Prayer. Of all the spiritual disciplines, this is the one I’ve needed the most help with as an adult. Sounds odd coming from a wordy girl with a college degree in Interpersonal Communication, yet it has been painfully true.
God and I have been working on this flaw so that it doesn’t define me forever. In honor of the National Day of Prayer on May 3rd, and in an effort to cheer on your own prayer life, here is the most seemingly random set of things He has used to help me. Hopefully they’ll inspire you as well…
1. A Fiction Book
This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. Yes, I said fiction. Peretti’s extraordinarily visual writing opened my eyes to the supernatural battle going on around me that I simply was not taking seriously. Although his imagery and depiction of demons and angels were a work of fiction, Scripture is clear on the reality of spiritual warfare and TCP reminded me that prayer was my weapon to yield.
2. A Non-Fiction Book About a Monk
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. My Sunday School teacher loaned me a copy of this tiny book on prayer and it showed me how to truly pray without ceasing. This took my prayer life from being just a structured discipline to an ongoing conversation with God.
3. A Song on the Radio
Prayer Warrior, sung by Heirloom. As a young stay-at-home mom who didn’t feel she was exactly winning the world to Jesus, the constant play of this song on the radio reminded me that, regardless of my job description, I could (and should!) be a Prayer Warrior, standing in the gap for others and reaching Heaven.
4. Journaling My Prayers
I have a very busy brain and it would often get sidetracked while praying. You know, thoughts of someone I should call or an errand I forgot about. (Please tell me I’m not alone here!) Before I knew it, I couldn’t remember what I was praying about before my own brain interrupted me! Writing requires focus, so writing my prayers helped harness my wandering brain and helps me listen to God. Plus, it gives me a record of what I was praying about which allows me to look back and see how God answered. Sooo encouraging!
5. Prayer Calendar/Cycle
Frustrated by my forgetfulness and convicted of the need to regularly pray for who and what I wasn’t, I finally set up a Prayer Cycle for myself. I prayed for whatever I felt I needed to whenever prompted, but the cycle insured I gave extra attention to some specific things. For example, on Mondays, I prayed for Missionaries and Ministries. Tuesdays were for 2 + 2 (that was extended prayer for my husband and I plus our 2 children). Wednesdays was World Leaders day, etc. Now I’m using a beautiful book, The Lettering Prayer Journal by Krystal Whitten, that has categories laid out for with room to record prayers.
6. God’s Word
I’ve been leading Bible Studies since I was 19, so God has often used His Word to convict and lead me. For a great headstart on learning what He says about prayer, you can use these Bible Study tools. The sub categories are really helpful on a topic Scripture says so much about. Praying Scripture has also been a great way to insure I’m praying in God’s will!
7. Small Group Bible Studies
Our church has done many studies over the years and Priscilla Shirer’s on prayer have been some of my favorites. If you live in the Oklahoma City area, we have several DVD series that you may reserve to check out including Discerning the Voice of God, Can We Talk?, He Speaks to Me, and The Armor of God. Go to www.councilroadwomen.org/resources or call our church offices to check out one of our studies. We are always adding to our collection!
8. Setting Prayer Reminders on My Phone
I often do this to remember to pray for people who have had a loved one pass away. I’ll set reminders on special days like the birthdays of the deceased. I set up reminders to pray for all sorts of things I don’t trust myself to remember — special events, appointments my friends are concerned about, etc.
9. PRAY when prompted!!!
If someone comes to my mind, I try to look at it as God’s prompting to start praying for them right then.
10. Praying with Others
What a gift this is! Scripture promises that God is with us when two or three people gather as His followers!
Clearly, God can and does use a wide variety of things to prompt us to pray, but it is up to us to respond. What has most helped your prayer life? Please do let me know!
Meet the Author!
Bible teacher, author, inspirational speaker and disciple-maker, Vickey Banks is passionate about helping women connect the dots between God’s Word and their everyday lives. She loves serving as Women’s Ministry Director at Council Road, celebrating her people, playing with her puppy and getting lost in a good story.