I just got back from my summer vacation to Disney World. It was a blast as the kids were the perfect age to start enjoying some of the rides and characters. While there we joined up with my parents and my mother-in-law which was a great for them to be a part of their granddaughters’ experiences of Disney. However, it quickly became clear that my wife and I had different approaches to Disney than they did.
My wife downloaded an iphone app that showed wait times for each ride. Therefore we knew that the Peter Pan ride and the Winnie the Pooh ride had the longest wait times for the rides the girls wanted to go on. Therefore we made a beeline for them to get fast passes right away. My mother-in-law was content to live vicariously through us-where ever we wanted to go. My mom was willing to follow us as long as she could stop along the way to trade pins. My dad secretly desired to ride the wild rides but compliantly followed the lead of the group.
People similarly approach prayer with different approaches. Some people have it so planned out that they tend to miss the spontaneous encounters with God. Others don’t have a plan and try to live off other’s experiences. Some pray solely for the benefits, while others desire the fullness of God but decide to stay in the shallow in so not to be too different than others.
I am not trying to put my family into any particular box; I’m just setting up how people can get a better prayer life. You may prefer exploring prayer for yourself, follow the success of others who your admire, or make up a plan. Whatever works for you. Here are 7 tips that you can add to your prayer map to help you know where you want to go.
“There is no way to learn to pray but by praying.” – Samuel Chadwick
This has been said hundred of times by many Godly people, but we will never grow in prayer if we don’t pray. You can’t wait until you have figured it all out before you start, prayer is something you need to practice and experiment with. Prayer takes you into the presence of God and it is in His presence that you take on His likeness and change your heart. You cannot live the life God planned for you without prayer because the things He has planned require His involvement which is found in prayer.
“Our rest lies in looking to the Lord, not to ourselves.” – Watchman Nee
Prayer reminds us that everything has been accomplished through Christ’s death and resurrection. The work we now do is to apply what He has done to our world. “Consider yourself dead.” Rest in the presence of God, in His goodness, and in His love for you. It is out of this confidence you can work out of rest. Prayer is not earning God’s favor; it enters you into the favor He already has for you.
3. God’s Face
“We don’t look at problems. Whatever you look at becomes bigger.
We look at God.” – Pastor Spinoza
Most of our prayers become pleas for God to act because we are so focused on what we want Him to do. To enhance our prayers we need to focus on God’s face, see His love for us and see His confidence in the situation. By keeping our focus on God’s face the things of this world will grow strangely dim.
4. God’s Voice
“Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God,
and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” – Mother Teresa
Prayer is communication with God, but too often we treat it as our monologue to Him. Without taking the time to listen to God’s voice, we are not valuing His input and God’s role in the relationship. Allow God a chance to talk. His words will always bring you life.
“Joy makes way for hope, which leads to faith that creates
the atmosphere for God’s miraculous answers.” – Kevin Shorter
I pulled joy out of the fruit of the Spirit because too many Christians have forgotten it is required. Prayer is to be enjoyed. You get to spend time with the One who created you and loves you. You get filled with purpose and direction in life. You find joy through prayer because it is one thing that you were specifically created for. If you don’t find joy in prayer, go to a trusted friend who you can talk it over with. What you will find is that there is a lie you are believing about God that is stopping up the fount of joy.
“God wants us to push the limits
of what we can ask or imagine.” – Steven Furtick
God is our Heavenly Father and is pleased when His children ask of Him. He will not turn us away. Sure, He longs for the relationship, but asking things from Him can enhance that relationship. Asking shows a dependence on Him, a belief that He will come through for us, and a confidence that He is more than able.
“Praise and thanksgiving not only open the gates of heaven
for me to approach God, but also prepare a way
for God to bless me.” – The Kneeling Christian
Thanksgiving is a sign that we are filled with the Spirit. It is also the avenue to get filled. To be effective in prayer we are called to give thanks in all things. Gratitude opens the heart to receive more from God. By being thankful you are also more prone to see the fulfillment of the requests you have made to God, which encourages more prayer.
I pray that these 7 tips take you into deeper levels of prayer. You may not visit each area every time you pray, but these items added to your prayer map can show you the way to experience a better prayer life. God loves you and desires you to come to Him.