With final exam week upon us, you may find yourself casting up a few extra prayers in the coming days. But if I asked you, “How’s your prayer life,” how would you respond? Most of us would admit that we need help in the area of prayer. It is one of the most difficult of the spiritual disciplines to apply, usually because no one has ever shown us how to do it. Some of the examples that we’ve seen demonstrated may have been from a guy in the church who used fancy words and sounded pious. Or maybe we’ve only heard very ritualistic prayers being prayed directly from a book, which sounded heartless and not genuine. But God doesn’t want us to pray in order to impress other people (Matthew 6:5), and He doesn’t want us just using a bunch of words that we don’t mean (Matthew 6:7). Instead, Jesus gives us instruction to get alone with God and be honest with Him when we pray (Matthew 6:6). When it’s just you and God, you know that there’s nothing to hide. It’s not that God is against praying with other people (there are examples of this in Scripture), but our prayer life should begin with our own quiet time with God.
So what does that practically look like? I read an article a few days ago that addressed this issue, and gives us some helpful ways to strengthen our prayer life. The article was titled, “Prayer for Beginners,” which is probably appropriate because most Christians would not consider themselves to be anywhere close to an expert on prayer. I would encourage you to read the entire article here, and then spend some time putting some of his suggestions into practice! I hope that it will be a help to you this week.