Do you find yourself in a rut when it comes to your prayer life? I sometimes find myself walking through a season of habitual prayer…but not necessarily meaningful prayer.
It’s easy to do. Life is busy. Demands are constantly pulling us away. And saying quick, rote prayers is our solution to keep moving forward.
But the more I study God’s Word, the more I realize prayer is meant to be so much richer than a checked-off item on my to-do list.
When I compiled the Bible verses for my book, Prayers for Hope and Healing, I noticed emerging themes, especially when it comes to prayer.
Those who’ve read the book have said how much they appreciated the authentic “realness” of the prayers. As I looked back through the Bible passages, I realized they provided a roadmap for how I wrote. And they also provide a roadmap for how you and I can cultivate a richer prayer life in our everyday moments.
Here are 6 principles we can learn from Scripture when it comes to prayer…
1. We can be honest about our struggles in prayer.
God already knows what’s in our hearts. He knows the pain we feel and the struggles we face. When we come authentically before Him, we open the channel of communication with no barriers.
Here’s an example from the psalmist David:
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. – Psalm 6:2 (NIV)
2. Prayer equips us to stay alert to temptation.
Being honest about our struggles can alert us to areas of temptation. If we’re in physical pain, we might be tempted to lose patience more quickly or to grumble and complain. If someone has betrayed us, we’ll probably struggle to forgive. Whatever the temptation, prayer can help us acknowledge it, as well as build up strength to resist it.
Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak! – Matthew 26:41 (NLT)
3. Prayer is an opportunity to praise God for who He is and what He’s done.
As we acknowledge our struggles and temptations, prayer is an avenue to recognize just how perfect and holy God is. It softens our hearts and lifts our gaze to the only One who can rescue and help us. It also tunes our hearts to praise.
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. – Psalm 22:3, 4 (NLT)
4. We can ask for what we want in prayer, but ultimately surrender to God’s will.
Once we’ve acknowledged that God is bigger than our struggles, we can ask for what we want with a loose grip. We share what we long for, but we recognize that His will is ultimately best for the greater kingdom purpose.
Jesus set the perfect example of this as He processed what was about to happen on the cross:
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. – Luke 22:42 (NIV)
5. Prayer is an opportunity to be patient and listen.
Sometimes God’s answers come immediately, but many times they don’t. Prayer is an avenue to help us wait and listen however long He asks.
In order to hear His answers, we have to build in times of silence. This means carving out time to be still, reading Scripture during our prayer times, and pausing often to discern if God has something for us to hear through it.
Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God. – Psalm 38:15 (NIV)
6. Make prayer a continual habit of seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength.
This process of authentic prayer, praise, surrender, and listening isn’t a one-and-done thing. It’s a daily habit. Romans 12:12 says:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (NIV)
Faithful means more than once. Faithful means coming to Him on a regular basis, recognizing that every single day we need His help and guidance. I love how the Amplified Bible expands on this verse:
constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength]
Wisdom, guidance, and strength are vastly limited when measured by human standards. But when we seek them from God, the possibilities are limitless.
Keep reaching out to Him with an authentic heart. Keep turning your eyes to His goodness and love. And keep watching and waiting for His perfect answers in His perfect time.
On the journey with you,