10 ways to enhance your prayer life

If your prayers have become like a laundry list, try something a little different, suggests Jenny Baxter

1 Start with worship. Play some uplifting music and respond to Jesus as you worship. This could be through movement or dancing,  or be creative and draw or paint an expression of your heart’s cry.

2 Use your body. Try out different postures for prayer: Kneeling, standing with arms uplifted, bowing before an altar, lying prostrate or sitting in a dark, enclosed area. Which is most helpful in drawing you into God’s presence and enabling you to be real with him?

3 Sit and listen. Sit quietly with a pen and paper. Instead of listing your requests to God, ask him to still your mind and remove your own ideas, or any thoughts not from him. Then speak out the following question: What do you want to tell me about myself today, Lord? Write down thoughts that come to mind. See Psalm 45: 10-11.

4 Begin a prayer journal. Find an attractive book to record your prayers and answers. On the left hand page, record the date and the things you have prayed about. Then use the right hand page to record the date of the answers to your prayers – maybe yes, no, wait or something beyond your expectations. This will be a very encouraging notebook to review.

5 Rewrite a psalm. Personalise a psalm with your name or situation. This can be a life-changing activity.

6 Browse some prayer websites. If you have access to the internet, visit sites such as www.prayerguide.org.uk www.invitationtoprayer.org and www.24-7prayer.com for further ideas and encouragements.

7 Be consistent. Even with a small tribe of children running around, you can maintain a consistent prayer life. It is not easy, but persist and discipline yourself. There is not equipment required and no limitation on time or space, so be creative. Pray when doing the dishes, stopping at traffic lights, when you’re up with the baby or waiting up for teenagers, or when sleep is elusive. God will listen to you at any time.

8. Join with others. Invite your husband to pray with you and pray for each other. Look for opportunities to meet with other Christians or initiate your own group. For many years I met with other believers from my children’s school to pray over school concerns and we saw some amazing answers.

9. Consider fasting. There is amazing power in fasting prayer. Even giving up one meal as a sacrifice of praise can have a significant impact on your life or the lives of others. (If you have diabetes or are on medication, check with your doctor first!)

10. The ultimate challenge. Consider this quote from Phillips Brooks (1835-1893): “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.  Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.”