“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples” (John 11:1).
Do you know how to pray? All of us have attempted it at some time. Prayer can seem awkward when you first start but can end up rich and rewarding. Jesus can help you learn to pray. He can make sense of your confused prayer. Jesus told His disciples they should pray and never give up (Luke 18:1). Even Paul encourages us to never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus wants us to develop a lifestyle of prayer.
There are several aspects of an effective lifestyle of prayer. While you can pray at anytime, anywhere, about anything, you should have a dedicated time set aside each day for prayer. John Bunyan said, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.” Developing a daily habit or prayer can lead to a great relationship with the Lord. My family has a certain time each night we eat together. We all set aside certain timeframes each day for certain things that are important to us. Why not set aside time to pray? Daniel did. He went upstairs to his room three times a day (Daniel 6:10). A good time for me is my drive to work. Another time is after my kids have gone to bed. A quiet, distraction free time in prayer each day will jumpstart your faith.
Having a certain place to pray is also beneficial. Jesus got up early in the morning and went to a solitary place to pray (Mark 1:35). Matthew 6:6 tells us to go in to our secret place and shut the door. A place that is comfortable and familiar will remind you to pray each day you pass it by. The best place for me to pray is at home. You will never have a successful prayer life unless you block out life’s distractions in a place designated for prayer.
You also need a plan to have a great prayer life. Jesus gave us a model (Luke 11:2-4; Matthew 6:9-13). My plan usually begins in Scripture. After reading the Bible, I begin to pray those Scriptures for my life. I usually have my Bible (or iPhone Bible app) open during prayer time and when a Scripture comes to mind, I look it up and pray it. I pray daily for our nation (1 Timothy 2:1-2), my family (Nehemiah 4:14), those who need to be saved or are in sin (Matthew 9:37-38), and my needs (Philippians 4:6-7).
Prayer should be the first thing we do every day but what about praying first before everything we do? Not just meals, bedtime, and crisis. Prayer is simply talking to God about our life and His plans for it. This is lifestyle prayer. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is true. If God’s people, who are called by Him, will humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN He will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.