Editor’s Note: In April, our curriculum for Tirzah Academy is centered around prayer (to join our exclusive online community and inaugural class as we learn together how to live a Godly life in the modern world, click here). To launch our weekly challenges on prayer, we’re excited to host Valerie Woerner, the creator of the lovely Val Marie Paper Prayer Journals. Today, she’s sharing nine tips to cultivate a thriving prayer life (make sure to click the link at the end of the article to read the rest of her prayer series!).
Today, I thought I’d share some practical advice on how to make prayer a habit. I think we all wish we prayed more. We know it’s a good thing. We know more time in God’s presence has only positive effects. But we still struggle with it so much, don’t we?
1. RECOGNIZE YOUR NEED FOR HIM.
I’ll get to the more practical tips in a second but first and foremost, if we think we can do our daily lives just fine without Him, we will only call out to Him for the really tough stuff. When we start to see how desperately dependent we are on Him for every little aspect of life, we start talking. You will find yourself praying for strength to get through a meeting or just through the morning before nap time.
2. DON’T BE AFRAID OF CREATING A HABIT.
If you grew up a good girl like me, legalism is an easy trap to fall in to. And because we know that, we try to steer clear of getting too legalistic about anything but creating a habit of prayer is a good thing. It’s important obviously that we don’t just go through the motions to check it off a list, but if you are praying sincerely don’t be afraid of the routine of prayer.
3. HAVE A MORNING ROUTINE.
This pairs with #2, but I wanted to expand a bit. I don’t think it matters if you are a night person or a morning person, what we set our minds on when we wake up directs the path of our whole day. On the days I don’t get my time with Jesus to reset my heart, I am less patient with my kids, less grateful for my circumstances and more concerned with what the world things. If we start our day with Jesus, we are more likely to continue our day with Him. How do we convince ourself that we could fit Him in later if we can’t get quiet with God before our kids get up, our phone starts dinging, our clients start emailing or our boss starts calling?
4. BUILD PRAYER INTO EVERYDAY TASKS THAT JUST REQUIRE HANDS.
Think about the things you do that don’t require your brain and just require your hands or feet, like folding laundry, cooking dinner, mowing the grass. Be on the lookout for all the tasks you do each day that aren’t so mental. You might be surprised to see how many opportunities you have to start a conversation with God.
5. PRAY WITH SOMEONE ON A REGULAR BASIS.
Whether it’s a spouse or a friend, everyday or even weekly, set something up now with someone else. We shouldn’t rely soley on this time for our prayer life BUT it will help us create some consistency and accountability.
6. INSTEAD OF SAYING YOU NEED TO PRAY, JUST START PRAYING.
I have started doing this. If someone emails me and mentions a need, I’ll just pray for them in the email. I’m not going to just think about prayer anymore without actually praying. It’s too deceiving and convinces me I’ve prayed when really I have just talked about praying.
7. MAKE A COMMITMENT.
I know, I know. Everyone says this. But it’s because it’s one of those things we overlook because we’ve heard so much. If we don’t commit to it, it’s simply not going to just happen though. It’s why we added a monthly challenge section in this journal. The urgent will take over if we aren’t really committed to making this happen. So make a plan for one month. Set your alarm on your phone for 5, 10 or 15 minutes, pray and don’t let anything interrupt until the alarm goes off. I am a strong believer that remembering what God has done is helpful motivation to keep praying.
8. WRITE DOWN ANSWERED PRAYERS.
If you have our prayer journal, you already know to do this at the end of the month. When we see God really working as we pray, it’s easy to keep praying. I’m starting to sound like a VMP ad, but seriously, our products were designed for these reasons, to help you dig deeper in your relationship with God even in our busy world. You certainly don’t have to have them though to be praying. In fact, I created a PDF for you to write out your commitment and answered prayers for a month. Sign up right here!
9. REMEMBER: THE MORE YOU PRAY, THE MORE YOU WANT TO PRAY.
In my 3 years of being the prayer journal girl, I’ve had countless prayer sessions that drew me back to God and had me thinking “why haven’t I been praying like this every day??” And y’all, this isn’t even because of the answered prayers. Although, I’ve learned those fuel my faith and peace too! It’s easy to get sidetracked by busy schedules, but when I finally slow down to pray, I am kicking myself for not coming back sooner because it’s just sooo good.
If you are looking for something to jump start the habit building of prayer, check out the Fresh Start journal. This is precisely why it was designed, to help you create a habit of prayer.