The other night my 17 month old son, Nathan, climbed up on his brother’s bed, picked up the devotional Bible we use at night, and clasped his hands together ready to pray. He modeled a lesson we should each emulate. We should be ready and prepared to pray.
Recently, I preached on the subject, “Making Disciples through Prayer.” While it is true that prayer is a struggle for many of us, it is too important an aspect of Christian living to remain a weakness. Is prayer a weakness for you like it has been at times in my life? If so, let me offer some encouragement.
The believers in the first church were “devoted to… prayers” (Acts 2:42). The church in Acts was a praying congregation. Throughout the book prayer takes center stage as the “activity” of believers and the church together. In order for us to be faithful, growing followers of Jesus, we must pray.
Notice the believers were devoted to prayers (plural), not merely prayer. I understand that to mean, they prayed in multifaceted ways—privately, publicly, personally, corporately, together, separate, in church, in their homes, in large groups, in small groups, etc. The picture of a praying church in the book of Acts declares to us that growth in our prayer lives should happen in a variety of ways.
- We should seek to improve our private prayer lives by devoting more time to prayer, keeping a prayer journal and tracking God’s answers, interceding for others regularly, meditating on Scripture as the basis for praying, etc.
- We should seek to improve our corporate prayer lives by making prayer an important aspect of our church experience, by spending at least as much time praying in a prayer meeting as we do taking prayer requests, by praying specifically and significantly in our regular worship gatherings, etc.
May I commend to you several ideas that have helped my prayer life:
- Find a prayer journal and track specific requests and specific answers. I use the PrayerMate app on my iPhone to assist me in keeping track of ongoing prayer requests.
- Read books on prayer. I’m currently reading two books that I would heartily commend: Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney and Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God by Timothy Keller. I would also commend The Hour that Changes the World by Dick Eastman or good Christian biographies that follow the lives of prayer giants such as Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.
- Find a prayer mentor. We all need mentors in life. Our spiritual lives are no different. Ask someone you look up to spiritually for tips and thoughts about prayer.
- Begin a prayer group or accountability group. I’ve met with several friends over the years to encourage and challenge one another and to pray. There are few activities more blessed to do together than prayer.
Growing in your prayer life does not mean that you must become a prayer giant overnight. Rather, it means that you admit where you are weak, and pursue growth regularly. Would you join me in this challenge to develop our prayer lives?