Have you ever watched sci-fi or fantasy movies like ‘Lord of the Rings’ or ‘Star Wars’ and thought to yourself, “you know if they actually used their power right now this whole situation would become a lot less dire for them!”? They have power at their fingertips, and it seems as if using their power is an afterthought or a last option.
Well, here is the thing, we do the same thing! All the time! God has promised us His power and the way for us to access it is through prayer, and yet prayer many times is our last option. Or, when we do pray, it is for things for ourselves. Things that do not align with the will of God. So how can we have better rhythms of prayer in our lives every day?
Set up Rhythms of Prayers through Reminders
There are two crucial things when it comes to prayer: when to pray and what to pray. Often times those are the two things I never do well. I either do not pray during the time I have set aside for it, or I do not pray enough during those times. Setting reminders has been a game changer for me. One of my goals has been to pray for an hour a day. That is not something I do well within one sitting, but when I break it up throughout the day, I am able to accomplish that goal. Prayer is a time when we are in the presence of God, and there is no reason to rush it.
Here are some helpful tools for you to do that better: Set alarms throughout the day to remind you to pray. Make them an hour apart to a few times a day. Set those alarms at times that correspond to key verses you would like to pray, such as Luke 10:02. At 10:02 a.m. pray that verse. Setting alarms during the day has helped me be more intentional in prayer. When I am more intentional in prayer throughout my day, I accomplish much more than when I am not in prayer during my day.
Set up Rhythms of Prayers through Calendars
Create a Prayer Calendar to be in control of your prayers. Often when we pray, we pray for so little of what God actually calls us to pray for in Scripture. Do you pray for the nations regularly? Do you pray for laborers of the harvest? Do you pray that God will give you a burden for the lost? Having a calendar allows us to be in control of what we are praying for, instead of only praying through the huge prayer list from church. Often times when that happens, we might feel like our prayers are weak and devoid of actual content. When we have a calendar it allows each day of the month to have different prayer points and it gives you opportunities to pray for more, instead of cramming it all into one day. It also helps you to gain better control of what you are praying.
Set up Rhythms of Prayers through Groups
Have a time throughout the month that you meet with others to pray! Either 1-hour a week or 1-hour a month. Get together in a small group and begin praying for your city, for the nations, for the Gospel to be saturated in your area THROUGH YOU and YOUR CHURCH! Find a missionary and connect with them once a month to either pray with them via video chat or have them give you specific prayer items and pray for them once a month. This is a great idea for Sunday School classes. Group prayer has been so good for me! I love the time with others when we are lifting prayers to the Father and just remaining in his presence together! This will help you in your discipline to pray, your passion to pray and your growth in prayer. Let the prayers of others inform you how to pray better in your own time.
Set up Rhythms of Prayers through Pauses
Life is busy and chaotic, and that is why it is so important for us to have rest. Have you ever gone out on a Saturday for a few hours and stayed completely silent? Only left with your thoughts, an open Bible, and a journal? When I trained with the IMB we took about five hours one day and did just that. No one in the compound said a word. We were all taking that silent time to be in the Word, to pray, and to hear from God. It was refreshing. God did not speak to me that day, but I learned that simply sitting in His presence was well worth it. Sometimes a rhythm of pause like that is just what we need.
We need to understand this—the true power in our prayer life is finding true rest and satisfaction in Jesus. John Piper says that the supreme way we give glory to God is by being in satisfied in Him alone. God does answer prayer, but what if our prayer life was more about being satisfied in Him alone? I believe then our prayers would reflect more of God’s will and desire than ours. As James said, ‘we do not have because we ask wrongly.’ (James 3:3) That means the power is not in the answer, but in aligning our ask with the desires of God’s heart! Being satisfied in him alone! “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)