Four Tips on How to Develop a Consistent Prayer Life
Prayer is one of the most important parts of a Christian’s faith. It’s a direct connection to God. It can (and should) be used daily. One of the biggest questions I hear from Christians today is how to develop a consistent prayer life.
Developing a consistent prayer life doesn’t just happen by chance. You have to put in the time and effort to create a consistent prayer life. There are also strategies you can use to make your prayer time more successful. Here are four strategies that I’ve used to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.
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Read The Word of God to Develop a Consistent Prayer Life
One of the best ways to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life is to read the Bible. You can’t know what to say to God without hearing first what He says.
There are many scriptures about reading the Word of God too. One of my favorite scriptures for reading the Bible is Psalms 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (NLT) I love it because it explains exactly what to do with scripture, to use it as a guide for our daily lives. Here are some ways to help you learn to read the Word of God consistently.
Find a Reading Plan or Devotional You Enjoy
Reading the Bible should be a joy for Christians! It shouldn’t be boring or dull. And it shouldn’t come out of a sense of duty.
The church I grew up in emphasized daily Bible reading. During Sunday School classes, while taking attendance they would also count everyone who was a “daily bible reader” for the past week. This was a good practice to encourage consistent Bible reading.
But as a kid, I missed the point of this practice. I was focused on either raising my hand proudly when I read the Bible every day. Or on the flip side, I was beating myself up inside for missing a day of Bible reading. I wasn’t using this practice to spend time with God. Instead, I was focused on “winning” by raising my hand on Sunday morning.
As I’ve grown up, one way I’ve learned how to develop a consistent prayer life is by finding Bible reading plans that I ENJOY reading each day! I do much better at reading the Bible when I like it and look forward to it.
My Favorite Way to Read the Bible
My favorite way to read the Bible every day is through the Bible App reading plans. I didn’t discover these plans until a few years ago, and I wish I had learned about them sooner. They are a great way to enjoy reading the Bible.
Each plan has a short devotional and scripture passages to go with it. You can find a plan on just about any topic. And they also come in different lengths of time. Some are only 3-5 days long, while others can last up to a year!
Read The Bible Consistently to Strengthen Your Prayer Life
Another way to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life is through reading the Bible consistently. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” You can’t grow your faith without hearing the Good News. And what is the Good News? It’s the Word of God, which is the Bible.
That’s why it’s so important to read the Bible consistently. It helps to grow your faith in Christ. Children can’t learn from their parents if they never listen to them. It’s the same way for us to learn what God wants us to learn in this lifetime. This is what my childhood church was trying to do with tallying daily Bible readers. Unfortunately, I missed the point until many years later.
Another cool feature of the Bible App is the reminders tool! Years ago, I set up a reminder for the Verse of the Day. Each day, the Bible App puts out a verse of the day for all of its subscribers. It will show up on their “Home” feed each morning. I set my reminder for 6:50 a.m. so that every morning the Verse of the Day shows up as an alert on my phone. Pretty cool!
There are also reminders for their reading plans. So, whenever I start a reading plan, it will set up a daily reminder for every day the plan lasts. You can customize your alert time to the best time of day for you. Since morning is my favorite time to pray and read the Bible, I set my alerts for when I wake up. Just pick the best time that works for you to read the Bible consistently.
Speak Verses into Your Prayers
Another way to spend time in the Word of God is to speak scripture into your prayers. This will also help you learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.
Several scriptures are good models for HOW to pray. The Lord’s Prayer is probably the best-known example of these models. “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13 NLT)
Setting up your prayers like this is a great way to go to God. There are other prayer examples throughout scripture. A lot of them focus on specific needs that the author had at the time. These can also be used as a model for our prayers.
Even Jesus Gave Prayers of Thanksgiving
Another prayer Christ prayed was of thanksgiving in John 11. “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here so that they will believe You sent me.” He began by thanking God and continued with why he was doing it. Christ wanted those around Him to hear that He was God’s son. So we can clearly use this prayer as a model for our own.
Praying these model prayers is great, but you don’t have to limit your prayers to only these types of scriptures. You can take any passage from the Bible and weave it into your own prayers. The Psalms are great to speak in your prayers. Many of them are prayers written down as poetry. They were also put to music and sung out loud. Either way, spending time in scripture will help you learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.
Develop a Consistent Prayer Life By Being Authentic and Humble
Another way to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life is by being authentic when you pray. You can do this by being humble when you come before God. Letting Him know the real you is one of the keys to effective prayer in your life.
Praise God and Thank Him for Your Blessings
I mentioned the Lord’s Prayer as an example for us to follow when we pray. In it are three key steps that will show how to pray. Using these three steps consistently will help you learn how to develop a consistent prayer life, too.
Praise is an awesome way to begin your prayers! It is a form of worship. God loves to hear your praises to Him. I know sometimes we may forget to begin our prayers this way. Especially when we have a serious need. Even though He knows you are praising Him, He still enjoys hearing it.
Praise Shows Humility in Prayer
Praising God is a way to show our humbleness. Knowing that we are talking to the God of the universe, and telling him out loud is a great way to practice humility in our prayers.
Earlier in this post, I talked about the book of Psalms. It’s amazing how much of this book are prayers written down put to music. Many of our modern worship songs come from these ancient prayers.
Psalm 8 begins with, “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens!” Verse 1 is the beginning of a prayer completely devoted to praising God. Next, David goes on to describe God as well as his human brain can put together the words.
Praise and Thanks Go Together
Another way to begin your prayers with praise is by thanking God. You can thank Him for a new day, for the beautiful weather, or whatever you like! God is in and around everything, so thanking him for a safe ride to work is also a wonderful way to show your praise.
Don’t be afraid to be specific with your praise and thanks. God enjoys hearing from you! Praising God will also help you learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.
Tell Him What You Need
Another important part of your prayers is telling God what you need. Bringing your needs to Him is another way to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.
The Lord’s Prayer also includes asking for what you need from God. In the middle of the prayer, it mentions “give us today the food we need….” This example was meant to show us that God wants to hear our needs. He wants to know our anxieties and cares. Not only does He want to know them, but He also wants to carry them for us!
Many of the apostle Paul’s prayers concern the needs of himself and other Christians. He prays for their strength in times of trial. In his letter to Ephesians, chapter 3, Paul writes, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:16 NLT)
Even though most of Paul’s prayers are for the needs of others, he does pray for his own needs at times. And he asks other believers to pray for him too. “Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:30) Paul knew the power of bringing your needs to God in prayer. The many examples of his prayers will show you how to develop a consistent prayer life.
Ask for Forgiveness When You Pray
The last element of the Lord’s Prayer involves sin. As Christians, we are forgiven from our sins. They are covered in the blood of Christ. But, as people, we will continue to sin. We will mess up and make mistakes. Even though we are already forgiven, we should continue to ask for it every time we sin. Confessing our sings to God shows our humility. It’s also another way to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.
I once had someone tell me that they couldn’t think of any sins they had committed. They lived alone, and rarely interacted with other people. Since many of our sins involve our thoughts and actions towards others, this person really believed they didn’t sin very often.
My question for that is this: Is thinking you haven’t sinned a sin? Are you thinking of yourself as on the level of God? We should be trying every day to be as blameless as Christ. But until we get to heaven, we aren’t there yet.
Don’t Forget to Forgive Other People
Another part of forgiveness is our ability to forgive other people. People are going to hurt you. They will disappoint you and treat you badly. Even so, we are called to forgive them anyway. We can’t be fully blameless in front of God if we still hold grudges against our brothers and sisters.
This one is HARD for me! I’m awful at holding grudges. I’ve had to pray over and over again before actually forgiving someone, even from a minor insult. It’s still a struggle, but by learning how to develop a consistent prayer life, I’ve been (slowly) forgiving people who’ve done me wrong.
Set Aside Time Every Day to Develop a Consistent Prayer Life
The only way to be consistent in something is by developing a habit. One way to develop a good habit is by doing the same thing over and over again for at least 3 weeks. This is also true in learning how to develop a consistent prayer life. Making a daily habit of prayer is essential if you want to learn the habit!
Schedule Time With God
Keeping a schedule is good for several different reasons. It gives you consistency in your days. Writing out your schedule can also help you stay on task. Another benefit is scheduling helps you build a habit.
A few years back, I was struggling emotionally. I had been through some health issues, work was stressful, and life was just hard.
One winter morning, my school was having a snow day. I had time to relax in the morning, so I spent some time reading my Bible and in prayer. That day I noticed something was different. I felt more optimistic and hopeful. Buti couldn’t figure out what it was.
It was the next morning before I realized that my Bible reading and prayer time has been the key. That’s when I decided to begin each day with God. Reading my Bible is of course important. But prayer is essential for my walk with Christ. Plus it’s amazingly helpful for my mental health too!
Mornings might not work for you, and that’s okay. The point is, scheduling time with God is important in order to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.
Deepen Your Prayer Life by Removing Distractions
When you’re setting up your prayer time, it’s important to close out all distractions. This includes the TV, your phone, and even your family’s conversations. You need to find somewhere quiet, where you can focus. And if you focus, you can use this focus on how to develop a consistent prayer life.
Most days, I get up earlier than the rest of my family. This gives me the space to get this distraction-free time. I start my coffee, open my Bible App, and start reading the devotional for the day. After reading the scripture, I spend several minutes in prayer.
The Phone is My Biggest Distraction
During this prayer time, I lock my phone and turn the screen over. I do this because my phone is a major distraction for me. The devil knows it and he will use it to derail my connection with God. I don’t think it’s any accident that the urge to check my phone gets stronger when I begin to pray. Locking it, and putting the screen face down gets it out of my sight, and helps me to remain focused.
When I first started a prayer list, I used to keep it on my phone. That made it easy to access. But, I would find myself opening social media when I was supposed to be praying! So frustrating!!! So removing my phone helps reduce my distractions.
Some days my husband goes into his office for work, but he often works from home now. These days, I have to get a little more creative with my prayer time. I might decide to stay in bed while I talk to God. Or I go out on the porch and enjoy nature while I pray. Whatever way I pray, I have to remove distractions!
Learn How to Develop a Consistent Prayer Life by Writing Them Down
In the last section, I talked about how having my prayer list on my phone was a distraction for me. The draw of the phone was too much for me. But, in order to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life, I need to write out my prayers. So I’ve had to find a way to write them out without distracting from my original goal of living a prayerful life.
Strengthen Your Prayer Life by Creating a Prayer List
If I’m being honest, when I pray without a plan, my prayers are pretty generic. “God, please bless my kids and my family. Keep them safe. Help people who are sick…. Yada yada ya…” Have you ever felt your prayer life getting like that? If so, then you NEED to create a prayer list! It’s one of the best ways to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.
After I tried to use my phone for my prayer list, (and failed), I had to look at other options. I thought about sticky notes, but I hate having those all around the house! They are extremely helpful, but putting my prayer list on a sticky note is just asking for problems. I can just see myself with prayer lists all over the house. The clutter will drive me over the edge LOL!
Here’s the Awesome Planner I Use!
Last year I bought a Living Well Planner from the Living Well Spending Less website. This website was created by Ruth Soukup, and it has some awesome tools for organizing your life! In fact, if you click here, you can get $5 off a planner of your own.
One of my favorite pages from each month is the “Thoughts and Thanks” page. This page is found at the end of every month. It gives you space for writing out your thanks and gratitude for that month. So I decided to use one of these pages for my prayer list.
How I Use This Page for My Prayer List
I started out by writing my long-term prayer needs first. These are people or needs that are always on my list. The bottom of the list has more temporary needs on it. I’m often crossing out and adding to this part. It all depends on prayers answered and the current needs I’m bringing to God.
Writing out my prayer list has helped me develop persistence and consistency in prayer. I’m more engaged in my prayer time, which brings me closer to God. It helps me trust Him and follow His calling for my life.
Schedule Your Prayer Needs to Improve Your Prayer Life
When I first started writing out my prayer list, I simply wrote everything out on a page in my Living Well Planner. But after a while, I noticed my prayers were becoming generic again. So I had to change it up to have a stronger prayer life.
Something else I have started doing as I’m learning how to develop a consistent prayer life is to schedule my prayers. This scheduling helps me pray more deeply for the needs on my list.
Scheduling your prayer needs may sound a little weird, but let me explain how it works for me. First, I have a section for my everyday prayer needs. This section includes my immediate and extended family. I’ve also added some other important topics like reaching the lost for Jesus. Every day, I pray for the items in this part of the list.
How I Schedule My Prayers Each Week
After that, I made a section for each day of the week (Sunday through Saturday). In these sections, I’ve added specific prayer requests to bring to God each day. I like to plan these prayer needs as they fall throughout the week.
Sunday’s prayers revolve around my church family. Monday I spend most of my prayer time on school and work-related topics. For Tuesday-Thursday I add in some needs that don’t fit into a particular day. Friday and Saturday, my prayers are focused on weekend projects and this blog.
“Scheduling” my prayers might sound a little crazy, but it works really well for me! I do best with a plan, which includes a prayer plan. Plus, I can customize my plan for current needs. My pray schedule looks really messy! I’ve added prayers into the margins as they come up. I have also scratched out the needs that were answered. These are just a few of the reasons that scheduling my prayers has helped me learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.
If you’d like a copy of my weekly prayer schedule, click the link below the picture to download it!
Pray Throughout The Day
Beginning my day with God has made a huge difference in my life! It’s incredible to feel the change in my outlook on life praying every day has made. I’m grateful that God showed me how to develop a strong prayer life with Him.
Just because I start my day in prayer, that doesn’t mean I’m finished with God for the day. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Never stop praying.” So we should all be continuing to bring things before Him all day long. Giving God all our worries, all the time, is the best way to learn how to develop a consistent prayer life.