I have read many books on prayer lately. But one thing that I learned is that you can read all the books in the world on prayer, but you still have to put it into practice for it to be useful! For me, forming a habit and staying organized were essential. Here are some methods and tools that I have used in my prayer life recently.
I like to keep a prayer list. I simply use paper and pen to write out names of people who need prayer, as well as particular concerns in my own life. I find a list to be helpful because I might not always remember different people or topics that I intended to pray about. And I also have this list on my phone so I can access it anytime and anywhere. A list can become quite long. So don’t feel obligated to get through all items every day. You could categorize high priority items that need prayer daily. Then some of the other items you can rotate through during a week’s time.
I am not a talkative person. So even in prayer, I struggle to find words to say. I might not always know what to pray about, or I might not always have the words. So one thing I have been using periodically is the prayer I posted at the beginning of the year. It is a comprehensive list of different needs which we might pray about. I have used this to pray for myself and also for loved ones. I printed this post out on paper to keep it handy, and I also added the hyperlink to my favorites on my phone so I can access it electronically.
There are many wonderful prayer devotionals as well. These are excellent resources to help you focus on prayer and to add a little variety to your prayers.
Most often I pray silently. But I confess that my mind does wander sometimes. So I also like to pray aloud as a means to keep myself focused. Usually I will only do this in the car when driving alone, so that only God will hear me!
Side note: One important thing to remember about prayer is that it is a conversation. When we converse with others, it is a two-way street. We will talk some, and the other person will talk some as well. As it is in prayer as well. So we have to remember to include listening to God anytime we communicate with Him.
You might consider incorporating prayer into your exercise routine. If you walk, jog, or cycle – those are all great times to pray. I especially like praying outdoors because I feel closer to God in nature. But this works on indoor equipment as well. And it will help your exercise time to go by faster and not be quite so boring!
Some people like to keep a prayer journal. This is another good way to keep yourself focused. However, personally, I don’t normally write out my prayers because it takes longer to write than it does to just speak to God. But I will write out certain prayers, if something in particular is weighing on my heart or if it is something I wouldn’t mind keeping record of.
As I mentioned in a previous post, during Lent I did write out prayers in a Write The Word journal by Cultivate What Matters. In these journals the majority of my prayers were focused on particular Bible verses. This was a good way for me to combine Scripture and prayer. Doing this has so many benefits. It helps the Bible to have more meaning as we apply it to our lives. And it helps us make our prayers more meaningful as well.
I do keep a gratitude journal and there is one way that this helped me to stay on track with my prayers recently. On days when I prayed, I have been putting a check mark and the word “Pray” next to it. This is a simple way to keep myself accountable. Another option is to put a sticky note somewhere that you will see it every day. I fear that many days we hit the ground running and prayer can easily become an afterthought. So try to think of ways you can remind yourself to pray each day, or even throughout the day.
These are a few things that I have had to keep in mind over the last several months as I’ve tried to improve my prayer life. Different things work for different people. For me, I like to keep things simple and keep tools handy, otherwise I might feel overwhelmed. I hope you will give this some thought to see how you might make changes in your prayer life. Doing so will help you to make prayer a daily habit, which will result in cherished moments with the Lord.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. – Psalm 145:18
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas