Have you ever prayed, and wondered if God heard you–or felt as though you were talking to the sky?
Have you noticed the prayers of those around you getting answered, and thought there may be some secret you missed in order to rocket-boost your prayers?
If so, you are definitely not alone.
My prayer life has evolved over the last couple of years. Prayer used to feel–to me, that is–flat, dry, and somewhat ineffective.
To be fair, I pretty much just said my grace over meals, and muttered repetitive prayers at bedtime. And that was it.
These days, I have found out that there are a few things that can help you reach a deeper connection to God. Now, I feel more like I am talking to a friend than to the wall.
If you have been feeling like your prayer life could use a little more juice, allow me to share these 8 tips to supercharge your prayers.
1) SPEND TIME GETTING TO KNOW GOD EVERY DAY.
Personally, I am more likely to grant a favor to someone I have a relationship with than someone I barely know. Thankfully, I am not God–He knows us each by name and loves us all. However, there is something to be said for spending regular time with God.
I used to treat God like a vending machine, expecting Him to hand me whatever I wanted. That was before I knew Him as a loving Father. After a period of deep depression (more on that in a later post), I decided to reach out to God to find out who He actually was, and what that meant for me.
Once I took the first step toward Him in seeking Him through prayer and reading the Word, He revealed himself to me in more ways. As I read the Bible and talk to Him, our relationship has deepened, and I no longer pray like I did before. God himself will align your prayers with His will, and He does it when you just start talking to Him. You don’t have to use fancy language, or speak in “thees” or “thous.” Just start talking, from your heart.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
2) ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR HELP.
God is three divine beings in one Person—Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to us as a helper, and among other things–He helps us to pray when we don’t know what to say.
You know those heavy sighs you let out at the end of a long day, or after another argument, or when you’ve heard bad news, or when you feel alone, or even when you just can’t put your finger on what’s wrong?
The Holy Spirit translates those sighs into prayers to God the Father. He hears all, He knows all, and He’s praying for you as well.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. (Romans 8:26-27)
3) PRAY WITH A THANKFUL HEART.
It is totally okay to ask God for something, but are you thankful for what is already going well in your life?
Sometimes I forget that God is my source, my provider, and the reason that I even exist. Crazy, huh?
When I look at my life from that perspective–it is easy for me to become grateful for every single breath. Why then should I worry about my career decisions or any other aspect of my life?
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. (Philippians 4:6)
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. (Colossians 4:2)
4) PRAY THE WORD.
What is praying the Word, and what in the WORLD does that even mean? If you are a believer, you may have heard the phrase “pray the Word.” This means to speak God’s own words–as in the Bible–back to Him.
Why should we pray the Word? God says that His Word will not return to Him empty. His Word is His bond, which means you can trust what He says. When we speak God’s Word back to Him, it strengthens our faith and deepens our trust in Him.
How do you pray the Word? You can develop your own prayers to God right from the Word of God.
God is not human, that He should lie, not a human being, that He should change his mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19)
So My Word which goes from My mouth will not return to Me empty. It will do what I want it to do and will carry out My plan well. (Isaiah 55:11)
5) USE A PRAYER JOURNAL.
If you are a journaler, writing down your prayers is great for two reasons:
- It helps to clarify your thoughts.
- It is a great way to record what God is doing in your life and the lives of those you pray for.
I highly recommend using a prayer journal if you are liable to forget what you ate for breakfast, much less all of the ways God has answered your prayers. Ever heard the phrase, “God is in the details”? I dare you to spend the next 7 days recording your prayers. I’m telling you–you will be amazed by what you find.
I love referring to my prayer journals to remember how God has moved in my life.
6) FIND A PRAYER PARTNER.
There is strength in numbers, especially when praying. Jesus said that where two or three (or more) are gathered in His name, He’s right there with them. That is POWERFUL.
We are supposed to pray for each other.
One of the biggest lies we believe today is that there is no comfort in prayer.
I used to believe this, too.
Whenever I went through a difficult time, the last thing I wanted to hear from someone else was, I’m praying for you.
Ugh, I would think to myself. How cliche.
I realize now that prayer is anything but cliche. What an honor it is to have another person go before the Creator of the universe on my behalf!
Your prayer partner can be anyone–a spouse, family member, or a friend. If you belong to a church life group or small group, this is a perfect place to find a prayer partner.
I’ve found that praying for others is an especially great way to take my focus away from my own problems.
Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up. (Proverbs 12:25)
7) FAST AND PRAY.
Have you ever fasted? I don’t mean like intermittent fasting, but fasting and praying?
I started fasting about a year ago after doing some research. I knew that people fasted in the good ol’ Bible days, tearing their clothes and covering themselves with ash. But that was all that I knew, and your girl is not about that business.
What I discovered is that fasting is a way to tune out the static so you can hear from God more clearly.
When I began fasting, I felt more focused and less distracted.
The most common way to fast is from food, but people have fasted from social media, television, and other activities.
8) BE STILL AND LISTEN.
If you’re anything like me, most of your prayers are you–talking to God. Or if you’re really like me, talking at God sometimes.
Have you ever wondered what might happen if we slowed down enough to hear God talk back to us?
Becoming still in order to listen to God doesn’t come naturally. It’s a practice. But it’s a worthy practice if it means hearing from God. I will take a two-way conversation over talking to the wall any day.
What does being still look like in a practical sense? SO glad you asked:
- Schedule time alone with God at least fifteen minutes before everyone else in your house gets up.
- Invite God to speak to you.
- Pause after you pray to listen.
- Pay attention to your thoughts.
- Get some rest.
This may sound unconventional, but as a busy mom, I find that I hear best from God after a nap, or first thing in the morning after a good night’s sleep.
I hope you find these eight tips helpful as you seek a deeper connection with God in your prayer life.