Making a change in my weak prayer Life
PLYMOUTH – Looking at my walk as a Jesus follower, I found that my prayer life was weak in both frequency and depth. It seemed like every sermon, every worship song, every Jesus following friend I spoke with, and every book I read spoke of a deep prayer life that I knew I wasn’t experiencing. That appears to be the way God speaks to me. I hear His voice speaking through His Word and through those around me. It was coming through loud and clear that I was lacking in prayer and was missing out on an enormous intimacy in my faith.
I love reading the Bible and soaking in the Words of Truth. Reading the Word of God and seeing Jesus revealed gives my Christian walk a solid direction. I find a strong foundation to stand on, and a reason and order to the world that God created when I read His Word. But prayer is more of a mystery. It feels more subjective and emotional instead of concrete like the Bible. And yet, Jesus prayed….
I decided at the beginning of 2023 that this year I would be intentional about growing in my prayer life. I wasn’t sure where to begin but I asked God to help me. I knew He wanted me to spend more time and understand the gift of prayer and that He would direct my growth. I’m far from totally spiritually mature in my prayer life, but I’m excited about what is beginning to happen.
Here are the steps that I’m taking in learning to crave time in prayer with God:
1. I pray to God as soon as I wake, but before I get up. It’s a short prayer but acknowledges that God is God and I’m His creation. I give Him the day.
2. I make sure I get up early enough to read my Bible (one chapter a day from a Bible Reading Plan) and save ten minutes for time of prayer. Two minutes of the prayer time I try to just be quiet before God and hear what He wants me to hear. (I’m still just learning this and seeing how God is going to use this time.)
3. I purchased a book, Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions by Arthur Bennett. My sister had purchased this book for my mother after my dad passed away, and mom was groping her way through the dark corridors of deep grief. I know that God is the same yesterday, and today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and I thought this book of prayers might help me in my prayer journey. I love the depths of these Puritan prayers and how they see the seriousness of their sin, the goodness of God, and the power of the blood of Christ to cleanse and free us. I read one prayer after my Bible reading and time of prayer. The depth of these prayers staggers and humbles me.
4. My pastor recommended that I read Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools by Tyler Staton. The description says to trade your doubts, disappointments, and misconceptions about prayer for a powerful connection with God! I can tell you that I’ve never read a book like this one about how to pray and talk with God. It has been life changing for me. I listened to the audio book while highlighting the book. I’m now going back and just reading the book again. I want to make permanent changes in my prayer life.
5. I’m working to find a rhythm of prayer. I want to pray more than just mornings and before meals, but to take time for intercessory prayer near noon each day. (I’m at work but take time during lunch.) The most loving thing I can do for someone is understand that I can’t help them, love them, keep them safe enough all by myself…. but I can lift them up in prayer to our Creator who is All Powerful, All Knowing and who loves them even more than I do. Also, to add prayer in the evening about my interactions during the day, even if it’s five minutes alone with God.
There is the beginning of a prayer revival that is moving across our nation especially with young people. I find myself wanting that, too. I desire closeness with God not only in His Word, but together with Him in conversation, breathing Him in, basking in His presence, and feeling the joy of just being with Him, my Father, my God.
Thank You, my Holy Father, for wanting me in your presence. Your goodness overwhelms me. Your gift of salvation and closeness with You is undeserved. Thank you for giving us a way to communicate with You and You with us. Praise You, my God!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jamie Lynn works at the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. She's a member at Treeline Church in Ann Arbor (new church start that is focusing on university students). It's her joy to mentor several young women. Jamie loves spending time with her husband Tony, her three kids and spouses, and nine grandchildren.