We abuse prayer frequently. We treat God like a butler, a genie in a bottle, or our last resort. Sometimes, we use prayer only in bad situations and treat it like a fire extinguisher. When trouble breaks out, we rush to find, fumble around with it, and spurt out a little bit in hopes it puts out our mess. God wants you to develop a lifestyle of prayer because prayer is talking to Him. Talking to anyone is usually best carried out in a relationship. I just don’t talk to my wife in bad times and I shouldn’t treat God that way either.
To learn lifestyle prayer, Luke 11:1 must be our motto, “Lord, teach us to pray.” In order to pray, we must spend time with the Lord daily. Jesus wants us to pray and never give up (Luke 18:1). Paul encourages us to never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17). How do you develop a lifestyle of praying? Here are a few simple, yet effective, steps.
First, you need to set a good time. While you can pray at any time, you need period of each day set aside for nothing but prayer. I like the mornings before my kids are out of bed and the phone starts ringing. I like praying when driving by myself in the car. Daniel prayed at a certain time. Daniel 6:10 says, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
Secondly, you need a good place. I need a place free from distraction. My house is my best place but only before the sun comes up or just after my kids are in bed. Mark 1:35 tells me, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Thirdly, you need a good plan. Jesus gave us a great model when He said, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:2-4).
God promises us that when we are humble, pray, seek Him, and turn from our sin, great things happen. He hears from heaven, forgives our sin, heals our homes and hearts (2 Chronicles 7:14). There are several areas we must pray for every day. We should pray for our nation and its leaders. 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” We should also pray for our families. Nehemiah 4:14 says, “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
We should also pray for those who do not know the Lord. Matthew 9:37-38 says, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." After praying for all of these, we should pray for our needs. Philippians 4:6-7 instructs us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” The biggest key to building a lifestyle of prayer is making prayer your first response, not your last resort.