Can it really be that easy? Well it all depends. If you spend hours a day on your knees in some private chamber this post probably isn’t for you. But if you struggle to find the time to pray and you just can’t make that devotion time regular, then yes! It is that easy.
Here are five ways you can improve your prayer life almost immediately.
1. Start Now
One of the biggest barriers to prayer is waiting for the epic spiritual experience to start.
But that’s like waiting for exercise to sound more enjoyable than devouring a Chicago-pan pizza. Probably not going to happen any time soon. And if it did it probably wouldn’t be the epic experience you were hoping for. Heart attack. Not so fun.
Time with God is enjoyable but like exercise it’s the afterwards kind of pleasure. Of course many things are immediately more enjoyable than prayer? It’s only later we find them far less fulfilling than time spent with God.
So start now! Don’t wait. James 4:8 reminds, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
2. Make it Brief
If we aren’t waiting for the epic spiritual experience to kickstart our prayer life we’re probably trying to engineer one. Haven’t prayed for a month; why not seclude yourself in that prayer closet over the next 24 hours? I hear sweat lodges are nice. Just kidding.
If you start with this kind of shock commitment you’re bound to crash and burn. You’ve heard of crash dieting? These unhealthy changes never produce the intended results.
Sure marathon running is an awesome goal and a great achievement but no one runs that far on their first day. Or their fiftieth. Or their hundredth. The same goes for prayer. Lengthy periods take practice and discipline.
You’ve heard it declared, “With God, it’s all or nothing.” And Yes! God requires some pretty extraordinary things. But remember this is the same God who takes the least and makes it great (e.g. the loaves and fishes). So start small.
3. Don’t Put it on a list
What about that gargantuan list? You feel like you got to catch up. They’re so many needs. And it just keeps getting longer.
Enough with the list already! Don’t put it on the list. Pray right now!
There will always be things to pray for. When someone asks you to pray or you offer to pray for someone, don’t put it on a list to weigh you down later on. Pray then! Pray now!
You don’t have to wait until the right time. Now is the right time! And by doing so you won’t find yourself the hypocrite, promising to pray and never quite finding the time.
4. Use Mindless Routine.
Of course having a “prayer life” means you’re not just going to pray once. So where are you going to find that regular time when life is so busy?
How many times a day do you find yourself doing something so routine that your mind just wanders? Fill that time with prayer. It may be a few seconds. Perhaps a few minutes. But don’t think it’s nothing. Make it something. Spend it in prayer.
5. Pray the “Canned” Prayer
Ok! You don’t have the words to say. You don’t sound as eloquent as Sister Sarah and you’re pretty sure you don’t know how to speak King James English. That’s alright. Silence is good. But you could also recite a short prayer.
I know. I know. Quoted lines don’t seem authentic today. Like canned laughter or applause. But chances are you’re wedding vows were recited and that didn’t make them any less authentic.
Jesus taught his disciples to recite a prayer. He said, “when you pray, pray this…” And if it’s good enough for Jesus it’s good enough for me.
Our Father, who is in heaven
Your name be set apart
Your Kingdom Come
Your will be done
on Earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
And lead us not into temptation
but delivers us from the evil one.
Start praying. Keep praying. And little by little you’ll see your life grow in God.