By Shannon Leibold
I squirmed in the pew as the pastor talked about the importance of prayer in the life of a believer. Not that I disagreed with anything he was saying – in fact, I would be quick to shout a hearty “Amen!” with all my Bible-believing, church going friends. The tension came in when I compared my actual prayer life to the vision for prayer he was describing.
I knew I wanted to be a woman of prayer, but my prayers often felt lifeless and stagnant. A few sentences flung heavenward at the end of my quiet time each morning was the norm. And when friends shared difficulties and I quickly assured them I would pray for them, somehow my promise got lost in the busyness of life. I had the best of intentions, both for personal prayer as well as intercession, but my resolve hadn’t become reality.
Yes, I knew I needed some help in the prayer department.
So, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I went to the Lord in prayer and asked Him to help me become a woman of prayer. I thought about some tools that might help me improve my prayer life. I needed a system to guide me through the important aspects of prayer, keep track of prayer requests, and record how God was answering my prayers. So I created a simple prayer journal outlining 5 steps for prayer. Perhaps this too will help you rekindle your prayer life.
Start your prayers by reflecting on who God is. You are praying to the God who breathed out stars, knit you in your mother’s womb, and redeemed your soul through His Son Jesus. Your Creator-Redeemer is worthy of all glory, honour and praise. Our highest calling and greatest purpose is to glorify God. You may want to pick a specific attribute of God to focus on each week, jotting down a verse or two that speaks to that attribute. Perhaps you want to write out a prayer of praise that you repeat each day. God is worthy of our praise, so this is the perfect place to begin. And as we do, our hearts are softened, our thoughts are lifted, and we are transformed.
Thank God for what He has done in your life recently. Take some time to list the ways He has been good to you and your family and then give Him thanks for those things. Focus not only on the big gifts, but also the small graces in your life. A beautiful summer day. An encouraging text from a friend. The spiritual growth you see in your child. Every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17), so acknowledging His blessings in your life brings glory to Him. When our hearts are full of thanksgiving, our lives are full of joy.
Confession is an important step in prayer because unconfessed sin hinders our intimacy with God. Sin is an obstacle to prayer, standing in the way of deep relationship. Instead of running from God when you sin, which is our natural tendency, run straight into the arms of your loving Heavenly Father. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal anything that grieves the heart of God. Confess those things and then receive His mercy and grace.
Surrender prepares our hearts for praying requests that align with the will of God. The spirit of rebellion, independence and control that dominates our fleshly nature causes us to live with close fists around the things we hold dear. Surrender forces us to open our hands before a sovereign and good God, yielding outcomes to Him. In this step of prayer, get your heart in a place where it is no longer seeking your own will. God is faithful and trustworthy, and His thoughts and ways and plans are far better than ours. Daily surrendering our desires, dreams and the people we love to Him is the wisest thing we can do.
We are a needy people. We desperately need God to intervene in our situations with His power and provision. Presenting our requests to the God of the universe is an absolute privilege. He invites us to come boldly to the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace in times of need (Heb. 4:16). We can share our desires with Him and expect Him to respond. Pray for your immediate needs as well as bigger, future needs. We serve a God who is infinitely powerful and creative, and who loves to answer faith-filled prayers. Enter into this time full of faith that your heavenly Father hears and acts.
LISTEN AND LOOK
Prayer is a two-way conversation. We talk to God in prayer, and He speaks to us through His Word, through circumstances and through people. Make space to hear God speak. When we make space for God to speak, He will. Develop a habit of listening for His voice and looking for ways He responds to your prayers. And then because we are a forgetful people, record how He is moving and working in your life. Your future self will be blessed as you read through your prayer journal.
In the weeks and months that followed my simple prayer asking God to make me a woman of prayer, I began to experience forward movement in my prayer life. I was faithfully filling out my prayer journal, then falling to my knees each morning to talk to my Father. I started noticing the ways God was answering my prayers throughout the day, and the more I saw Him respond, the more I wanted to pray about anything and everything. My consistency and confidence in prayer was growing.
I am becoming a woman of prayer.
Prayer is a life-giving conversation with the God of the universe, who eagerly bends down to listen when His children speak. So, let’s not settle for weak and mundane prayers. Let’s keep faithfully stepping towards God, asking Him to transform us into mighty women of prayer!
A Prayer to Rekindle Your Prayer Life
Father God, thank You for the privilege of coming to you in prayer. You are infinitely wise and good. We confess that we have ignored the discipline of prayer, relying instead on our own wisdom and resources. We surrender our lives to your sovereign plan, fully confident that Your ways are far better than our own. We ask that you transform us into mighty women of prayer. Give us eyes to see you today. Amen.
Meet the author
Shannon Leibold believes the greatest story ever told is the one found on the pages of Scripture. Captivated by God’s grand narrative of relentless redemption, she spends most of her free time immersed in the Bible, both as a student and teacher and curriculum developer. She is passionate about helping women find their way around the Bible and inspiring them to develop a deep hunger for God through His Word. She makes a home with her husband Kris and two teenage children in Ontario, Canada. She’s the one frantically taking notes through every sermon, playing podcasts during every mundane task, and devouring every book that sparks her interest.