The story is told of a man who after undergoing several options for his cancer treatment was finally told by his doctor, “We have exhausted all options. Perhaps it is time for you to pray.” The man responded, “So, it’s finally come down to that.” When all else fails, try prayer. That’s the world’s response. In contrast, the Bible stresses that prayer should be first, second and final option. All other activities should flow from an atmosphere of prayer.
When we don’t pray, we are basically declaring self-dependence rather than God-dependence. We might not say this through words, but for sure actions proclaim it clearly.
In Romans 12:12c, Paul calls all believers to be “faithful in prayer.” It’s a call for a life that is to be intently engaged in prayer. In a chapter that deals with being transformed into the image of Christ, it is only apt to see the call to be faithful in prayer. After all, the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus himself was marked by faithful prayer. Jesus ministered in the context of prayer. Despite only having around three and a half years of ministry, he still made prayer a top priority in his life. And we his children should make prayer a top priority in our lives as well.
Below are 10 suggestions that hopefully will help one to maintain a faithful prayer life:
1. Get a Quiet Place.
We need to find a spot in our homes or outside where we can pray without distractions. Let that be our prayer closet.
2. Set Specific Times.
We need to discipline ourselves to spend set times with God in private and keep that appointment. That sacred time must be guarded at all cost. Praying at specific times will help us pray more at other times as well.
3. Use the Bible when Praying.
By using the Bible, we can ensure our prayers are in conformity with God’s will as revealed in his word. We must learn to turn Scripture verses back as prayer.
4. Pray with Humility.
God is the Creator; we are the created ones. There is a huge distinction. This reality will help us approach him with humility. Even though we are his children, we must still go with an attitude of humility which includes confession and repentance from sin. Our prayers must come from a humble heart that says and means, “Not my will, but yours be done!”
5. Pray with Honesty.
God welcomes us to be honest with him. So, we must feel free to reverently and unreservedly pour out our hearts to the One who hears our cries.
6. Be Specific in your Requests.
Yes, God knows our needs before we say it to him. But by asking we are displaying our dependence upon him. And by being specific it also helps us to see if our motives are clean.
7. Remove Distractions.
We must put our gadgets away when praying. A notification noise from the phone or tablet can easily get us distracted. At times, even the very presence of a gadget can tempt us to take a quick peek and thus get distracted from praying. Jesus deserves our full attention. We must not keep talking with our spouse or children when praying as well. It can be very distracting. That’s why we need a quiet place.
8. Pray with others.
In addition to private prayer, we must seek to pray with our family members and fellow believers. We need to attend church prayer meetings. By praying together, we not only can encourage others, but will find ourselves being encouraged to pray even more faithfully.
9. Pray for others.
Intercessory prayer is to be an integral part of our prayers. And our prayers for others must extend beyond their physical and material needs; it should be dominated by their spiritual needs. This would include, but not limited to, praying for the salvation of the lost and praying for greater spiritual fruit to be borne by fellow believers.
10. Pray not only to seek God’s hand, but also to seek God’s face.
Often our prayers are focused only on what we can receive from God’s hand. We must learn to seek his face more. We must seek to be more intimate with him and experience his presence.
Much more could be added to this list [such as praying in faith, praying with perseverance, etc.]. But these few thoughts should hopefully get one motivated to pray more faithfully.
Jesus said in Matthew 26:40 “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” But how many of us give that hour on a daily basis? At most 10-15 minutes is given by the average believer. How can we expect God to hear us when we give him so little time? 1 hour is about 4% of a 24-hr day. That’s less than 5%! We give more time to so many other non-essential things [think TV, social media]! The issue is not a lack of time, but a lack of understanding the seriousness of the need to pray that prevents us from being faithful in prayer. A praying Master should have praying servants! So, let us give ourselves to a life of faithful prayer!