Have you ever sat down to pray and your mind goes completely blank, become distracted, or even start to fall asleep? I’ve personally done all these things and more! But in the last few years God has grown my prayer life and now I can honestly say that my time with Him is meaningful. You TOO can develop a focused and meaningful prayer life that creates an intimate, two-way relationship with Jesus.
In this post, I’ll share 3 steps of how to develop this rockin’, meaningful prayer life!
Before we get into the 3 steps, let’s be clear about what prayer IS, and what it is NOT.
Prayer is not:
A task to get through.
A checkmark on a to-do list.
A pat on the back to appease my conscience.
A device to make God my personal "genie".
A one-way conversation.
A waste of time.
A refocuser – Prayer takes my mind off of ME and my problems and re-focuses my mind onto God.
A burden lifter as I ask Him, with belief, for specific requests and answers and helps.
A trust builder.
A guidance from God in decisions.
A time of praise and worship of Jesus and who He is.
A pouring out of thankfulness to God.
A developer of intimacy with Jesus.
A two-way conversation.
A joy-filler and a blessing.
Want a prayer life like THAT? Let’s start in on the 3 tips to a develop a meaningful prayer life.
1 – Meaningful prayer starts with surrendering myself to God.
God is all about the heart. He looks at our motives, not just our actions.
Psalm 51:17 says, "The sacrifices pleasing to God are a broken spirit, a broken and humble heart."
What kind of a person is pleasing to God? One with a HUMBLE heart. Therefore, when I begin my prayer time with God, I first and foremost want to get my heart and mind into a place of surrender and humility before Him. Here are a few practical ways I start my prayers in order to get to a place of surrender:
My simple morning prayers
– these are prayers that are all about giving myself to God. I am His and want to be a part of His plan and purposes – I tell Him this to start my day and to immediately humble myself before Him. (You can find my simple morning prayers on
I praise, thank and acknowledge God as LORD over my life- I learned from Beth Moore in her book "Whispers of Hope
" to acknowledge that He is LORD (and I am not) on a daily basis. Sometimes I say this to God in one sentence ("God, I acknowledge that YOU are my God and Lord over my life – I give myself to you!"), and sometimes I say a lot more! But saying this on a daily basis brings me to a place of humility and surrender.
Confess my specific sins and ask for forgiveness
– This daily confession reminds me that I certainly am not perfect and that I need Jesus. It’s easy to say, "God, forgive me for my sins!" But it’s HARD to make myself think and pull up specific ways I went against Him that day. But I do it because I desire to be more like Him more than I desire act like I’m "fine" and be ignorant about my lack of Christ-likeness. Some days this takes a while, but most days it’s just a couple minutes of my prayer time. Whatever the amount of time, it is definitely a great way to put myself in a humble mindset. What are some ways you surrender yourself to God?
Now that we are getting our mind fixed on being humble before God, let’s go on to the second step in having a meaningful prayer life.
2 – Be Authentic in Prayer. I think one of the biggest relationship killers is being fake. So, how can we ever trust God with our lives if we feel like we can’t be real with who we are and what our troubles are?
If you desire a meaningful, close relationship with God where you feel Him and aren’t just going through the motions – I encourage you to be authentic with Him.
Be fully raw in prayer- He can handle it. I know I personally used to get twisted up in the "rightness" of prayer – it had become a "task" or it’s like I was still in school and had to be done a certain "right way" for God to hear me. But then, as I read the Bible more, I realized that the prayers of these men and women were coming from a real need in their lives. Some prayers where joyful and praising God for an answer or deliverance or provision : – Like Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2, after God answered her long-time prayer for a baby, "My heart rejoices in the LORD… There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides You!". – Like David in Psalm 10 when he asked God tough questions like, "Why are you so far off? Why do you seem to be hiding?" – Or in Psalm 69 when David felt overwhelmed, "Save me God – I feel like the waters have come up to my neck and I’m sinking!" I came to realize that I can be fully me before God. I can unload on Him, I can be needy with Him, I can be emotional with Him, I can tell Him I what I’m truly feeling, I can ask forhelp about anything, I can give Him my deepest hearts desires and pains. As I pray authentically, I always try to bring it back to hope and trust in the Lord. I saw this pattern in the "realness" of David’s Psalms where he always reminded himself in the end of God’s truth and promises. For example, in Psalm 69 where David begins by telling God that "the waters have come up to my neck…I’m sinking, I am worn out calling for help…", he ends this Psalm by writing in verse 33, "The LORD hears the needy and does not despise His captive people." So although David told God that he felt he was sinking, he reminded himself in prayer that God hears him – and doesn’t that bring hope? I try to always bring my emotional realness back to the truth of who God is. And if I can’t come up with the words to say to God on my own, I’ll often search for a Psalm and find a verse that says it for me, and pray that to God.
Now that we are humble before God, are choosing to be authentic and real with Him, let’s end with step 3 in developing a meaningful prayer life.
3 – Have a Focused Plan For Your Prayers. Here is where it get real practical. Do you have a plan for what you will pray about? If not, start by making a list. Having a specific prayer list will help you to stay focused.
I think all of us get real bored and have our ADD-moments without some sort of guidance about what to pray about. I suggest pulling up a new document on your phone or computer (or use a sheet a paper!) and do the quick activity below to get your focused prayer list going! This seriously takes just a few minutes and is so worth the time!
Prayer List Brainstorm Activity: – WHO in your life do you want to pray for? Who do you want to pray for every single day and who would you like to pray for once a week? (For example, I pray for my husband and kids every day, but each of my sisters I pray for once a week.) – WHO in your church or a ministry you follow can you be praying for? – WHAT organizations or causes that are meaningful to you can you pray for? What specifically do you want to pray for them?
– What personal goals do you have this year (spiritual, physically, relational, financially, with work)?
– What are your family goals this year? – What specific needs do you have? What specific needs do others have that you want to be sure to regularly pray for? – Anything else on your heart? Jot it down!
After you have brainstormed who and what to pray for – put it into a daily list.
Write each day of the week and write down specifically who and what you’ll pray for each day.
That way when you get started in your quiet time, you have a plan of action to keep you focused!
I can’t wait to see how your time with God develops and becomes more meaningful! He will bless your efforts and your heart that is turned toward Him! What do you hope to receive from a more meaningful prayer life? Let that motivate you to follow through and do these 3 steps of surrendering to God, being authentic before Him, and having a planned out prayer list to help you stay focused! If I can pray for you in any way, please comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!Love & Blessings,
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