What is prayer?
What is it not?
Who can pray?
Where can I pray?
When can I pray?
How can I pray?
God has given you and me prayer as a means of supernatural power. Prayer is engaging in conversation with God not robotic rhetoric. Prayer is not words repeated out of obligation or tradition. Prayer is not for people who hear us, it is directed at God. Prayer is for any one of God’s lovingly created people. Prayer is available literally anywhere. If you are a Christ follower, the Holy Spirit is a gift who is with you at all times. Prayer is best as an ongoing conversation. Prayer is a habit that can be matured as you and I grow in our faith.
How important is prayer?
Consider that the Bible records over 650 prayers along with 25 prayers our Lord Jesus.
From the time I was a young girl, I have heard and seen supernatural instances of prayer results in my life and those around me. In rich heritage I have read the lives of the many great men and women of God who served as missionaries, pastors, teachers of God’s Word, doctors and nurses, statesmen, mothers, translators, blue collar, white collar, young and old. Undoubtedly, these were ordinary people with extraordinary lives because they deeply believed God and pursued Him with a passion marinated in the persistence of prayer, scripture reading and obedience.
In my earliest recollections I am sitting listening to my father preach and teach God’s Word to unreached people groups. My parents spent their lives as planting indigenous churches in places many people would never want to go, let alone live for years with their children. My faith was birthed by watching the faith of my parents. My mother would wake up early in the morning to turn the gas stove on so we could start boiling water for the day. I could hear the click, clicking of the stove turning on. Mom would then slip out to the patio to read her Bible, sing and pray out loud. Since I could hear her praying specifically, I would then know when one of her prayers was answered. Then I could hear her praying in gratitude as she would resolve her prayer request in her prayer notebook. This was my Mom.
If you are new to being a Christ follower or like me, you are eager to grow in your prayer life, here are seven simple ideas to a supernatural prayer life.
7 Simple Ideas to a Supernatural Prayer Life
- Pray as an ongoing conversation. When I was a little girl, I heard my mother praying out loud to God. I heard her read her Bible out loud, sing worship songs and pray out loud. She would often stop in the middle of something and just invite us to pray. She invited her children to pray. She invited the women she ministered to to pray. She invited those close to her to pray. From the time I was a young girl, I saw my mother model an ongoing conversation with God through simple prayers. She might be praying while she washed dishes. When she was driving, she often thanked God for helping her find her destination. Just as you would verbally interact with a person who right beside you physically, she felt him near.
- Pray scripture. Pray what God shows you from the Word of God. Pray the scripture specifically. For example, pray for strategic wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5) Organize verses on cards. Pray verses that represent an area that you are trying to grow in right now. Maybe there is something you need to do more of or less of. If you are struggling with something, find scripture to respond to it and pray the Word of God. I pray that I would come to know God better. “[that you] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” (Ephesians 3:14, 18–19)
- Pray believing. God is moved by our faith. We see that demonstrated in the faith of Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice his son, or in the faith of the woman who had been bleeding and then was healed by touching the garment of Jesus’ robe. As we read this story in Mark 5: 25-34 “And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” Jesus clearly said that it was her faith that healed her.
- Pray out loud. When I pray out loud alone or with others, I am able to more clearly concentrate on my connection to God. I am less distracted. I inch closer to my Father’s presence. I recognize the reality of being able to speak directly to my creator. It seems reverent. While a silent, inward prayer is just as effective, I invite you to try more out loud prayer. Yes, I am suggesting that you pray out loud when you are driving, when you are doing the dishes, when you are watching a sunrise, when you are holding a sick child or when you are in awe of God’s goodness to you! Cry out to God when your heart is in pain. He knows.
- Pray specifically. You can start in a general way, but let your heart be like a child who is climbing onto her father’s lap. Think of praying in a concentric way. Start by examining yourself. Confess your sins. Pray for forgiveness, strength, wisdom, hope and love. Pray the fruit of the spirit. Pray out into the next circle. Pray for your husband, your children, your extended family, your neighbors, your friends, your church family and out from there. In an effort to demonstrate this practical idea, let’s talk about how to pray specifically for your child. If you desire God to work in your child’s life, believe with God for your child. I created a prayer guide just as a jumping off point to notice all the parts of your child and bring them before God. (Prayer Guide for My Child). Another specific way to pray is to pray to kill generational sin in your family. (Prayers for Generational Sin)
- Listening prayer creates a silence with a concentration on hearing. James 1:5 guarantees that if I lack wisdom, I should ask God because He gives it generously. To receive God’s wisdom, I must set aside time to be quiet and listen. I must repent and come before God clean and obedient to avoid any of my prayers from being blocked. Much of this thought comes from waiting on the Lord. Ask Him what do you want me to do? What do I need to say? God guides when I listen. For more on this, I highly recommend a little book called “God Guides” by Mary Geegh. Mary was a missionary to India for 38 years. Her prayer life is one worth mimicking. As I fill my life with the truth of God’s Word, I am able to hear more of God’s insight as a sit quietly to listen. In a praying life it is awesome to know what to say, but equally important to listen and respond.
- Look for Answers. God’s answers and His gifts are all around. With so many ideas on how to keep a prayer notebook, I will encourage you just to keep one. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” is what we read in James 4: 3 ESV. You pick what works for you. Identify your prayers. Pray specifically with faith. Listen and look for answers. A written history of your prayer requests coupled with the answers will give you such joy and confidence in God’s active work in your life. Try it. When you see what God is doing, be like the Samaritan woman who ran to tell everyone. He is counting on it.
Speaking directly to our Father God is an invitation to an ongoing conversation. Praying scripture with a believing heart out loud, specifically leads to listening to God and looking for answers. Developing our spiritual selves is a lifetime journey. John Piper suggests that we “Meditate long and pray through the prayers of Paul in Ephesians 1 and 3, Philippians 1, and Colossians 1.” Exploring the prayers recorded in the Bible certainly offer framework and inspiration for our own prayers.
My prayer for you, dear one, is that you would grow into the fullness of glory as you anticipate the perfection of beauty in becoming more intimate with the Father who loves you more than you could ever know.
Join Tim and I for a companion conversation @ Embrace Your Everyday podcast!
For more on FAITH check out these blogs:
Who am I? What is My True Identity?
Spiritual Blooms: Growing Your Own Children Spiritually
Toxic Thinking: Renewal through Neuroplasticity
Excellent Resources on Prayer: