In this week’s Monday Minute Claudia Duff shares with us 5 practical ways to pray intentionally so we can flourish in our prayer lives.
How to Flourish in Prayer
by Claudia Duff
I really can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t pray.
Even as a child, I whispered many prayers to Jesus. Not because I was so holy from the start but, rather because I was so incredibly desperate from the start.
When I was four, a Sunday School teacher told me about a man who loved me, promised to never leave me, never hurt me, and one day He would come and take me to live with Him forever. I have never looked back only forward. Prayer has been my linchpin, my tether to the heart of God.
This life often takes my breath away in good and not good ways. Watching my children grow into mature believers has been the best. Seeing them often slip and fall in their faith, not so much. The things of this world will often take us to our knees and at times to our faces.
God is Teaching Me How to Pray Intentionally
A few years ago the Lord really began to impress upon me to become more intentional with my prayers. I have always prayed, but not always as deliberately as I have learned to now. God is teaching me how to, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). In order to accomplish this, our prayer lives cannot exist on a whim. We must come at it with a bit more direction.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
Reading this verse of Scripture takes my thoughts to those closest to me. And this is where my prayer journey began to change. The Word of God says to watch and pray and those who are present in our everyday life are there for the watching and the praying.
We live in a world that surrounds us daily with things to pull us away from the presence of God but what if somewhere someone was always praying? How would that begin to shift the atmosphere in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones? The Word of God assures us things would indeed begin to change. Let’s look even closer to how the Word of God changes us and those we love.
I discovered keeping a journal of my thoughts, prayers, concerns, and victories is critical for me to stay on course with my soul-care. I know everyone is into self-care these days, but without taking care of our souls, how we feel about how we feel is not that crucial. How our souls connect with the Creator is eternally important.
These five applications have revolutionized my prayer life. Not just more praying, but rather frequent and directed praying.
How to Pray Intentionally and Flourish
- Be Patient. I sit before the LORD silently and wait for him to speak and direct my prayers when I am unsure what to pray. Recently I have been struggling with how to pray for someone very dear to me. (Everyone I meet is dear to me so you don’t have to try and figure out who I am actually talking about. LOL!) I have been whispering short prayers to God when my heart has been burdened for them. God has been faithful to encourage my heart that I am indeed moving in the right direction in my prayers. Take the time to listen. Prayer is a time of listening and speaking. God listens when we speak and we must be patient to hear when he speaks back to us.
- Ask for Help. I ask others to join me in praying. I am not shy when the need is deep. Meaning I speak all the words needed to give my prayer warriors an understanding of just how difficult my need is. The LORD has been faithful to grant me people in my life who speak mighty truths into my heart. I treasure them and I have come to depend on them.
- Pray God’s Word. I pray the Word of God that specifically targets my prayer need. I do a word search in one of my Bible apps for my prayer need. This year my word is peace. I search for verses about peace, copy them in my journal, and then pray them over myself.
- Write the Prayers. I write the prayers as needed in my journal. Lately, I have been rereading my past journals. Wow! I have grown so much in my faith. The prayers have become even more pronounced and my heart is full of gratitude. I am truly overcoming by the word of my testimony. I can see in my own written words how God has delivered me from the deepest places of sorrows when felt like I would not overcome or even survive. But, God did it and I have written proof! (Of course, if you are my close friend, and you all are. You know to burn ALL of the leather journals when I die. And I am not even kidding!)
- Set an Alarm. I have set-aside times of daily prayer. Of course, I have a daily quiet time in the morning but, I do most of my praying with my prayer alarms. I have three set each day, although I will add short term alarms for specific requests. I pray at 0700 for my mother, my mother in law and friends of mine who are caring for their aging mothers. At 1300 I pray for my “Dufflings,” my five kids and my grandkids. Then, at 1800 I pray for the kids of friends who are in wayward places, my Rebels’ prayer time. Now don’t get it twisted sisters, I pray at other times as well. But, my prayer alarm makes me stop and pray intentionally, if only for a moment. I am thinking of those specific people and truly whispering a prayer on their behalf.
Learning to pray intentionally has changed me, girlfriends. It makes my heart settle into the truth of God’s Word and not my own thoughts, fears, or circumstances. I encourage you, no, I challenge you to pray intentionally today!
There is power when we meet with the maker of heaven and earth.
Lord, make my heart to bow readily to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in prayer. Amen.
Verse to Ponder:
“He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19 (ESV)