The idea of prayer is mainstream—from movie references to gift shop baubles, the word pray can be found everywhere. As Christians, we know that the Bible tells us that we are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18) and that we are to cast all our worries on God, with thanksgiving (see 1 Peter 5:7). We are instructed, and even commanded, many times in Scripture to pray. If you grew up in a Christian household or school, you were most likely guided through prayers at meals and bedtime. When these structures are no longer in place, it can become easy to lose track of the habit and you might find your prayer life slipping. Read on to contemplate on how to invigorate your own prayer life despite the distraction and busyness of life.
Knowing Where to Begin
One challenge that inhibits people’s prayer lives is that some aren’t sure what to say or where to begin. In Matthew 6:9–13, Jesus gives us an example of how we are to pray through the words of the Lord’s Prayer. When we don’t know what to pray, having these words in our minds gives us the opportunity to offer thanksgiving, supplications, and repentance to God. When praying the Lord’s Prayer, we can dwell on each line and offer up specific details in our prayer. For instance, when praying “give us this day our daily bread,” we can pause and ask God for specific needs, and when praying “forgive us our trespasses,” we can repent of specific sins in our lives. Praying the Lord’s Prayer daily is a great way to include more prayer in your schedule if you’re feeling at a loss for words.
Finding Time to Pray
It can be difficult to find time to pray when a busy schedule replaces the simple, structured prayers of childhood. Prayers at meals and before bed can still become part of your routine if you begin integrating them daily, whether silently, out loud, or with others. If you have a busy schedule, you can pray short prayers throughout the day when something comes to mind or while you’re commuting or brushing your teeth. It can also be valuable to set aside some time each week to pray over specific people and events. If you’re looking for the words to say, you can pray the Lord’s Prayer, one of Luther’s prayers, or echo the words of a psalm. Finding a prayer partner to keep you accountable or journaling your prayers can help integrate some structure into your prayer life.
Pray from the Heart
Although we can always pray the Lord’s Prayer and other prayers that we may know by heart, God gave us the gift of prayer so that we can talk to Him. That means that we can bring our fears, joys, and simple pleasures before God in prayer. Luke 12:7 tells us that God knows even the number of hairs on our heads. God knit us together intentionally and wonderfully in our mothers’ wombs. God cares about all the small details about you and He wants you to pray about whatever—both big and small—is on your heart.
The Power of Prayer
Prayer is much more than something we “should” just do or a healthy spiritual discipline. It is a privilege that we have as God’s beloved creation to be able to speak to Him and offer up praise, repentance, and the needs of ourselves and others in a personal way. Our prayers are not just meaningful words to God—He cares about us individually.
First John 5:14–15 says this about prayer: “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.”
We know that God hears our prayers and He answers them. Therefore, even when prayer begins to slip from our regular routine, it is valuable to contemplate how to integrate prayer into our schedules and to find new habits that keep us focused on the power of prayer. Because Christ died on the cross for our redemption, we are set free to come to God with our sins and rejoice in our Savior through the blessing of prayer.
Lord’s Prayer quotes from LSB © 2006 CPH.
Keep prayers with you—wherever you go for whatever topic you need to bring to the Lord—with a copy of My Prayer Book.