I was doing a teaching for a discipleship group on having a prayer life. This was a young group of mostly college students. After my teaching we had a little time for questions and answers. One young lady asked a very honest question about where to start. She was referring to how to get a prayer life going if you are at ground zero. I gave her a simple place to start but after leaving I was thinking more deeply about what advice I would give others in the future.
Here are five things that I would advice to you if you feel like your prayer life is not going at all. These could also be helpful if you have people that you are working with that could use some help. Everyone is a little different but I think these steps could be a place to start.
- Commit to something daily
When I answered the lady I suggested committing to a small amount every day or one larger amount once a week. Upon reflection I think something every day has a better likelihood of success. Another option would be to start with something the 5 work days with weekends off at the beginning. John Maxwell says, “The secret of your success if determined by your daily agenda.”
2. Pick a time smaller than you think that you can do to start
More people give up on prayer times because they can’t fulfill a large goal than give up because they are exceeding a small goal. Give yourself something that you know that you can do every day. I suggested to this lady that she start with 10 minutes a day. You can move to a goal of praying without ceasing later, but for now you are getting some momentum.
3. Let your Bible reading be the content of your prayer
I teach a three hour seminar on how to have an enjoyable prayer life. I cover a full buffet of different types of prayer. But to start with if you are already reading the Bible come back to that as conversation starters for your time of prayer. If you don’t have a Bible reading plan yet, start with a story of Jesus. Then you can talk to Jesus about Jesus.
4. Incorporate thankfulness into this prayer time
Along with praying the Bible adding an element of thankfulness can bring life to your prayer. Thankfulness in prayer helped change my outlook on life. I have written about the simple journal method that I use that could be a great place to start in your prayer life. Early on you will be learning the joy giving aspects of prayer that will sustain you for the rest of your life.
5. Build a little bit of accountability into your prayer life
The Bible teaches us that we weren’t designed to do this life alone. Sharing with someone your commitment to be a person of prayer can be a powerful thing. Maybe you could simply share on your favorite social media channel your new commitment. Then each day share part of the scripture you prayed with a hashtag #mytimewithJesus
Try these five things for a month. After the month think about what is working and what is not working. If you struggle don’t beat yourself up; simply commit to trying something new the next month. Soon your prayer life will one of the great joys of your day.