presence. 
  • When your mind drifts onto other topics, redirect your thoughts to Him.
  • Ask Him to help you stay focused on Him.

God invites us to come to Him, daily, with all of our needs and worries. He’s not concerned with how eloquent our words are, nor is He bothered when today’s prayer sounds near identical to those we spoke all week prior. But sometimes we easily distracted humans need something to shake up the monotony we’ve created. By setting a contemplative environment, engaging our senses and creativity, and quieting ourselves to simply experience Christ, we can increase the vitality of our prayer life, which in turn could increase how often we engage in this soul-strengthening spiritual discipline.  

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of the Cultivating a Thankful Heart Bible Reading PlanHometown Healing and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event   and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images

Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Originally published Thursday, 20 February 2020.