I have always fought against the idea of making prayer into a habit. I've reasoned that, if prayer is such a tedious task, than there must be something wrong in my relationship with Christ. And yet, by my very reasoning, I have made prayer a task, rather than a relationship.
I know I'm not alone in this reasoning. I took several polls on social media and the overwhelming amount of voters admitted to not being happy with their prayer life. In fact, in one Facebook group, 40 Christian moms said they wished they had a better prayer life and 0 said they were happy with their prayer life.
Prayer is our main form of communication with God. If we aren't praying, we aren't communicating with Christ. How can we grow in a relationship if we aren't talking? How quickly would your relationship with your husband go downhill, if you only talked with him while you were on the go? Or if you only talked with him when you needed something?
If we want to change our prayer lives, we need to ask ourselves some questions:
After we answer those questions, we are going to follow them up with some action steps.
What do I think my prayer life should look like?
When you think of having a vibrant prayer life, what picture comes to mind? Do you see yourself getting up early and staying on your knees for half an hour? Or do you see a Mom who fervently prays over her children as she holds them in her arms? Do you want to be the friend who always remembers to pray for your friends when you comment "hugs and prayers" on Facebook? Do you measure your prayer life by the results you see?
There are so many different definitions of a good prayer life, and they probably always have a good reason behind them. But I challenge you to measure those pre-defined pictures in your head with the Word of God and reality.
Why doesn't my prayer life look like I want it to?
This question is the important one. Our idea of what a vibrant prayer life should look like can and will shift through different seasons of life. But if there is a thing in our heart that is keeping us from living the life we know we need to be living, it needs to be dealt with.
Do you feel free with God? Or is your prayer life characterized by fear and trembling, along with constant repenting and continual hoping that He isn't mad at you? This isn't the relationship God wants to have with us. In the Bible, we are told "[Our] High Priest understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it." Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT
Coming boldly to the throne is what we do when we pray. If fear is holding you back, repent of it and ask Jesus to replace the fear with a bold confidence. Jesus wants you to run up to Him, like a little girl to her Daddy. He loves you and it pains His heart when His children fear Him.
Are you distracted from prayer by your to-do list and the busyness of life? This is probably the biggest thing that keeps us women from a vibrant prayer life. 1 Corinthians 13:10 tells us, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." Temptation does not come from God (James 1:13), but God does use temptation to work on our behalf and to strengthen us.
When we allow the temptation to be distracted keep us from pursuing a vibrant pray life, we are assigning more strength to our temptation than to our God.
Think about that a little bit.
Now, what side do you want to be on? Believing in temptation or trusting and acting in God's power?
My first impulse in fighting distraction or fear is to make a big, elaborate plan. I want to start setting aside time to pray one hour every day, because that will make a statement, right? But if I do this, I will quickly burn out.
A vibrant prayer life starts with a heart attitude, not continual time on my knees.
Start the battle by praying for God to give you a love for prayer. Make this your constant prayer. The best way to build a habit is to set up triggers that remind you to build on the habit. So start by setting up mental checkpoints throughout your house. Every time you pass the mirror, ask God to give you a love for prayer. Set a lock-screen on your phone that reminds you to ask God to give you a love for prayer. Repeat this request when you cross something off your to-do list or walk up the stairs, or vacuum your floor.
Any task that you repeat multiple times a day is a good trigger. Pick one and pray, pray, pray. If your prayer life is characterized by fear, here are some Scriptures that speak to that fear. If your prayer life is defined by distraction and busyness, here are some scriptures to help combat that. Tape them up around your home and pray them every time you see them.
Prayer, in it's simplest form, is carrying on a conversation with God, both in private and as you go throughout your day. The more you engage in this conversation, the more you'll desire it and the more you'll do it. Speak to your Savior - He wants to hear every detail of your life, because He loves you!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.