If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of good intention around prayer. I want to pray more. I want a more consistent prayer life. I desire to pray more powerfully and be known in my church and community as a prayer warrior.
You probably feel that too.
You know the importance of prayer– that you should be praying more regularly for your kids, for teachers, for your church leaders, for worldwide issues, for your marriage, and your church leaders. But it can feel overwhelming to know how to begin and how to build your prayer life in a way that is both consistent and ATTAINABLE.
The truth is you don’t need long hours to have a powerful prayer life! Keep reading for 12 practical tools to help you grow your prayer life starting today.
The Word of God tells us in Hebrews 4:12:
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. boldly approach the throne of grace with our requests.”
Our time in prayer is sacred space, set aside to connect with our Heavenly Father as the Holy Spirit gives us words and Jesus Christ intercedes for us.
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12 Keys to Develop a Consistent and Powerful Prayer Life
A vibrant prayer life doesn’t happen by accident. But with intentionality there are simply ways we can experience a deeper prayer life and a more effective prayer life.
1. Pray Honestly.
God is always listening to you. He doesn’t need fancy words. He just wants to talk to you. So talk to God how you talk to other people.
I am a person of many words so when I talk to God I kind of talk His ear off. That’s me. If you’re a person who is short and to the point when you talk to your friends–don’t change when you talk to God. He made you short and to the point and He likes that about you.
Kids are leading the way in teaching us adults how to pray honestly. My preschoolers lisped prayers are some of the sweetest prayers I’ve ever heard. Especially when his ending is always “Monster trucks, Amen”. Pray honestly and sincerely to God just like you’d talk to a friend. He’s always ready to hear from you.
2. Pray specifically
A lot of times our prayer time goes something like this…..”Dear God, help little Jonny to have a good day at school, help him to not get in trouble, not get picked on, not be the one who picks on other people. Help him just have a good day, God.”
There’s nothing wrong with that prayer, but if you want your prayers to be more powerful I would encourage you to PRAY SPECIFICALLY. What is one thing when you think about your child or your spouse or your best friend, significant other that you see in their life that they’re struggling with spiritually or a good thing you’d like to see them thriving in?
Pray for that.
So maybe you see your daughter and she has had friendship struggles she’s hitting those early teen years and for the next two months you are praying specifically for a good, Jesus-loving friend for your daughter.
Maybe you see your spouse is struggling with anxiety and you are intentional for the next 60 days to pray for their peace. To ask God to take anxiety far from them and give them rest.
Maybe you’ve got the little Jonny who’s struggling with anger and angry outbursts and behaviors and you’re at your wits end. What if you changed your prayer from….“Help Jonny to have a good day today, God. Help me not to get a phone call” to “God fill Jonny with patience that can only come from the Holy Spirit.”
And you spend the next 60 days praying specifically for patience for your child. Our prayers get more powerful the more specific they are. Don’t be afraid to tell God specifically the spiritual fruit you want to see in the lives of those you love. He loves answering those kind of prayers.
3. Pray memorably.
Once upon a time I kept a prayer list in my Bible and everyday I would just go through this long list of names and illnesses–and that was great until it wasn’t. I had kids and life got busy and I honestly didn’t want to talk to God anymore through a list.
Instead when I tell someone I am going to pray for something I attach something memorable to that prayer. For example, one time I had a friend who was battling a chronic illness and she drove a red car. So whenever I saw a red car, I used that as a prayer prompt to trigger my brain to pray for her!
You can do this for ANYTHING. When you drive past a school–pray for your kids teachers. When you drive past a church pray for your pastors.
When you see an ambulance go by in your own car pause and pray for whoever is sick or when you see a police car go by say to your kids in the minivan or kids say to your parents in the minivan “Hey can we pause and pray for the police men and women in our town.” And you pause and pray and then go on with your day.
4. Pray habitually.
If you’re struggling to make prayer a daily habit, begin to attach praying to another habit you are ALREADY doing. I learned this from the book Atomic Habits by James Clear and simply applied it to my spiritual growth.
So I know my day doesn’t start without that first cup of coffee so maybe every time I pour that first cup I’m praying for my spouse that specific prayer request I have for their life right now. Or as I’m washing my face before bed I say a gratitude prayer to God, naming three things I’m thankful for today. Or before you begin your lunch break, take a moment to reorient your heart to God in prayer.
5. Pray instantly.
When someone asks you to pray for them either in person or online, stop RIGHT THEN and pray for them! Don’t wait to put it in your prayer journal or think of a prayer prompt. Pray right then and there! (Then later, if needed, you can incorporate that prayer request into your regular time with God.)
5. Start a Prayer Journal
A prayer journal allows you consistently grow in prayer and see that growth over time. In your prayer journal you may want to include specific prayer requests and answers to prayer. You may have Bible verses you are using to pray over your kids or family. The Your Time with God Journal includes prayer pages to help you make a prayer plan, track your prayer life and grow
6. Find a prayer partner
Who in your life is a faithful Christ-follower and can partner with you in developing prayer habits together? Having a friend you can lean on for prayer is a huge spiritual blessing. I have 3-4 friends I know I can text at anytime and they will immediately be in prayer for me and my family.
It may feel scary to ask for prayer and it may feel hard to find a friend you can trust with the messy details of your life, but it is well worth it. You can ask a pastor if they have a prayer partner recommendation or ask if your church has a prayer group who would have a member interested in partnering with you in prayer.
7. Develop a place of prayer
Having a quiet place where you meet with God at a specific time for prayer is incredibly helpful for some. This practice of a prayer closet comes from Matthew 6:6. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Having a private place you can dedicate to creating a prayer room or even an outdoor place in a garden where you can consistently go to pray and have quiet time with God is a huge blessing to your prayer life.
(But don’t feel bad if a quiet place isn’t possible in this season of your life. God hears your prayers wherever and whenever!)
8. Pray with different methods
On your spiritual journey can breathe fresh life into your regular prayer time by experimenting with a variety of prayer methods. Here are a few of my favorite unique ways to grow my prayer life. (Many of these I became aware of through The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook. It’s a great tool, I highly suggest for intentional spiritual growth!)
- Breath prayers — A simple way to connect your breath and mindfulness to your practice of prayer. I have a full article on breath prayers here!
- Journaling prayers — Write out your prayers to God longhand as a way to connect with God and slow down your brain as you pray. It’s easy to rush through a prayer time, but journaling prayers is a guaranteed way to slow down and spend more quality time with God.
- Fixed hour prayer — When you pause at certain set times during the day for prayer.
- Liturgical prayers — Using pre-written historical and modern prayers to guide your prayer life. I love The Book of Common Prayer and this book full of 21st century blessing prayers.
- Listening prayer — Quieting inner and outer noise to open your heart and truly listen for God’s voice.
9. Go on regular prayer walks
It’s easier for me to focus on prayer when I’m moving so I love going on prayer walks. Sometimes my focus is worship. Sometimes it’s on praying for family or friends. And other times, it’s simply a time and space for me to spend chatting with God–telling Him about my life and my concerns.
10. Pray with your church
Matthew 18:19-20 says, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
When multiple believers join together to boldly approach the throne of God, big things can happen! So join together with your church body when they pray. Many churches have weekly or monthly prayer nights set aside for corporate prayer. These times are sweetly encouraging as we hear others pray and agree with them in prayer for God to move in our lives, bodies, communities, and homes.
11. Use Prayer Apps
Use an app like the Pray As You Go app to help build your prayer life as you’re on the go! It is perfect for growing your faith as you go about your day– while driving to work, folding laundry or doing dishes. Each day you listen to music, read Scripture, meditate, and pray with guided prompts.
I also use the Notes app and Reminder apps as practical ways to remember and organize my prayer life. Then it’s easy to update when I’m out and about or simply go through my prayer list and pray for a few specific requests when I’m waiting to pickup groceries or for my kids to get out of school.
12. Mean Your Routine Prayers
I’ve prayed before my meals and before bed since I was a child and now I’m trying to instill those prayer habits in my kids’ lives. But it’s easy to see those routine prayers as just things we say quickly and without thinking. But what if we put our heart and soul into connecting with God even in those “rote” prayers?
They become important prayers that are doing powerful work in our lives. Slow down and connect with God as you pray the “Our Father” or The Lord’s Prayer in church.
Don’t settle for a weak prayer life! Pray for specific blessings over your kids using Bible verses before bed. Your kids will pick up on the sincerity and power behind your prayers even in those “regular old” times.
Resources to Help You Grow the Power of Prayer in Your Life
- 7 Most Powerful Prayers in the Bible
- How to Pray and What to Say (with Prayer Examples!)
- 35 Scriptures to Speak and Pray Over Your Children
- Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer
- Dangerous Prayers. Because Following Jesus Was Never Meant to Be Safe by Craig Groeschel
- Choosing Spiritual Goals for the New Year
- Any Time, Any Place, Any Prayer: A True Story of How You Can Talk to God
Prayer changes things in our HEARTS, in our FAMILIES, in our church and in our community. Spending time developing consistent and powerful prayer lives will help build our love of God, grow our faith, and help us make important decisions with wisdom. A strong prayer life brings you closer to God and can bring about change in the spiritual realms in ways we may never fully know this side of heaven!