If you have ever wondered how you can get into the habit of prayer or even how to pray effectively to God period, you aren’t alone. Building an effective daily prayer routine is vital to our spiritual growth. Adding prayer to our routine is also key to our sanity as busy women.
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”– Max Lucado
Sometimes my daily prayers flow easily and I feel my connection with God grow stronger. Other days, my prayers seem to hit the ceiling and bounce back to the pages of my prayer journal.
Building a daily habit of prayer can help ensure that your great prayer days outweigh the poor ones. The best part about this is praying without ceasing doesn’t require you to need anything to get started. Ultimately, we want to have developed how we pray so well that our lives are a prayer. To get to this place, however, requires patience, practice, and a plan.
When I began curating the rhythms that turned into my prayer habit, it was messy and awkward. Learning how to pray without ceasing took trial and error to become a habit that was easier to maintain. I wanted to create a daily prayer routine that increased my communication with God. It was important that my routine not only built my belief in the fact that God was listening to me, but that it also allowed adequate time for me to hear from God.
What evolved was a list of simple tips for organizing prayer time that can be incorporated easily into everyday routines that make prayer a habit. It has since become an invaluable part of my daily life.
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What does the bible say about prayer?
The first step in creating a effective prayer life is to know what guidance we have about prayer in the bible. The bible is our ultimate guide for daily living. Learning how to pray according to the bible requires us to study the powerful prayers of the bible and those who prayed them.
There are many prayers in the bible. Some notable ones include:
- The Lord’s Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13
- Hannah’s Prayer, 1 Samuel 1:10-16
- Hagar’s Prayer, Genesis 21:15-19
- Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, Luke 22:39-46
Each of these prayers gives us an example of how we can grow in faith and trust of God through our prayers!
What can we learn about praying from the Lord’s Prayer?
One of the most well known examples of how to pray effectively to God is described in Matthew 6:9-13 and in Luke 11:2-4. During these passages Jesus is instructing his apostles how to pray. He then proceeds to give directions for prayer and a sample prayer to follow as a guide. That example of prayer called the Lord’s Prayer is often recited by children and adults alike.
Jesus’ basic directions about the way we should pray in Matthew 6:5-15 are:
- Do not pray to be seen by others
- Prayer is loving communication to our Father in Heaven (think intimate conversation)
- Do not use lots of words just to say them, empty phrases will not be honored
- Prayer is a place to confess our sins
- Our prayer should include adoration and or praise
- Prayer shouldn’t be only about our needs
Jesus spent a lot of time praying. He often went away by himself to pray during different times in his ministry. His example of prayer shows us that we should pray without ceasing, we should pray in private, and God is listening! His examples of effective prayer should be our main guidance for how to pray!
How to Pray Effective Prayers
The first step in learning how to pray to God effectively is to have a heart postured to communicate with the Father. Every other step you take is extra. The bible says in Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heartNIV
Praying to God is seeking him. It is believing that you will find him. When we pray to God it has to be with the belief that he is on the other side of our prayers.
Once you have postured your heart to press in to him, you can follow these simple steps that have helped me to have more effective quiet time with God.
Step 1: Set the Atmosphere – This step in praying to God involves you removing distractions (could be as simple as closing your eyes or as elaborate as creating a prayer closet)
Step 2: Know who you are speaking to – When learning how to pray and starting your prayers acknowledge who it is you are praying to. Our God is the living God, the God of miracles. When we pray to God we are praying to the creator of the universe. This helps us to present ourselves with humility.
Step 3: Remember that God cares about you: Too often when we are learning how to pray we worry about the wording of our prayers, or we neglect to speak our heart, our concerns, and our true needs because we get so focused on how we say what we are praying and forget that God wants us to pray to spend time with him.
Step 4: Effective Prayer must include Bible reading: Praying to God while you read his word can help you understand his word better as well as hear his voice more readily. When you make prayer a habit that includes bible reading, you will be tuned into what he says and how he says it when you prayerfully meditate on his word.
Step 5: Listen for his voice. A huge part of effective prayer is creating space in your prayer routine for God to answer you. This means making sure that at sometime in your daily prayer you pause for God’s response, and be expectant that he will answer you.
How can I develop an effective daily prayer routine?
Powerful prayer requires persistence and consistence. It is hard for us to be sure of what God is doing in our lives if we do not ask for it. Developing a habit of prayer helps us to connect to God. When we connect with God our hearts and minds are tuned into the works of his hands. When we are tuned into his works, we can see how active he is in our life.
When we haven’t created a rhythm in our life to pray consistently we miss seeing how involved he is in every step we take.
Tip #1: Prepare your prayer space to make the routine inviting
Where we pray has endless possibilities because our Father in heaven can hear us wherever we are. Whether it is our morning commute in heavy traffic or on vacation, God is listening to the cares of His children. But because this is a conversation between an all-loving God and His easily distractible children, there are some aspects of our prayer space that can make our prayer time more impactful.
Your prayer space should be somewhere in your home that is peaceful, comfortable, and distraction-free. Maybe its an extra closet in the house that you can throw some pillows and a blanket on the floor to pray, perhaps it’s just your favorite recliner, or reading nook you create. Wherever your space is, it should be somewhere you can go to build your prayer time routine.
Remember David prayed to God in many locations – in caves, on mountains, during battle, in the Temple, and in his palace. God showed no preference over the location. He just cared that David came to Him.
Tip #2: Open your bible
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17
If you want know God better, open his book! Its filled with knowledge of His character, His wisdom, as well as His plans and promises for you! It’s one of the best ways to be able to definitively know what he says about, everything! Reading the bible is one of the key ways to build a more productive morning prayer routine.
Whether it’s a scripture of the day, or chronologically reading through the bible a prayer routine can only be as productive and effective as your bible study routine!
If you are interested in ways to help build up this portion of getting to know God check out my friends post at Living Our Lives Well, 5 specific ways to focus on time in God’s word.
Tip #3: Journal your prayers as part of your self-care routine
I love journaling my prayers. It’s been the easiest way for me to cut down the extra chatter that goes on in my mind particularly in the morning and makes praying more powerful. It also gives me an evolving account of God’s answer to those prayers. My faith grows whenever I read through my prayer journal and realize I’m reading answered prayers. It is a personal account of God’s faithfulness.
I like to keep a few items, such as my bible, a notebook, pens, and notecards in and around my prayer space to aid in the process of prayer. Having a prayer journal or a faith binder is a great way to organize your prayers in a way that makes daily communion with God easier to do.
Because I am also making prayer part of my self-care rhythm I can easily add it to any self-care activity I am doing. Doing my nails, say a pray. Taking a hike, listen for the Lord’s voice. Enjoying 5 minutes of guided breathing, breath in the Lord’s presence, breath out my fears… Prayer!
Tip #4: Choose your prayer time and give yourself grace to build an effective and productive habit
For months I tried to pray first thing in the morning. The idea of giving God the first fruits of my day seemed like it was what I was supposed to do. However, the logistics of this never seemed to work for me as long as I forced it from my own will. Mornings were hectic, and I found it hard to devote the time I wanted to.
It wasn’t until I gave myself grace and asked God for help that I was able to wake with the sun and build a powerful morning prayer routine.
Don’t beat yourself up over it. God delights in meeting with you – whether that’s at 6am or 6pm or any time in between! Just pick a time when you can show up and give God your full attention.
Tip #5: Show up consistently and pray without ceasing to create a prayer habit
You can’t grow a deep relationship with someone if you only see them once or twice a year and never speak the rest of the time. If you want true intimacy, you have to cultivate it. In our human relationships that means phone calls, text messages, Skype sessions, Facetime, silly videos, and even exchanging GIFs.
In our relationship with our Heavenly Father that means stopping in to pray, read our Bibles, or journal. Of course, you may not journal every day, especially not at first. But if you keep working to make it a habit, you will get there eventually.
Are you looking to start a prayer routine? Grab your copy of our printable prayer journal with prompts here in the resources page!
What should I say when I pray?
Knowing what to say when you pray is a common question for those desiring to grow closer to god and build a relationship with him. There are many ways to pray and tons of methods of creating your prayers that are easy to adapt with your own words. The cool thing about these methods is they have fun acronyms to help you remember what to say when you pray.
- ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication
- PRAY (Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield)
- PAST (Praise, Acknowledge, Supplication, Thanksgiving)
Each of these offers a simple way to organize your prayers. My addition to these is to remember to leave margin to hear from God.
Examples of daily prayers
Perhaps you are still at a loss of what to say when you pray. Here are a few short prayers to recite or use daily to help you start your prayer habit.
A daily prayer of praise
Heavenly Father, You are worthy, you are mighty, you are my Father. I am in awe of you. There is no one before you, for you are the beginning, and there is nothing after you, for you are the end. You are everything Father and everything is you. This earth, and the birds, and the trees are all yours. It all comes from the abundance of your grace, and I worship you, because of who you are. In Jesus’ name, Amen
A daily prayer of thanksgiving
Lord in Heaven, You are Elohei Chasdi, God of my kindness, goddness, and faithfulness. You are kind, and good, and faithful. You set your eyes on me because you love me. You do not see me as the world sees me, you do not see my past failures, you do not put me in a box. Even when I do not acknowledge you, you see me Father, and beckon me home to you, to your rest.
You are the God of salvation, the Father of rescue, and you are constant, constant in your presence, and constant in your Grace. Thank you for your kindness towards me. Thank you for grace and mercy. I praise you for your goodness and faithfulness towards me. In Jesus’ name, Amen
A daily prayer of forgiveness
Father God, There is no other god before you. I ask your forgiveness Father for any idols that I may have placed before you. Whether is be a relationship, or a desired future, a habit, or a career. I ask your forgiveness for the moments that I have wasted, worrying about insignificant inconveniences and neglected to see the space you gave me in these moments to be a light, and to worship your mighty name.
Father I lay down before you Father these idols and these moments, and I leave them at this alter. I thank you for your faithfulness and your steadfast love. I thank you for your rest, I rest in the shadow of your grace and mercy father, and in it you hide me, and protect me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A daily prayer of worship
Lord, I will sing to you father, with all the earth. I declare your glory. You are worthy of my total praise, and for your worship I live. Let my life be a shining example, pointing the world to you. Splendor and majesty are before you and I find strength and joy in you. Allow me to be your vessel, to show your glory to all the world. You are the God of truth, fill me with your spirit Father, for I am yours. In Jesus’ name, Amen
How often should I pray to develop a prayer habit?
We know we should pray daily, but life get’s busy. We get pre-occupied. We miss our scheduled prayer time and we decide to wait until the next day. Imagine if we treated our children that way. You miss saying good morning before breakfast, so you decide you’ll try again tomorrow. That would never fly for our families, so we shouldn’t follow this code for God.
Building an effective daily prayer routine that takes practice and it’s more about the journey. It’s about determining that the purpose is to build a relationship with God. You decide you want to know him more and then you start speaking to him and getting to know him. When we allow God to be a part of our routines, and speak to him throughout the day, our lifestyles become one of prayer, we pray without ceasing without even realizing it.
Whether you pray in the morning or in the midnight hour, daily communication with God is important to growing closer to him. Our souls long to commune with our Father in heaven. It is essential to our being. Daily prayer is an excellent way to grow your faith and your trust in God.