Speaking the Truth in Love

Growing in Prayer

Are you interested in having a more stimulating private prayer life? If so the five biblical suggestions described below should help:

Pray in Unusual Places. Jesus went up into the hills to pray (Matt. 14:23), and Paul knelt in prayer on the beach (Acts 21:5). Praying in an unusual place is spiritually invigorating, and the place doesn’t have to be exotic. Stepping out on the back porch at night or even choosing a different room in the house may enhance concentration.

Pray at Odd Times. It’s easy to make a biblical case for scheduled prayer (Acts 3:1), but praying at unusual times may often prove more refreshing. At least on one occasion, Jesus prayed “all night” (Luke 6:12). Anything we do on a set schedule may begin to feel predictable and boring.

Vary Your Prayer Language. Jesus said, “When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases” (Matt. 6:7). Is a good prayer necessarily eloquent? No, but it is fresh and heartfelt. Instead of asking the Lord to bless the sick, the afflicted, and the distressed, we should plead with him to meet the specific needs of named individuals.

Meditate on the Psalms. It would be hard to find prayers more rich, varied, and moving than those collected in the Old Testament book of song and prayer. These powerful prayers can become our own. For instance, if we have sinned and feel ashamed, we may find that the words of Psalm 51:9-11 perfectly express our sorrow, fear, and longing for renewal: “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.”

Experiment with Various Postures and Styles. The people of the Bible prayed while standing, kneeling, and even lying facedown. Sometimes they prayed silently. Sometimes they prayed aloud. Does your prayer life reflect this refreshing variety?

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