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Five Practical Prayer Tips from Pastor J.D.

Eliminate distractions

As Paul Miller shares in his book, A Praying Life, prayer can be difficult when you’re surrounded by distractions. To help focus on prayer, try taking a morning walk with no devices to interrupt you. As you walk, consider praying out loud to keep your thoughts focused on your conversation with God.

Another way to eliminate distractions is to keep your prayer time short. As one preacher said, “I don’t often spend more than half an hour in prayer, but I never go more than half an hour without praying.” If you find praying for an extended period of time difficult, set three short times of prayer instead of one long one. Try praying in the morning, after lunch, and before bed.

Take advantage of high-tech (and low-tech) tools

There are a variety of tools that can help you pray more intentionally and consistently.

  • Set a reminder on your calendar to pray for specific needs at specific times.
  • Download a prayer app for your smartphone (such as Echo Prayer, PrayerMate, or Evernote) to stay organized.
  • For a low-tech version of a prayer app, create a set of prayer cards. Start an index card for each person you’re praying for, including that person’s name, prayer requests, and verses of Scripture that you’re believing for that person.

Pray with others

Prayer isn’t just a personal discipline. Praying with others can be both spiritually rewarding and relationally satisfying. Here are a few ways to be intentional when praying with other believers.

  • Pray in the moment with people, don’t just promise to pray for them.
  • Prayer walk your neighborhood, the office, or some part of the city.
  • Pray regularly with your kids – let them hear you pray, use a kids version of ACTS – “Wow, Sorry, Thanks, Please.”
  • Use a prayer companion in your daily time with God.

Practice the HEAR method

The HEAR method is a framework to help you read and respond to Scripture in four simple steps:

  • Highlight something that stood out to you, that resonated, or the Spirit seemed to bring to your attention.
  • Explore—dig into any study notes, context, commentaries, etc. that would help you get at the original meaning.
  • Apply—ask how this truth applies to you today.
  • Respond—figure out how your life must change as a result and pray it back to God.

Above all, just start

Prayer is a muscle that grows as you use it. The more you do it, the more you know how to do it, and the more you desire to do it. Start with five minutes a day if that is all you can handle. Commit to praying every day for a month and see where it goes from there.