If you want a book that will wreck your ideas and thoughts about prayer life, “Why Revival Tarries” by Leonard Ravenhill is the one to get. We can all be in different places in our private prayer life, but I do believe the challenge is the same. As in the words of Francis Chan, “My biggest concern for this generation is your inability to focus, especially in prayer.”
Why is the Cinderella of the church today the prayer meeting? Everyone wants to flock to preaching and teaching, or any ministry that will show case talent and skills…but the prayer closet offers no display. The prayer closet allows no showing off. In fact, it is the test of authenticity of our spiritual integrity. It is an important test of whether we are real. Timothy Keller makes this statement, “This is the heart of prayer – not getting things from God, but getting God.” Many will pray out of required cultural or social expectations, but will we pray when nothing on the outside is pressing us too? The place of private prayer is in many ways the measure of who we are spiritually.
No man is greater than his prayer life.~ Leonard Ravenhill
Jesus modeled this for us the best. You find in the New Testament where Jesus desperately desired fellowship with His Father, so he went again and again and prayed alone. From the beginning of His ministry to the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus made the practice of private prayer an essential part of His relationship with the Father. (Matt. 14:23, Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12, Mark 14:32-42). So don’t be discouraged if your prayer life is not where it needs to be. I have found droughts in my own life where I did not desire God the way I should. The solution is quite simple really. The secret of praying is praying in secret (LH). In the following, David Mathis offers five suggestions to help you evaluate and create your own rhythm and prayer life. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!
- Create your closet – Find a regular space to pray. I know we like to tell ourselves, “I’ll just lie in bed and pray…” next thing you know you’re looking at the back of your eyelids! It helps so much if you have a go-to-spot. If you haven’t seen the movie War Room, I highly suggest it. You may even find an actual closet you can clear space from.
- Begin with the Bible – your prayers will be richer and more focused when they are in response to God’s Word. Prayer is a conversation we didn’t start, so it makes sense to jump into the conversation knowing what God is already saying.
- Adore, Confess, Thank, Ask – Adore God with praise for the truth revealed in your reading and meditation of Scripture, confess your own sins, give thanks for His grace and mercy, and ask Him for your requests.
- Divulge your Desires – and Develop Them – Prayer changes our hearts like nothing else. Some prayers in the Bible that helps shape and express our desires towards God (Eph. 1:17-21, Col. 1:9-12, and Phil. 1:9-11).
- Keep it Fresh – Change it up for a new year, new month, or a new season of life. You can write out or journal your prayers, you can take a retreat, or you can even go on a fast.