Looking for ways to Transform Your Prayer Life?
Translucent rays of morning sunshine beam through the open curtains, and I’m drawn in.
My seven-year-old daughter often tells me these beams make her feel like God is reaching down from heaven.
While I want to hold onto a tangible sense of His presence, it seems my life has worn me thin.
The steady rigor of full-time mothering from home, all while squeezing in a few hours to pursue my freelance journalism career on the outskirts of my actual life, has me feeling dry. The well has run dry for creative indoor crafts and family activities. The well has run dry for creative article ideas. And when I’m most honest with myself, I feel spiritually dry as well.
The exciting adventure of faith I experienced in my mid-twenties seems as distant as the countless hours I once possessed for sitting by rivers with an open Bible, hiking, or doing whatever I pleased without any interruptions from the rest of the world.
It seems I now spend most of my time crawling around under the dining room table wiping up spills, wiping runny noses, and picking up the same dozen toys five times a day.
Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. (James 1:6)
Offering a forlorn prayer to the Lord as I sit by the window, golden rays shining down, I’m suddenly convicted by a truth that stings: “You won’t live bolder than you pray, Stacey.”
I’ve been asking God to fan the flickering flame of my spiritual life lately. I’ve been praying for a bolder witness and eyes to see opportunities to step out of my little square box of comfort and risk for the sake of the gospel.
The problem is that this is where my prayers end. They fall short because they lack follow-through.
Maybe I’m not living boldly because I’m not praying boldly. Asking the Lord to reveal to me how to pray with more boldness, so that I might live with more boldness and bring more glory to His name, I’m reminded of several prayer habits that defined my mid-twenties, my season of boldness.
Here are 4 Prayer Habits That Will Transform Your Prayer Life…
1. Actually pray like God is in the room
Brennan Manning tells the story of an elderly man who has struggled with prayer throughout his entire life.
The man just can’t see praying to a God he can’t actually see, hear, and feel. His prayer life is finally reinvented when he learns to imagine Jesus is sitting beside him in a chair, listening like a faithful friend.
The man’s family finds it remarkably strange that he places an empty chair by his bed in the last days of his life. On the day of his death, he is found with his head resting on the chair.
This is the kind of prayer that believes the Lord is with us. When we learn to pray in this way, prayer becomes more of a conversation than a religious obligation.
2. Be very intentional and specific
God longs for prayer that draws us closer to his heart.
His first intention for prayer is that we will come closer to him in relationship. God is also a God of specificity. A cover-all prayer of, “Lord, please bless me, and please bless my family today” does very little to draw us closer to God or move in the hearts of our loved ones.
In my most powerful seasons of intercessory prayer, I pray from prayer list. My prayer list generally contains a heading with each day of the week written across the top of the page. Under each day of the week, I list a group of people in a certain sphere of influence in my life.
3. Ask God how you ought to pray
When I first created my prayer list, I prayed long and intensive prayers for each person every day of the week. It grew to be an overwhelming and arduous task.
As years wore on, I learned to simply imagine that I was lifting each person before the throne of God, asking him to minister to him with his presence, and listening for any nudges he might give on how I could specifically pray.
This kind of prayer was more than a monologue about what I guessed loved ones might need. Instead, it drew me into communion with the Lord and relied upon the Holy Spirit to reveal how I ought to pray and if I needed to act in any way.
4. Expect God to move
Faith-filled prayers expect that God is going to respond.
Pray for yourself, your needs, and the needs of those around you, and then don’t forget that you prayed.
Prayer is not an annual wish-list to Santa Claus. God calls us to pray without ceasing. Pray and ask, and then watch. Wait. Trust that God is going to move, and then watch for His hand to intervene.
Bold prayers are marked by close communion with God.
They are intentional, specific, Spirit-driven, and faith-filled. If your life lacks the spiritual fervor for which you long, begin with your prayer life.
Pray fervently for the salvation of your loved ones, the healing of those who are ill, restored relationships, children who love the Lord, and more. You won’t live more boldly than you pray.
Resources: Manning, Brennan. The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 2004.
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