For some reason, it’s really easy to feel guilty about prayer. No, wait. Let me rephrase that. It’s really easy to feel guilty about the lack of prayer. Maybe it’s with a reason. Maybe we don’t pray like we ought to (see 1Thessalonians 5:17). A response of guilt is not necessarily what we need, though. A response of God-trusting, self-abdicating, hope-filled prayer is what we need. Here are seven ways you can make prayer a part of your daily life.
Seven Ways to Make Prayer Part of Your Daily Life
- Pray meaningfully at meals. Most Christians are accustomed to bowing their head for a moment or two at mealtime, and thanking God for the day, for the food, and perhaps requesting His blessing on the day. This perfunctory “saying grace” is more than just a way to “bless the food” or “return thanks.” It is an actual time of conversation with God. As often as you eat a meal you can pray, turning these times of ritual prayer into times of regular intercession.
- Use social media or online tools each day. Although it can sometimes be a distraction, using the Internet to aid your prayer life may help you. Sites like Christian Prayer Center allow users to post prayer requests, and intercede for others. You can install apps on your iPhone to remember your prayer requests. You can post a Facebook update with a prayer request, or send out a tweet asking for prayer.
- Make it a goal to pray for at least three to five minutes each day. Put prayer in your daily schedule. We schedule other events into our lives. Why not prayer? By making regular prayer time a practice for thirty days or so, your daily pattern of prayer will become a habit. It’s not necessary to make a lofty goal of two hours a day or something like that. It’s better to start small and increase, rather than to start huge and fail from the start.
- Teach your children to pray. Often, teaching others to do something is a helpful way to emphasize that same practice in your own life. Praying as a family, specifically praying with your children, will help your own prayer life. This practice will also strengthen your family as you learn more about God and how to speak to Him.
- Memorize a prayer. Some Christians shy away from memorized prayers, and with good cause. Formulaic recitations can easily fall into just that—formulaic recitations, not true prayer. On the other hand, Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, using a short model. If you have trouble thinking what to say or how to say something to God, memorize a brief prayer. It’s okay. The “Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) is a good place to start.
- Use a book like Operation World to pray actively for missions. Some of us prayer better when we have a calendar, a prayer request list, or some way of keeping us on track on a regular basis. There is nothing wrong with this. The book Operation World contains a list of prayer requests and praises for every single country in the world, each with the day’s date.
- Pray out loud. Sometimes, prayer fails because our attention and concentration fail. Like any conversation, prayer takes work, thought, effort, and energy. When you have an inaudible conversation, held only in your mind, it’s easy to lose track of what you’re saying. God hears the prayers that you pray simply in your thoughts, but it may help you to verbalize these. If you struggle with consistency in prayer, try praying out loud. Some people pray in the car during their daily commute. Others pray aloud while taking a walk. Find a spot, and express your thoughts out loud to the Lord.
We should not measure our spiritual lives by the amount of time we spend praying, or by the frequency of our prayer. We measure our spiritual lives by what Jesus Christ has already done for us. Nonetheless, God has given us the gift of prayer, and commanded that we use it. To do so is a delight. To refuse is suicide. Rejoice in prayer, and make it part of your daily life.