When approaching the idea of a prayer time, we easily admit that it is important. Yet sometimes the most practical details of life prevent us from actually doing it. Questions like “When and where should I do it?”, “What should I say?”, “How long should it be?” can defeat us if we allow them. To combat this I would like to offer the following practical suggestions. Have a specific time Each day pick a specific time that you plan to meet the Lord and commune with Him.. Remember that God deserves your prime time when you can give Him your full attention. Exactly what time that will be will depend on your circumstances. I would highly recommend praying in the morning before you attack the world (or it attacks you). Of course we want to be conscious of God’s presence at all times of the day, but be sure to have a special time when it’s just you and Him.
How Long? How long your prayer time should be depends on your situation. But I believe that 5 or 10 minutes regularly is better that an hour every once in a while. It’s fine to start small and let it grow into whatever amount of time that you can give regularly.
Location, location, location Try to have a specific place to meet Him each day – a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. For many of us this may not be possible on a regular basis. Don’t let that stop you, take what you can get.
How to begin Begin your prayer by acknowledging God’s presence and praise Him for it, regardless of how you feel at the moment. Remember the Lord has been eagerly awaiting this moment more than you have. He intends to enjoy it. Maybe you can also.
Forgive me ... Spend some time in repentance. Ask the Lord if there is anything between Him and you. If you feel conviction about anything confess it as sin and ask for forgiveness and healing. He is happy to set you free:
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” (Mark 1:40,41).
Feed on the Word Read some scripture prayerfully and allow the Lord to speak to you about it. Notice what it says. Compare your life to it. Then consider how what you can change to apply it to your life. We need to be formed by His word.
Listen Take some time to just be quiet in His presence and adore Him. Let Him speak to you.
Bring your cares to Him Bring your requests before Him. Intercede for others.
Back to praise As your time of prayer draws to a close praise Him all the more. By this time we should be able to praise Him even better than we did at the beginning.
Record His word Keep a notebook handy as you pray to record what the Lord may have said to you. You can also jot down the lessons you have learned or insights you have gained. Don’t trust your memory.
It is blessed to give Share what you are learning with someone. There is a great blessing in sharing.
One final practical suggestion I would share is don’t become a slave to practical suggestions.! The things I have shared here are good practices that can support a strong prayer life. A list like this can also be intimidating. Do what you can in your life circumstances and don’t feel bad about. Don’t evaluate it. Just do it. The approach that is described in this list is certainly not the only way to proceed or even the best way for you. I offer these suggestions as possible things that can help to jumpstart a stalled prayer life – and we all seem to stall at times.
Our life with Jesus is supposed to be dynamic and full of surprises. The problem is we have formed some bad habits that do not allow Him to act freely. Some structures, rightly applied, can help us break these habits so that Jesus might break through into our lives, and we might truly know the freedom of the children of God!