Getting (back) into prayer!
Many times I’m struck with how little I’m found praying daily. I want to pray more, and I know that my Father wants that too, but I find myself either too lazy, too busy or too anything else to just put some time aside to pray. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this, so I thought I’d put down a few points off the top of my head that encourage me to pray, and as a result, see the results of walking with my Lord daily in frequent communication and fellowship.
I do this when I find myself not having either prayed or read scriptures in weeks or months (yes it happens to you too, climb off your high horse).. I go back to my starting point. It’s similar to when I haven’t gone to gym or exercised in a while – I try not to over do it and set up targets that will disappoint me. This is however much easier than gym because when I pray, I meet with the Holy Spirit, my Counsellor and Encourager. I start with something quite achieve-able: I commit to just 5 minutes a day. Anyone can commit to this, from a busy stay-at-home mom with 6 kids to a top executive running critical businesses (two super-busy examples).
In my starting point, I make sure that there’s one thing I pray each time, and I’ve found it gets answered each time. Let me explain. Normally, when I’m in this dry prayerlessness place in my life, the last thing I feel like doing is praying, even for 5 minutes. It’s sad, but the reality is that my heart is just not in it, and I struggle to get it to cooperate. So what I ask of my Father is this: to give me a hunger for His Word and a thirst for His presence. I tell him that I don’t hunger and thirst for it at the moment, but that I’m hungry TO BE hungry, and I’m thirsty TO BE thirsty, and I ask if He can put that hunger and thirst in me, re-ignite the fire, and to sort out my hard heart and dull ears.
He answers this every time. It’s not about how I feel, that’s not reality, but I know that personally, I find it easier to do something if I want to, and He helps me with that “want to-ness”.
So now that I’ve started, and am getting momentum, I work a bit on keeping this momentum. It’s like swinging a rope with a weight on the end, the most work is required in the beginning, to get it spinning, then just a little effort is needed to keep this going. Keep this image to encourage you to keep it with little effort instead of falling into prayerlessness again and having to go back to the starting point…
So now we should be praying for a couple of minutes daily. This is just a suggestion, not a formula. The bible doesn’t tell us how long to pray for. It does tell us how often we should be praying: always.
- Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing
- Philippians 1:3-4 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
- 1 Corinthians 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,
And what/who should we pray for?
The simple answer to this is for whatever or whoever the Lord lays on your heart. I believe first it’s a great idea to deal with our own hearts, confessing any sin the Holy Spirit shows us, and repenting of anything He lays on our hearts. Then we remember why we are clean before God, because of the blood of Jesus. He is the reason we can even approach God, let us never forget that.
Some things that scripture reminds us to pray for:
- For our government and all people: First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
- For our Christian brothers and sisters: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
- For our enemies and those who persecute us: But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44.
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thess 3:1-3 ESV
I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. May the God of peace be with you all. Amen. Romans 15:30-33 ESV
- For the nations: Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession. Psalm 2:8 NASB
Another idea is this: When a glider takes of, without having an engine and motor itself, it relies on a tug plane to “tow” it across the runway to pick up speed to take off. Spiritually, every now and then, we’ll feel like we have no engine. We’ll need a similar tug plane, to assist us. So it’s fine to also use a good devotional or book on prayer to get started. But remember, that just as the glider gets free of it’s tug plane to fly properly, we too will free ourselves of these tools and delve into deep prayer.
Imagine you have a child, and every time your speak to the child you refer to a book on how you should speak to your child? No, the book may be a guide, but you want to build a healthy loving relationship, speaking freely. God want’s this of us, to get to a point where we know we can freely speak our hearts to Him, and let Him guide, encourage, correct, and just love on us! I’m going to end this now so I don’t eat into your next 5 minutes… you know what to do.
Written by: B.Einkamerer, May 2012.
See also: How to Pray – R.A. Torrey