Today marks the 64th annual National Day of Prayer. Millions of people across America will join Dr. Jack Graham as he leads the nation in prayer. This year’s theme “Hear Our Cry,” is an echo of Kings 8:28.
As the excitement of National Day of Prayer mounts, it’s important to remember that prayer shouldn’t be a one-time event, or a Sunday morning ritual. It’s an integral part of our relationship with God. Living in a busy culture, it’s easy to forget to set aside meaningful time for prayer. While we want to take time to pray as a nation, it’s important not to neglect prayer during the rest of the year.
Here are 3 keys to building a healthy prayer life:
- Be consistent: Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “Pray without ceasing” (English Standard Version). Now contrary to what my 8-year-old self believed, praying without ceasing implies a continual pattern of prayer, rather than constant mumbling. If your prayer life is struggling, it may help to think of prayer as a Tweet. Twitter is a social network that allows users to send 140-character messages called “tweets.” Praying in short bursts throughout the day is an excellent way to make prayer a regular part of life without drastically altering your schedule. See something good? Thank God for it! Witness something evil? Pray that God will remedy the situation and utilize you to accomplish His will. Another quick tip to stay consistent is to set up reminders on your phone. Use this as a trigger to make prayer a daily habit.
- Be honest: Prayer is not poetry, or lip-service for that matter. It’s not about eloquence, length, or procedure. Simply pour out your heart before God. Can’t find the words? Tell God! Struggling with a sin? Confess it and ask for strength to overcome. Angry at God? Tell Him. He won’t be offended by your honesty. Being candid with God, and moving past social pleasantries will ignite an authentic, ongoing conversation with the Lord. Just like sharing your heart with a loved one brings you closer together, so does being honest with God. A whitewashed prayer is a wasted prayer.
- Be attentive: Prayer is not a monologue. There’s a big difference between talking at God and talking with God. A true relationship is built on conversation, and a good conversation implies that there is listening involved. It can be difficult to hear someone in a loud environment like a crowded room; likewise, it’s also difficult to hear God when there are a million other thoughts in your head. Find a place of solitude, pause, and listen. You may not hear the audible voice of God in the moment, but if you allow God to direct your thoughts, you will be able to keep the conversation going. Remember that the best way to hear God speak, is to meet Him in His Word.
What has helped you enrich your dialogue with God?
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