How to Boost Your Prayer Life
How to Boost Your Prayer Life
Many of us like the idea of praying more and better prayers. The problem comes when we try to figure out how exactly can we do that. And even with the right tools at our disposal, simply carving out the time to go deeper into prayer can seem like an impossibility.
Here’s one neat little method that I have found to help me in my daily prayer rhythm. It’s nothing especially novel but it works. Here’s what I do – and I think it’s something you can easily try too.
Set the alarm to pray
I have a daily alarm on my phone that dings each day at midday. The time of the day isn’t that important. Just pick a time that you are able to take a minute out of your day to pause. For me midday works. For you it might be 3pm for example.
The key is consistency. Develop a habit of pausing each day at the same time. After a few goes, it starts to become a familiar part of your day.
prayer is like riffing on a tune
So what do you pray? Here’s where it gets fun! I recommend finding a theme tune to pray around – rather like guitarists riff on a melody during a solo. Here’s where you can experiment in your own prayer life and open up fresh avenues in your devotion to God.
For midday prayer I use the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. This is a wonderful, rich statement of gospel truth, published many years ago (before 1689 it was illegal to be a member of anything other than the state Church of England).
Why do I go 1689? It contains some cracking theology, summarised straight from the Bible, and written in gorgeous seventeenth century language (modern versions are available too!). It reminds me that the Christian faith is deeply historic, full of tradition and deep roots. Using something old like 1689 helps me to avoid blind spots in my own contemporary view of things.
When the alarm goes off, I put aside what I’m doing (or finish it off really quickly), read a paragraph of 1689, and then pray it back to God. I turn what I have just read into a prayer of praise and adoration, often ending it with supplication (asking for something). Here’s an example of what I mean:
In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good. (1689 Chapter 4: Of Creation)
And I might pray something like this:
Lord God, I praise you for your work in creation! It is spectacular, and immense, and beautiful in its complexity. You put it all together to show your glory – all your power, wisdom and goodness is shown through creation. You said what you made was ‘very good’. That gives the creation immense dignity and worth because you declare it ‘very good.’ Help me to enjoy your creation. Stir me to see and worship you more as I enjoy it. Help me to care for your creation through my actions and practices. Amen.
Worship. Adoration. Thanksgiving. Supplication. It’s all there and it takes a few minutes at the most. The best bit is that the following day there is another paragraph, another theme to open up in prayer.
resources to boost your prayer
You can give 1689 a go and use it as the backbone of your prayer. A handy copy can be purchased here. But what if an old reformed confession of faith is not your bag? (I can’t understand why it wouldn’t be!) Here’s a few more options for you to choose from:
- Examine a Psalm a day and then pray
- Pray through a line or two of The Lord’s Prayer
- Read aloud some some classic old hymns – like these – and pray through some of their themes.
- Or pray using lyrics from contemporary worship music – like this
- 24/7 prayer do some great resources, especially their new Lectio 365 devotional material here
- These books by The Good Book Company are also excellent – The Five Things to Pray series.
There’s such a wealth of prayer resources out there. These are just a starter to get the ball rolling.
Grab ahold and give it a go. Who knows what new riches are waiting for you to discover as you approach God in prayer?