Developing a meaningful prayer life

11 Dec

Prayer results in improved relationships as when you pray for others, it forces you to think of others. Prayer is an act of love that changes your heart, and causes you to care more about others as you carry them in your heart

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I recently read a book; “A young women after Gods own heart” By Elizabeth George. A couple of the chapters were about prayer. I was really encouraged by it, and since then, I have been developing better prayer habits and praying continually. Prayer is a common struggle so I want to share some tips that I’ve picked up from this book and outside that might help improve your daily prayer with our almighty God.

To get started, it is really helpful to develop a prayer diary. This Diary can involve anything. At the front, I put a sheet of paper in that has every day of the week and under each day I fill out a thanksgiving point, prayer for others, prayer for me and everyday prayer. Some other things I put in my diary are missionary prayer letters from our churches link missionaries, our churches prayer points newsletter, a prayer log and prayer list which I will touch on in the next points

As you develop a more regular prayer life, you discover that prayer changes you to have a deeper relationship with God as it increases your faith. Faith can be increased through a prayer log. This is where you write down everything you pray to God for regarding any concerns for example family, friends, decisions and yourself. You will be amazed when you pay attention to how God answers item after item! This prayer log can be kept in your prayer diary where you can record your requests and responses.

Another useful prayer list for your prayer diary is a list of the people you want to pray for. Write all the names down. They can be family, friends, missionaries and even enemies. When praying, read each name out to God and pray what is on your mind about them. This makes prayer more selfless. It is encouraging if you ask the people on your list if they have any prayer points, and helpful for you too.

Pinpoint your greatest sin, or sinful action and put it at the top of your prayer list. Pray about it every day. Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Confess it to God every time. Ask God to help you remove it from your life. God will help you through it and your life regarding this sinful action will improve. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

The book I read described a three-step pattern that can help us make better decisions in our life;

1. Wait to make decisions so that you can

2. Write them down on your prayer list and then

3. Wait on God for direction

Elizabeth George has a prayer principal; “No decision made without prayer!” So when you are faced with a decision, instead of making it straight away according to what you feel, make a spiritual decision through and after prayer. Add on your prayer sheet a list of decisions you must make. Be faithful to bring them to God in prayer each day and ask him for wisdom. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

Prayer results in improved relationships as when you pray for others, it forces you to think of others. Prayer is an act of love that changes your heart, and causes you to care more about others as you carry them in your heart. We can pray to God for improved relationships with anyone. For example parents. Ephesians 6:1-3 and Colossians 3:20 tell us to obey our parents. This can be included in our prayers. 1 Corinthians 15:33 and Proverbs 18:24 tell us to choose our friends wisely which can greatly influence our prayers. Concerning boyfriends and girlfriends, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 7 tells us how we should behave in these types of relationships. And lastly Enemies. Luke 6:27-28 tells us to love, do good to and pray for our enemies! No matter who we pray for, prayer can make a difference in our relationships with them. The book I read talked about picking the person you dislike the most, and praying for them constantly for a month. This dislike could be replaced by a growing compassion and understanding.

Matthew 6:34 and Philippians 4:6-7,11-13, tell us to be content and not to worry. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 1 Peter 5:7 says; “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Prayer should be a top priority. Jesus demonstrates this in Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” We should all set aside time each day. Sometimes this gets hard as life gets busy but something is better than nothing and God wants to hear our voices. Making prayer the first thing you do in the morning can be beneficial as you can dedicate your fresh new day to God which can make a difference in the day. This may mean just setting the alarm 10 minutes earlier. We should take seriously the privilege of prayer and never underestimate its power. James 5:16-18 demonstrates how powerful prayer is. We should pray always (Ephesians 6:18) and everywhere, enjoying God’s presence wherever we go (Joshua 1:9).

This is what God wants; 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

 Hebrews 4:16 tells us about our attitude as we pray and the results.

Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

I hope these tips encourage you to develop a prayer diary and to begin regularly committing time to God in meaningful prayer.

Larissa Veron

 

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