Prayer is the lifeblood of Christianity. Through this special space where we communicate with God, we express our thankfulness, make our needs known, repent of our sins, and go to bat for our friends and family. And the most beautiful part? The more we pray, the closer we get to God. It is our direct line to heaven! The problem is, prayer doesn’t come easy for most of us. We often struggle to find the “right” thing to say, the “right” way to approach God, or the “right” time to do it. The unfortunate result of our prayer paralysis is that we end up not doing it at all. Prayer pleases God, but God is not looking for perfect prayers; He is looking at our hearts and our desire to know Him more. More than what He can do for us, God wants to know that we are genuinely seeking out a relationship with Him. If you’ve been struggling to improve your prayer life, try implementing these five practical tips.
1. ASK HIM TO INCREASE YOUR DESIRE
Prayer is a spiritual discipline that involves a level of consistency that only comes easily when desire is at play. Being commanded to do something, like pray, can spoil the actual joy of doing it. That’s human nature. The remedy? Fall more in love with the God we’re praying to. By our getting to know more of His goodness, prayer then becomes a prized privilege rather than a bleak task we “need” to check off.
2. HAVE AN HONEST CONVERSATION
First and foremost, prayer is a talk with God. We ought to revere that it’s the God of the universe we’re speaking to, but we also must not forget that He is a trusted friend. If you have a hard time opening up in prayer, try talking to God the way you would talk to your best friend — without the fear of judgment, without worrying about how your words sound, and without overthinking it. God can handle your frustrated emotions; just be candid with Him!
3. EXAMINE YOUR HEART
Repentance closes the gap sin creates and builds a bridge back to God. Yet even though God can see all and knows all, we often have a hard time admitting our missteps to Him, let alone to other people who we’ve wronged. But in Mark 11:25, we’re required to forgive anyone we are holding a grudge against, so that our Father in heaven may also forgive us of our sins. If you’re a devoted prayer warrior, but you haven’t experienced a breakthrough in your prayer life, you may be blocked by a lack of repentance or an overabundance of resentment.
4. GIVE GOD THANKS
When we open up our prayers with a thank-you list, instead of a wish list, God is tickled. This is not to say we can’t ask God for what we need, but by practicing daily thankfulness for what God has already blessed us with, we exalt the Giver and create an atmosphere where more blessings can flow. Gratitude cultivates our contentment for the present moment, which puts the focus back on His perfect peace and not our worries of tomorrow. Praise is the powerful proclamation that says, “God’s will is good, whatever it may be.”
5. MAKE A DAILY APPOINTMENT TO MEET HIM
We use calendars and apps to keep track of the appointments we make with other people, but do we ever stop to pencil in an appointment with the Lord? Do we have a designated time and place where we go to Him in prayer every day? If not, find a productive point in your day where it’s just you and God. For it’s in these moments of humble submission to an all-powerful God that prayers are answered and lives transformed. It’s the one appointment you can’t afford to miss and actually show up for on time.
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