Three Keys to a Better Prayer Life

Pray consistently, priortize quality over quantity, and have a prayer list

“Praying with consistency means having a time (or perhaps several times) during your day in which you take time to pray. I find that my best time of prayer occurs on a prayer walk. I also pray when I first get up every morning, simply thanking the Lord for another day to know and serve Him.”

 

By God’s grace, I’ve been a Christian since I was 4 years old. Over the years my family has gone through many trying situations–my parents’ divorce, mom’s remarriage and dad’s developing dementia. Like you, I am very familiar with the fact that suffering comes on in full, and doesn’t seem to relent. Through the trials of life and my walk with God, I’ve been sustained over and over again by the rich streams of godly teaching on prayer and on the sure footing of a healthy prayer life. Prayer has played an integral role in my own spiritual growth. Through these difficult times I have discovered several aids to a healthy prayer life: praying consistently, viewing prayer in relation to quality over quantity and having a prayer list.

Consistency

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to “pray without ceasing.” Many take this verse to mean they must literally pray unceasingly. While that’s a nice idea, it isn’t quite possible to pray without stopping—ever. What Paul has in mind here is prayer as a regular habit, whereby His people take hold of Him and His promises in all of life. The apostle could charge his readers with this because he had personally exemplified it in his letters to fellow believers (1 Thess. 3:10; 2 Thess. 1:11; Eph. 1:16; 3:14).

Praying with consistency means having a time (or perhaps several times) during your day in which you take time to pray. I find that my best time of prayer occurs on a prayer walk. I also pray when I first get up every morning, simply thanking the Lord for another day to know and serve Him. Throughout the day I stop and pray as I write or work on a message. In order to develop healthy prayer habits in our lives, we first need to realize what time works best for us to pray, and then devote that time to prayer. We often tend to follow the prayer patterns of others and never develop our own. We must learn to use the principle of praying consistency to develop our own prayer habits. Paul’s point in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is that we are to have a regular habit of praying. Think intentionally about and then write out a plan for how you can pray consistently.

Quality Over Quantity

One of the greatest prayer killers is that we think we have to pray for a certain amount of time. You may say, “I’ve spent 5-10 minutes in prayer and tomorrow I’m going to spend 15-30 minutes.” There is nothing wrong with an increasing desire to pray. Luther was known to have spent at least two hours in prayer every day. There is nothing wrong with increasing one’s time in prayer. Where quantity of time in prayer becomes an issue is when we use it to make others feel guilty for not spending time in prayer, or when we compare our lesser times in prayer as being inadequate to those of other believers.

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