Transforming a Disappointing Prayer Life

Is it possible to pray unceasingly?  If praying unceasingly means thinking constantly about God or speaking continuously to Him throughout all of our waking moments, then probably not.  But if praying unceasingly means to think, speak, and live in the presence of God, then yes, it is. 

My prayer life has been disappointing to me for much of my life.  Scattered, dis-ordered, random, and when I try to order my prayers, it results in lists that eventually transform into vain repetitions.

Recently, I’ve tried praying in different ways and have a new enthusiasm for developing this discipline that draws me nearer to God.  Here are some different types of prayer that I am trying to include in my daily prayer life: 
  • Scheduled times of prayer: first thing in the morning, noon, and last thing at night.  When I know exactly when to intentionally pray and which kind of prayer I am going to pray, it helps me to be diligent.  If it means stopping at a certain time to pray the “Our Father”/“Lord’s Prayer” or a Psalm, I have connected with God more than I would have if I just skipped it altogether because I had nothing to say.
  • Spontaneous prayers: throughout the day for help and strength for myself and others, requests, and quiet words of praise when I feel the upwelling of thankfulness in my heart. These prayers include turning the thoughts in my head from a self-centered monologue into a conversation with God as I present my thoughts to Him in dialogue with Him.
  • Written prayers: praying the prayers of other believers lifts the burden of trying to find the words I want to pray and helps me to join hands with other Christ followers in the present as well as throughout the centuries.
  •  Psalm prayers: like written prayers, but praying the words of Scripture that express my feeling, my trust, and my faith, and God’s promises.
  •  Music prayers: hymns and other kinds of music sung as prayers and praise to God, much like the written/Psalm prayers with the emotion that rises from the beauty of music.
  • Silent listening:  letting God speak into my heart while listening and not speaking.  Sometimes I do this best by repeating a phrase over and over or by listening to a repetitive piece of music that helps me focus on Him instead of my mind wandering all over the place.  I like to listen to Misty Edwards when I do this type of listening, such as “Let It Rain”, forcing me to listen for 7 minutes until the music ends.  (Otherwise, I tend to forget what I’m doing and suddenly find myself in the kitchen.)

Variety in prayer has energized my prayer life. Written prayers and praying at fixed times of the day are new on my list.  (I will post more on these topics next time).

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