How To Develop a Vibrant Prayer Life.
The other day, my son was playing Star Wars. He was running around the living room with his light saber in hand. He was “Darth Vader”, and he was destroying the good guys. I looked at him and said, “Asher, what are you doing?”. Very matter-of-fact he said, “I’m killing the good guys, Momma.” I replied that I did not like him killing the good guys, I would prefer he BE the good guy.
He looked at me and said with such a purity and innocence, “I’m still with Jesus, Momma. It’s just a game.” He then pointed his finger to the sky, looked up and said, “I’m still with you Jesus. I will never leave you, but I’m playing Star Wars right now.” He then took off and continued being “Darth Vader”.
That night during bedtime prayers he prayed, “Jesus, please don’t be mad at me for being Darth Vader today. It was just a game. I promise, I am with you Jesus, and I love You. Amen.”
As I listened to my son pray that night, I heard the innocence of His prayer. He wasn’t formal. He didn’t have a rule book of prayers. He didn’t have his King James Version next to him as he prayed. He just talked to the Lord as if Jesus was sitting on the bed with us in the flesh.
So many women I talk to struggle in their prayer lives. I think many try to “find time” to pray. Many don’t know what to say, and many feel embarrassed because it appears on the surface there is no one around to talk to.
I want to encourage you in your prayer life today with two simple ways that I have strengthened my prayer life over the years.
FIRST . . . WHY PRAY?
God calls us to pray in His word. If we are to be obedient to His word and His commandments, then prayer must be a part of our daily lives.
* Romans 12:12 . . . . “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;”
* Ephesians 6:18 . . . . “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit;”
* Matthew 6:5 . . . . “And when you pray, pray thus . . . “
SECOND . . . WHAT IS THE POINT OF PRAYER?
There are numerous reasons to pray found throughout the Word. But today, let's focus on just one.
Prayer is all about our relationship with Jesus Christ. Prayer is communicating to our Savior.
Think about any relationship you care about. What happens if you cease to communicate? What happens when you don’t talk to your spouse daily? What happens when you don’t sit with your boss to make sure you are on the same page? What happens to your children when you stop asking how their day went? What happens to friendships when you neglect them?
Your relationships fall apart when communication goes by the wayside. It is the same thing with the Lord. Your prayer life builds a relationship with Jesus, and cultivates that relationship.
I pray not out of religious duty or obligation. I pray because I want to hear my Father's heart, and I want Him to hear mine!
THIRD . . . HOW TO PRAY?
Prayer is part of my worship to the Lord. As I cultivate my relationship with Him, I am worshipping HIm. There are three ways I pray to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus.
1. I Simply Talk To Jesus.
Do you talk to yourself throughout the day quietly in your head? You may be thinking about a conversation, or you may be remembering something that happened to you. We all talk to ourselves throughout the day, don’t we?
I have replaced 90% of talking to myself with talking to Jesus. If I am in a conversation with someone at work, I am asking the Lord how to respond. If a conflict arises, I am talking to Jesus about how to handle that situation at that moment. If I am reading a testimony online from someone about how this site has blessed them, I am thanking Jesus for giving me the words. I am constantly talking to the Lord. But more than just talk to Him, I wait for Him to answer.
Let me give you an example from real life . . .
This past week, I was planning the song list for a concert my theater is doing. Just as I was finishing designing, choreographing, and assigning solos for 33 songs and 14 singers, someone emailed me and quit. It was harsh, and it was unexpected. I was so angry at that moment. Angry because people don’t know the amount of work it takes to do what I do. Angry at the lack of accountability and loyalty in the world today. Angry at the lack of commitment. I was angry. And I was tired. I had been awake for 24 hours working on this concert, and bam . . . everything needed to change.
I had a moment of GRRRRR!!! But instead of staying there and speaking angry words to myself about the person who quit and the situation they created, I replaced those thoughts with prayer. I talk to Jesus like He is right there with me . . . because He is, even if I can’t see Him. (Matthew 28:20)
“Lord, I am so angry right now. I just spent twenty four hours working on this with no sleep. How do I fix this? How can I make this better? Do I have to go back to the beginning? Can you show me how to replace this person without putting extra strain on everyone else? Lord, give me peace about this situation. Father, guide this concert, and show me how to make it shine for your glory. Jesus, what do I do?” . . . . All of this I thought in my mind as I was pacing my living room with tears streaming down my face.
And then I waited.
You see, what good is a one-sided conversation? What good is it for me to just talk all the time? What’s the point of not quieting my mind and my voice to hear the Lord’s response?
So I waited, because I don’t want my prayer life to be a one-sided conversation of requests, wants, and needs. I want my prayer life to grow my relationship with my Creator.
And as He often does, the Lord spoke to my spirit. “Shut the computer, and go take a shower. You are tired, and a mess. I will show you what to do later.” Because I have spent years just talking to Jesus like my best friend, He talks to me the same way . . . because He is my friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)
I shut my computer, took a shower, went into the theater, and the Lord provided the answer as He always does.
2. I pray out loud by praying the Scriptures.
When I am just at a loss of words, and thoughts and situations are crowding my head and trying to kick out the voice of the Lord. I fight back with Scripture. I open my Bible and begin praying the Scriptures over a situation. I begin telling God how wonderful He is. I thank Him for who He is and all He’s done. I speak the Scriptures, and my situation changes, and my thoughts become clear.
“Lord, I thank you for being with me wherever I go. I know that you have not given me a spirit of fear, but of strength and courage. I know that you are my strength. Father, I thank you for being with me in this situation. I thank you for giving me the strength and courage to get through it.” (Joshua 1:7-8)
“Lord, have I told you how much I loved you today? There is none like You, O Lord. You are great, and Your name is great in power and might. In all of this earth, Lord, there is none like you. You are altogether lovely, my God. You are my beloved, and you are my best friend.” (Jeremiah 1:6-7 & Song of Solomon 5:16)
3. I Write Out My Prayers.
I love to journal. I love to write. If you are like me, and you love to write and journal, then write out your prayers. Get a journal, and write out prayers daily. If you don’t know where to start, use my HEAR MY VOICE prayer prompts to get you started.
After I write out my prayer for the day, I read it out loud and just give thanks to the Lord for hearing my voice, and answering in His way and in His time. (Psalms 55:17)
I often start with the Hear My Voice prayer prompt and then write my prayers using this acronym I saw on Pinterest once:
P - Praise. Give God glory for who He is. Praise Him! (Psalm 146)
R- Repent. Ask for forgiveness and for the strength to repent for your ways. (Psalm 51:1-3)
A - Ask. Ask God for what is on your heart. (Philippians 4:6)
Y - Yield. Now give your prayers to God to answer in His way and in His time. Yield to His will. (Psalm 27:14)
My friends, keep your prayer life simple. It does not have to be complicated. Don’t be embarrassed, self-conscious, or worried you will say the wrong thing. Let go of those voices and devices of the enemy to keep you from developing your relationship with Jesus. Those are all thoughts of the enemy. Let them go, and seek the Lord with your whole heart.
I would love to hear how you cultivate a relationship with Jesus in the comments below. How do you pray, and how does God meet you?