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The key to a spiritual awakening will not be in a new technique, but in gospel proclamation, earnest prayer, and yearning for the Spirit.

-J.D. Greear

God means for your life to run on the power of prayer. Prayer fuels the engine of your heart and mind. You need God in and through prayer more than you need anything else. We will not do anything of any real and lasting value without God, which means we will not do anything of any real and lasting value without prayer.

We know we need to pray, but we know we don’t pray enough. And we’re not always sure we’re even doing it right when we do pray. Prayer is conscious, personal communication with the God of the universe. Here are some ideas to grow in your time alone with our God.

  1. Pick a time and place - The freedom to pray anywhere, though, often leads to praying nowhere. Pick a consistent time and place when you can be alone. It might be in the morning at home, or during a long commute, or over your lunch break, or at a convenient time in the evening.

  2. Listen before you speak - Prayer is truly a conversation. Just as God does speak to us in his word, he is also really listening when we pray. When you sit down to pray, let God speak first. Let him have the first word. Put his living and active words into your ears, and let them shape and inspire what you say back to him.

  3. Prioritize the spiritual over the circumstantial - Physical needs are important, but they pale in comparison to our spiritual-emotional and eternal needs. We should spend as much time praying for our souls, for the salvation of our loved ones, for the spread of the gospel, and for the establishment of God’s glory and his kingdom as we pray about anything.

  4. Don’t be afraid to stop and pray now - One way to ensure you do pray for someone and their need is to pray right there in the moment. It only takes a minute or two, and more than meeting a need, it draws you both Godward in the middle of a day. It can be a brief and unexpected (and needed) meeting with the Almighty.

  5. Pray BIG - Many of us lack courage and imagination in our prayer lives. In our waiting for something to be "serious enough to pray about," we deprive ourselves of his mercy and power in massive areas of our life and world. Pray BIG to God “who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

  6. Be willing to ask one more time - God doesn't want us to lose heart or give up. He wants us to keep asking, keep pleading, keep praying. See the example in Luke 18:4–8. God loves you. He knows what’s best for you. And he’s listening. 

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"From time to time your prayer life needs a jolt out of the rut it has fallen into"

-John Piper

Prayer remains one of the great and glorious mysteries of the universe — that the all-knowing, all-wise, all-sovereign God should ordain to run his world in response to our prayers is mind-boggling. But that is the witness of Scripture. God hears and answers the prayers of his people. Don't neglect this amazing way of influencing nations and movements and institutions and churches and people’s hearts, especially your own.

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Practical Suggestions For Your Daily Prayer Time

  • Rif on the Lord’s prayer. You know, “riff,” like in jazz when you’ve got a melody in the background, but the musicians are riffing and doing their own thing around the skeleton of that melody.

JD Greear in his book, Just ASK, he gives the acrostic ACTS to help us pray. It’s an easy to remember outline:

  • A - Adoration. Spend time thinking about the character of God and praising him for who he is. (This is different from thanksgiving. That’s gratitude for what he has done—this is worship for who he is.) 

  • C – Confession. Spend time confessing specific ways you’ve sinned. It may help to have a few well-known confessions written out to use as a jumping-off point. 

  • T – Thanksgiving. Give thanks to God for the cross, on which he nailed all those sins you just confessed and took them from you so that you can be forgiven. Then express your gratitude for his daily blessings to you as well. Be specific. Thank him for little things as well as big ones.

  • S – Supplication. Honestly, this is just a fancy word for “asking.”

 

Other suggestions…

  • take a morning walk with no devices and pray out loud. 

  • Set reminders on your calendar or daily alarms to pray for specific needs at specific times. 

  • Use a prayer app to help you organize and keep track of your prayer needs.

  • Use prayer cards: a card where you put a name, prayer requests, dates, and verses of Scripture you are believing for these people 

  • Pray in the moment with people, don’t just promise to pray for them. 

  • Prayer walk your neighborhood, the office, or some part of the city. And don’t be weird. No hands raised, don’t try to be sneaky and anoint things with oil. Why is the water cooler greasy? 

  • Try 2–3 short times of prayer instead of one long one: Morning, after lunch, before bed. 

  • Pray regularly with your kids – let them hear you pray, use a kids version of ACTS – “Wow, Sorry, Thanks, Help” 

  • Use a prayer companion in your daily time with God: The Valley of Vision.