In my first year of college I was assigned to read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. It is a classic book on effectiveness in life. But the seven habits can easily be applied to an effective prayer life as well.
1. Be proactive– It is important for people of prayer to understand their role in coming to God in prayer. I often teach that whenever you have a desire to pray it is probably coming from God. The question is will we not only follow those promptings, but also proactively set aside time to pray.
2. Begin with the end in mind-This is a powerful idea when coming to God in prayer. The end is eternity and life with God in heaven. That is a great place to start our thoughts thinking as we begin our prayer time.
3. Put first things first– I love to begin my prayer time with thanksgiving and praise to God. It shifts my perspective to a healthy place right from the start.
4. Think Win/Win -Building on the habits we already developed we pray for the Lord to win in the world. Jesus encouraged us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done.” Effective people who pray understand that is a win for them as well.
5. Seek first to understand then to be understood– Listening before asking creates requests that change history. Starting with Scripture creates a foundation for powerful asking. This takes our prayer to a new level.
6. Synergize– This reminds me of two parts of effectiveness in prayer. First, I am reminded of the power of agreeing together with others in prayer. Second, it reminds that after hearing from God before asking we are actually working together with God.
7. Sharpen the Saw– We can always grow in our prayer life. That is why we create our resources. What will you do to learn and develop your prayer life?
Let me encourage you to take one of these habits and build it into your prayer life in the next month. See how your effectiveness increases.