Perhaps all the good that ever has come here has come because people prayed it into the world.
– Jayber Crow
There are certain things we almost always wish we did more often, deeper, or better. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. For instance, on a regular basis, I think about how I should stop eating cookies by the sleeve or letting dessert be a basic food group in my diet. But, little changes as I settle for letting my resolve land in the “I wish things were different…but not enough to work at it or try something new” category of my life. Prayer would also certainly fall into that same category. Can anyone relate? (Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?)
Here are a few reasons we might not change our prayer life:
- We don’t know where to start or what to pray about.
- Prayer goes against the norms of life today: rushed, distracted, focused on productivity.
- We doubt if prayer makes a difference, or if it’s worth the time investment.
- Other “spiritual activities” are easier: reading, serving or listening to a sermon.
My encouragement would be to simply try one new thing for a month, or pick one prayer resource as a helpful tool to guide and provide a launching pad for your prayer life. You don’t have to become an expert overnight. You can’t try everything at once. But, you can do one new thing for at least one month.
Below are some tools to get you started. Remember, the goal is to pray, not simply read about and think about prayer. If reading a book on prayer takes up your time to pray or distracts you from prayer, put it down and just start talking to God. If that’s too general, then begin with the ACTS model and spend a few minutes in each prayer bucket (Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplication).
(I’d recommend starting with one of the first two, which give specifics to pray rather than mainly talking about prayer.)
- Praying the Bible by Don Whitney
- Face to Face by Ken Boa
- Prayer by Tim Keller
- Praying with Paul by D.A. Carson
- Praying Together by Megan Hill
- A Praying Life by Paul Miller
Articles or Blogs
- D.A. Carson: “8 Lessons from the School of Prayer”
- Tim Chester: “Prayer and God’s Sovereignty”
- Cheri Miller: “Teaching Children to Pray”