I think we have all been in that place where we say we will pray for someone who is struggling, or we say “today” I will spend 30 minutes in uninterrupted prayer. It is all too easy in today’s standard hustle and bustle lifestyle to get distracted, forget and put off this important aspect of our relationship with Christ. Oftentimes, I will try to think about what my life would look like if I didn’t have a computer, television or a phone to occupy my time. It is difficult to imagine, but if I were in that time, I believe it would be easier to shut off any distractions and focus on reading, conversations, journaling and, especially, prayer. That is not the world we live in today. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to shut yourself off from the world and the distractions that come with it. There will always be something that distracts us. In order to have a successful prayer life, we need to learn how to make the most of the time with God in prayer.
I have struggled with my prayer life because I get distracted easily and I have many things going on which makes it difficult to set aside time where I can simply be with God. These are the pointers I have learned and put into practice, because I needed to. I wanted to make prayer a priority in my life, and these pointers have allowed me to improve my time in prayer. And I believe they can help you too.
- Get rid of the distractions: This will require a lot of effort. Get away from a tv or computer, leave your phone behind and get to a place where you can shut the door and ensure there won’t be a distraction. It is not easy, but prayer is warfare. There are evil forces around who would love for you to be distracted. I don’t believe in giving satan more credit than he deserves, but he is a master manipulator and deceiver and he works hard to weasel his way into our lives, especially when it is something that draws us closer to God. Don’t be surprised if distractions find their way into your time with God. Power through and work hard at maintaining your focus. It will take work, but the reward is a better prayer life and a more intimate relationship with Christ. It is worth it, so work hard at it!
- Prepare yourself: Mentally, spiritually, physically, prepare yourself prior to the time you spend in focused prayer. Mentally, you can prepare yourself by setting aside time each day, at the same time, where you know what this time frame will include. Spiritually, you can write down items you need to pray for prior to the start of your prayer time as well as asking God to be speaking to you throughout the day and to prepare you for that time. Physically, you can prepare yourself by getting rid of those distractions and doing things in prayer that make it easier for you to enter in. Some people like to lay on their face. Others stand in a corner. And still others would rather walk around and get excited and animated. Whatever you do in this time is right as long as it helps you focus on your prayer time and allows you to open yourself up to what God has for you.
- Have a plan and direction: Yes, there are times where you go before the Lord and spill your heart out by sharing the amazing things happening in your life or the awful things taking place. God wants us to come to Him regardless of what is happening. We need to be thankful in the great times and humble in the tough times. He is our comforter and He is our joy. But, coming to God with a list of people, topics and things to pray for during your prayer time is great because it allows you to be an intercessor for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Having a plan is great, and deviating from the plan because of the promptness of the Holy Spirit is great as well. There are many people in need who we need to partner in prayer with. Have a list and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you in your time in prayer with Him.
Your prayers matter. It matters to God and it matters to the people you are praying for. You can change the world with prayer. One of the beautiful things about God is that we can talk to Him and pray constantly, which we are called to do in Scripture (1 These. 5:17). But setting aside the time to be one on one with Him in prayer enables us to pray intently and specifically, as well as allow God to speak to us directly. God is worth your time. He earned it and He desires it from us. Go further and deeper in your relationship with Him, a great place to start is the focused prayer time where we can be an intercessor for people, as well as a son and daughter giving their time and attention to their Father. God is faithful and will always come through for you. Take the time to be intentional with what you can offer back to Him.