by: Allen Domelle
Anyone who has ever attempted to have a prayer life will completely understand that consistently having a daily prayer life will be one of the most difficult things to achieve. Most people have a prayer life that is hit-and-miss, and their Christianity reveals it. Yet, if you are going to live a successful Christian life, then a daily prayer life must be practiced.
There was only one thing that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them. They did not ask Him to teach them to preach. Jesus was certainly a prolific and powerful preacher, but they did not ask Him to teach them how to preach. They did not ask Jesus to teach them how to perform miracles, though nobody performed as many miracles as He did. They did not ask Jesus to teach them how to raise money for their ministries, though He was a masterful fundraiser who found money to pay the bills in the mouth of a fish. Jesus certainly was the package deal when it came to the ministry and the Christian life.
Though the disciples saw Jesus do all of these things, they only asked Jesus to teach them one thing. After hearing Jesus pray, they asked him in Luke 11:1, “…Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” This was their one desire. They saw the power in His prayer life. They saw the effectiveness of His prayer life. When they saw and heard Him pray, they wanted to pray as He did. They wanted that same power that came from His prayer life.
The greatest lack in Christianity today is prayer. We don’t have a financial shortage, we have a prayer shortage. We don’t have a laborer shortage, we have a prayer shortage. We don’t have an educational shortage, we have a prayer shortage. We don’t have a generational miscommunication, we have a prayer shortage. God says in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Every shortcoming we have comes from our lack of prayer.
One of the reasons we tend to lack in the area of our prayer life is because our prayer life has become monotonous. James 5:16 says, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Keeping a fervency in your prayer life is the key to having an effective prayer life. A fervent prayer life will keep your prayers from becoming monotonous. There are ten ways that I believe you can enhance your prayer life so that you can keep your prayers “effectual” and “fervent” so that they will be productive.
1. Set a daily time to pray.
You will find it hard to be consistent in your prayer life if you don’t set a time each day to pray. One of the greatest prayer warriors in the Scriptures was Daniel. It says about Daniel after the law was enacted to outlaw praying, “…he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” (Daniel 6:10) Daniel had a set time that he prayed, and that is what kept him consistent in his prayer life.
If you don’t have a set time to pray, then you will find it difficult to be consistent in your prayer life. It will be so easy to forget to pray or to put it aside when you don’t have time if you don’t make it part of your daily schedule. I personally feel it is good to have that time of prayer first thing in the morning, as this will help you start your day out right. Whenever you set your time to pray, set it in stone and don’t let anything keep you from praying at that time.
2. Don’t have a set amount of time you have to pray.
One of the things that discourages many people from praying is they feel they have to pray a certain amount of time. You will find in the Scriptures that the prayers of Jesus were not all the same amount of time. There were times when He prayed for an hour, and there were times when He prayed all night. There were times when He lifted up His eyes and quickly prayed, and there were times when He got alone to pray for a season.
The best thing you can do is simply pray. God says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” He didn’t say how long to ask, He just said to ask. If you’re not careful, your prayers will become vain repetition just to fill a set amount of time. Instead of worrying how long you need to pray, simply go to God in prayer and ask Him for what you need. It is the act of praying that gets answers, not the amount of time spent trying to validate your prayer life.
3. Categorize your list of prayers.
Categorizing your prayers has a way of keeping your prayers in order. 1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” Praying is part of “all things.” An organized prayer life will help you to keep your thoughts in order when you are praying. This enables you to keep your prayers fervent. Some basic categories are: personal, family, friends, church, missionaries, needs and others. These are just a basic few, but they can be a start to organizing your prayer life.
There is no place in the Scriptures that it says you have to pray for everything every day. If your prayer list is like mine, there so many different people and categories for which to pray that if you simply went through the list there would be no fervency in that prayer. God commands us in Matthew 6:7, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions…” You can keep your prayers from becoming vain repetitions by choosing certain days to pray for a category. For instance, I pray daily for my personal needs, family and a few others, but I have chosen to pray for pastors on certain days and missionaries on another. This keeps my prayers from becoming monotonous and keeps them fresh.
5. Envision the face of the person for whom you are praying.
One of the things that helps me to keep my prayers fresh and fervent is to envision the person for whom I’m praying. I like to get a picture of those for whom I pray and look at it to remind me of their needs and my desire for God to help them. That is one reason you should keep the missionary cards. Those cards and there to remind you of their need and where they are going. If you will keep that stack of cards and go through them, seeing their face and family will remind you of them and increase your desire to see whatever needs they have met.
6. Be specific when praying for needs.
Right after Matthew 7:7, you find that Jesus shows that we are to be specific in our prayers. He says in verses 9-10, “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?” Notice the prayer was specifically asking for bread or fish. The only reason we are afraid to be specific in our prayer lives is because our faith is so weak as to believe that God could actually answer that specific need. The more specific you become, the more God will answer your prayers. It doesn’t matter how small you think your prayer may be, God loves it when His children specifically ask Him for requests.
7. Let reminders challenge you to pray.
We are commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” One of the ways I pray without ceasing is when something reminds me of someone or a need, I stop at that moment and pray for that of which I was reminded. You never know if God reminded you of something because someone needed that prayer at that exact moment. When a person I see in public reminds me of someone I know, then I believe God has reminded me of that person so I can pray for them at that time. When I see a house or a vehicle that reminds me of someone who owns a house or car like what I’m seeing, I immediately stop and pray for them. Those reminders will challenge your prayer life if you will let them. Don’t waste those daily reminders that the LORD sends your way, instead use them to pray.
8. Quote Scripture during your prayers.
God gives us prayer promises to use. When you have a specific need for which you are praying, then use God’s Word to remind God of His promise. It is not that God has forgotten His promises, but it is a way to strengthen your faith and fervency for which you are praying. God’s promises are an affirmation that you are right in praying for your request. This is why it is good to keep a journal of prayer promises. You can go to that journal in a time of need and find the promise you can claim as you bring your request to God.
9. Remove any distractions when praying.
It is very easy to get distracted when you are praying. It says about Jesus in Matthew 14:23, “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” Notice that Jesus went “apart to pray.” There were so many distractions that could hinder His prayer time that He got alone to pray. Each of us have our own distractions. Identify your distractions and get away from them. Turn your phone and computer off, get away from the family or any other distraction and pray. Getting alone to pray is the best way to remove your distractions.
10. Set an atmosphere to pray.
Being in an attitude to pray will only happen when you set the atmosphere to pray. Psalm 95:2 says, “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”Notice that thanksgiving will set the attitude to pray. Psalm 110:2 says, “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” Again, you will see that singing has a way of putting someone into the attitude to pray. Don’t be afraid to set the atmosphere to pray. There have been times when I’ve played piano music to get myself in the attitude to pray. There are other times when I’ve meditated on what I’m about ready to pray for to get in the attitude to pray. There are certainly times when your mind is in the attitude to pray because of the urgency of a need, but those times will be rare. Setting the atmosphere will help you to keep your prayers fervent and effectual.
These are not the only things that will enhance your prayer life, but they are a start. You will find that as your prayer life grows, you will find your own ways to enhance your prayer time. The greatest thing that I hope comes from this article is that these things will challenge you to pray more and to pray more fervently because the “effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Allen Domelle is the editor of the Old Paths Journal which is more than just a Christian’s publication. It is an excellent place to learn how today’s headlines will forge tomorrow’s laws and statutes. Keep yourself in tune with what is happening around the world, as well as in your own backyard with our daily updates and devotionals.