The 5: Small and simple ways to strengthen your prayer life

Prayer is the most difficult spiritual discipline to develop. One way to grow spiritually this year is to build some simple prayer practices into your life—with the goal of these practices becoming part of your spiritual DNA. Maybe one of these ideas will help you:

1

Pause for 10-minute segments throughout the day for prayer. 
Most of us have brief breaks throughout the day. We need these breaks,
and there’s nothing wrong with just relaxing at times. If you use some of
these breaks for prayer, though, you can pray about a lot when you really focus for a few minutes. It’s not less spiritual to pray several short times rather than one long prayer each day, and even one 10-minute segment may be enough to spark more intimacy in your prayer life.

2

Use the ACTS prayer strategy.
ACTS is a common acronym used to guide prayer. Focus first on praising God in Adoration. Next, Confess your sin to Him. Spend the next moments in Thanksgiving, and then focus on Supplication—that is, on praying for others. This simple strategy can help you concentrate on prayer so your mind doesn’t wander. Another way I use this idea is to focus on only one of these components for a full day (for example, I might praise God all day long on Monday).

3

Use your church bulletin or online calendar of events as a daily prayer guide.
Your church probably provides a printed or electronic list of events happening each week. This list gives you important details such as dates, times, places, etc. Here’s what I encourage you to do with this list: keep it handy and pray for the event on the day it happens.

4

Do drive-by praying.
Pray for churches you pass, focusing on their pastors. Pray for teachers and students in local schools. Intercede for first responders when you drive by a fire station or hear a siren. Whisper a prayer for pedestrians you drive by, even if you don’t know their names. Lift up kids playing in yards or couples taking a walk. Even more intentionally, pray for neighbors you know whose homes you regularly pass.

5

Pray the “model prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13 daily.
I realize praying this prayer starting, “Our Father in heaven” can become repetitive, but Jesus gave us this prayer to guide us. If we truly think about the words we pray, it’s good for us to honor God, seek His will, turn to Him for our daily needs, ask His forgiveness, and cry out for His protection from the evil one. Perhaps this model prayer can be one of your 10-minute emphases today.

Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. For more from Lawless, visit chucklawless.com.

Dean of Doctoral Studies, Vice President of Spiritual Formation and Ministry Centers
Chuck Lawless
Southeastern Seminary
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