4 Ideas for Developing Your Prayer Life
by Brian Walters, Discipleship Pastor
Doug just became a new believer in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Doug believed in his heart and professed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord.
Immediately, Doug began reading his Bible. He got into a small group. He attended weekly worship services and began serving.
However, even though Doug did all of these things, he felt extremely awkward and uncomfortable when it came to praying.
Praying just seemed weird to Doug–to talk out loud or by himself to God. He didn’t know what to say. He thought his prayers to God must be eloquent and passionate. He thought his prayers had to sound good when others listened.
Doug didn’t like praying.
Are you Doug? Does prayer feel uncomfortable or awkward? Do you struggle with what to say?
I don’t know about you, but I used to strauggle with these exact things. In fact, I was Doug and to this day I still get nervous sometimes when I pray in front of people, but here are a few things that helped me to overcome my struggles with praying:
- It’s just a conversation.
Someone once asked me how good my relationship would be with my spouse if I never talked with her. I naturally responded, “not very good.” Then that someone told me the same thing is true about prayer. He said prayer is just a conversation with God. It is not a monologue, but a dialogue with God. It’s you talking to Him and listening to Him just like you would talk to your spouse or a friend. Without talking to God your relationship will only be surface level and never have any depth. So just begin talking with God. Prayer develops intimacy with God. Here are some examples of Jesus talking with His Father (Matt. 26:29-44; John 17:1-26).
- What do I say?
If you don’t know what to say, don’t worry. Per usual, God doesn’t leave us to guess. Jesus gave us the blueprint on how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. Read and study this passage and you will notice we are to worship and revere God (v. 9), we are to surrender and confess our sins to Him (v. 10), we submit our requests to Him (vv. 11-12), we ready ourselves to be used by Him (v. 13), and we close out prayer with more reverence of Him (v. 13). Did you notice that prayer starts and ends with thanksgiving, reverence, and praise to God? That is because the more you focus on God, the more you will be aware of your neediness and then your heart will be aligned to His. You can never go wrong with praying the way God taught us to pray.
- Pray Scripture.
If you still don’t know what to say, then pray God’s Word back to Him. God loves it when we do this. God doesn’t need us to tell Him anything so the best way to talk with Him is to leverage His Word. For example, read Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Then you can pray something like this:
I praise you, God, that you are completely trustworthy and your promises never fail. Thank you, God, that you are our refuge and source of strength in good times and in bad. Thank you, Lord, that you care and want to hear the yearnings of our hearts. For you alone are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. Lord, forgive me when I have forgotten to trust you to get me through hard times. Forgive me, Father, when I have forgotten your faithfulness and promises. Lord, help us to never forget that you alone are trustworthy, faithful, and our place of refuge. Lord, thank you for loving us when we don’t even deserve it. May my heart and the hearts of believers everywhere always sing your praises.
- Keep praying.
The things above helped me greatly to overcome my struggles with praying, but the ultimate key to helping me become comfortable with praying was to just do it continually. I discovered that praying is like anything else in life: the more you do it, the more you feel comfortable with it and the more it becomes second nature.
Lastly, I would encourage you to visit our Prayer Wall every day to post a prayer and/or to pray for others. Visiting the Wall will give you something to pray and will help you get more comfortable with praying. Start off by just praying for a few requests and build upon this as you get more comfortable.