About six months ago (wow, how time flies), I sent out an email to many of my friends digging into the personal depths of their prayer lives. To the brave ones who wrote me back, thank you so much. I promise to mention you by name only once or twice in this post. 😉
I was not surprised to find that I am not the only one who struggles with inconsistency in my prayer life. We are all a little too tired, a little too busy, a little too undisciplined, a little too interested in tv and the internet and all the distractions of life. Our mind wanders; the dryer buzzes; we get sleepy; the kids wake up. We like to talk to people who audibly talk back. It is difficult to carve out time to present our prayers and petitions to the Lord, and it seems nearly impossible to take the additional time to be still and listen to what He has to say.
I was also not surprised to find that my friends have some really good ideas when it comes to prayer . . .
On planning for prayer:
- Have a shared prayer time with your husband.
- Have a scheduled time to pray with a group of women (e.g., Moms In Touch at school).
- Keep long-term needs and short-term needs in separate sections of a notebook and record answers to prayer.
- Have a specific prayer task for each day of the week: Monday–husband, Tuesday–kids, Wednesday–friends, Thursday–missionaries, etc.
- Maximize family prayer time before meals, at bedtime, etc. Pray with the kids while driving in the car.
- Twice a year, take a significant chunk of time away to pray through needs of marriage, kids, family, and friends. Journal and write down goals and prayer requests for the next 6 months to review next time and see how God is working.
On praying for our families:
- Keep notebooks for each member of family, including self, write prayers for that person, or if there are not needs, how you can minister to them.
- Pray over each person at night after they are asleep.
- Read through the Bible in a year and make notes in that Bible for one specific family member. Write prayers in it for him/her to have later.
- Praying for your husband from his head to his feet–protection from temptation with his eyes, those he comes into contact with with a handshake at work, etc.
On praying for others:
- Pray for someone immediately when you learn of the request so you don’t forget.
- View intercession as something we can do as a ministry even when we have young kids at home and may not.
- The Psalms
- Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions (I love this book, too!)
- Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World
- The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent
- Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God (section on Sarah Edwards)
- Resources from the children’s section of the Desiring God website, especially “Praying for the Next Generation”
I love my friends and all their great ideas! But if you’re anything like me, I suggest praying for discipline first and foremost. I can have all the great tips and tools in the world, but I still have to make the decision to stop doing something else and go to the Lord in prayer.
What are some ideas or helps that have improved your prayer life?Share