Are you stuck with the feeling that your prayer life is stale, in need of a refresher? Sometimes we get so comfortable with routine that what we do out of habit begins to lose its impact.
Is it time to switch up your prayer practices?
Maybe you always pray the same way, in the same order, at the same time of day. Why not switch it up a little? Here are a few ideas for you to try.
Perhaps you use an acronym when you pray. Instead of always using the same acronym, you might choose a different one every day.
For example, you could rotate through these guides:
Adoration: Tell God how great He is! You might do this through listing attributes of God and praising Him for being Who He is. You might choose to sing along with a worship album. However you do it, remember the One you’re talking to!
Confession: What sins have you been struggling with? How have you chosen disobedience over obedience lately? In what ways have you fallen short of what He has called you to? Talk to Him about it, asking Him to forgive you.
Thanksgiving: How has God shown Himself faithful to you? How has He answered previous prayers? How has He provided for you? This list could get quite long!
Supplication: After focusing on Who God is and what He has done, it’s time to bring your requests. Some of them might seem a bit trivial after thinking about His greatness, but it’s okay! He cares about them all, and He wants you to bring your requests to Him. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Pause: Take time to set aside any distractions. Bring your thoughts under control, and remember what this time is for–a conversation with your Father.
Rejoice/Reflect: 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Always be joyful.” Intentionally think about the ways God has brought joy to your life. What can you thank Him for and revel in? How do God’s character and faithfulness affect your life today?
Ask: Pray for the needs of others and yourself.
Yield: Now it’s time to listen, because conversations go two ways. What is God saying to you? Is there something He’s asking of you? How will you respond?
Adore: Again, this is an opportunity to praise and worship your Creator for Who He is to you. You could pray through a Psalm, sing worship songs, or write a note to Him telling Him how much He means to you.
Love: Jesus told us that the greatest commandment is this: “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (Mark 12:30). This isn’t a love based in gooey emotion, it’s a love based in choice. It’s putting yourself aside and putting another first; in this case, God Himself!
Thank: What can you thank God for?
Ask: What do others need, and what do you need?
Receive: Time to stop and listen! What is God saying to you? How will you act on what He says?
The Lord’s Prayer
Another option we could put into practice is the Lord’s Prayer, as found in Matthew 6:9-13. Many of us memorized this in church growing up, and would recite it as part of our worship services.
But now we can use it as a guide. Think of each phrase as a heading. Pray through it, stopping after each phrase and inserting your own prayers.
“Our Father in heaven” – Remind yourself Who you’re talking to!
“may your name be kept holy.” – Not just in general, but specifically through your words and actions, the lives of believers around the world, the church in your community, etc. May His Name not be profaned!
“May your Kingdom come soon.” – Pray for God’s rule and reign to become clearly apparent to peoples and nations throughout the earth, starting in your own neighborhood. Pray that you would live submitted to Him in the face of world systems that try to pull you in other directions.
“May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” – What is His will for the earth while we await Christ’s return? Read Isaiah 58 for a quick synopsis. What can you specifically do today to move toward doing His will on earth? There is no argument against His will in heaven, may there be none from us on earth either!
“Give us today the food we need,” – Here is where you make any requests that you have, for others and for yourself.
“and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” – Yes, pray for forgiveness, naming the ways you’ve messed up and disobeyed! But also think about how you have or have not forgiven others who have offended you. Are you still mad at someone for something they said last week (or last year . . .)? It’s time to forgive, even if they haven’t asked for it! Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” That’s pretty clear in my book!
“And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” – Pray for strength to follow His will for your life, no matter the cost.
Prayer Schedule Reboot
Instead of praying everything all at once, you could break it up throughout the day. Set reminders on your phone to pray for different categories at different times. For example, you might start your day with praise and worship followed by confession, then pray for family at 10am, friends at 2pm, your church at 4pm, and end your day with thanksgiving.
Or you might have a regularly scheduled prayer time every day, but pray for different types of requests each day. Look over your prayer list, and break it down into categories, assigning each category a day of the week. For example, family on Mondays, healing for the sick on Tuesdays, provision for others and yourself on Wednesdays, work on Thursdays, etc.
Prayer Method Refresher
My final category of ideas pertains to physically how you pray. What is comfortable now may have become ordinary and routine. Try changing it up!
Are you always sitting in the same chair, praying silently? What might happen if you pray aloud in a different room of the house? Or take a walk around the neighborhood, praying as you go?
Perhaps you might want to experiment with writing a prayer letter to God in a journal, keeping track of requests and answered prayers as you go.
More Reboots Coming Soon!
In a recent post, I wrote that we need spiritual disciplines in our lives to grow toward maturity, but sometimes we need to change how we go about them so we don’t get stuck in a rut. Stay tuned for more follow-up refresher idea posts covering:
- time in the Word
- time with fellow believers, and
- time serving others.
Do you have a prayer practice that wasn’t mentioned above that might help someone else to reboot and refresh their prayer life? Please share in the comments below, and let’s encourage one another!