Developing a Prayer Life
Prayer is a spiritual matter and we must understand that our flesh is naturally disinclined to do spiritual things. Paul described this dilemma between our flesh and our spirit in one of his epistles, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other” (Galatians 5:17).
The only way to develop a prayer life is simply to pray. It does not sound like a “revelation,” but the real key to a fruitful prayer life is to simply have one. The real men and women of prayer are not those who talk about prayer, nor those who say they believe in prayer, but those who actually pray.
Here are some practical things that helped me start and develop my prayer life.
Make it personal
Prayer should not be a duty that we ought to do, but an activity and a habit that we want to do. This doesn’t happen automatically because, as we’ve discussed, our human nature doesn’t like the things of God. My point, however, is to have a mindset that prayer is not a duty.
Wrong thinking leads to wrong behavior. Right thinking, on the other hand, leads to a right action.
Set a schedule
If we would consider all the things we need to do, we don’t really have time to pray. Our time to pray must be taken from the time we have for something else. We cannot fit God in our schedule, but we can fit our schedule around God.
We don’t have time for everything, but we do have time to obey the Lord today.
Have a place of prayer
If we don’t know where we meet God – a specific location – on a regular basis through prayer, it is most likely that we don’t have a consistent prayer life.
One of the first things Jesus commanded was that there should be a place of prayer. While it is true that the whole earth is the Lord’s and that there is no place where our prayers may not be heard, how Christ went into a “solitary place” to pray tells us that a “place of prayer” is significant in developing a prayer life.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught His disciples, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet” (Matthew 6:6). A prayer closet – a secret place where you meet God – is necessary for us to abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
It is impossible to be in a specific location every time we want to pray. However, having a place of prayer means setting an environment in which we can eliminate distractions, and focusing on God through passionate prayer.
If we would carefully study Jesus’ ministry on earth, we will notice many occasions when He withdrew Himself from the crowd to pray. Before Jesus bravely faced the mob that arrested Him, He was praying with his face on the ground in a solitary place in the Garden of Gethsemane. Prior to the calling of the twelve apostles, He spent an all-night prayer to God on a mountain. He went “into a mountain apart to pray” and was there “alone” before the disciples saw Him walking on the sea in the fourth watch of the night.
I love prayer meetings. I love the atmosphere created when the people of God begin to gather and pray together. But we must remind ourselves that congregational prayer is never enough to sustain our personal relationship with God and to provide power in our ministry.
Pray without ceasing
“Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17) does not mean we must always be mumbling prayers. It means “constantly recurring,” not continuously occurring. Warren Wiersbe made a comment on this verse and said, “We are to keep the receiver off the hook and be in touch with God so that our praying is part of a long conversation that is not broken.”
Our connection with God should not be broken. Our prayers ought not to cease inside our prayer closets, but must be a part of our life – like breath in our lungs – until our life becomes a prayer in itself.
What the world needs today is a church effectively impacting people, leading them to something beyond the things that will vanish away.
We need people who will weep between the porch and the altar until the Spirit invades all flesh. We need true ministry that is touched, enabled and made by God inside a prayer closet.
Every church and ministry must have the right priorities if revival is expected to happen. Too many people are more concerned about the sound system, the temperature inside the sanctuary and the wrong grammar of the preacher than about empty prayer rooms and cobwebbed baptisteries. Let us always remind ourselves that prayer has always been a supreme need in the church.
Raymart was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. As a third-generation apostolic believer, his exposure to the things of God developed a burning desire to be involved in the ministry. Three years ago, his desire moved him to Canada to become an international Bible college student at Northeast Christian College. He is a licensed minister with the Atlantic District of UPCI, the section 2 youth representative of the district, youth pastor of Ripples United Pentecostal Church, and a graduate school student at Urshan Graduate School of Theology pursuing Master of Arts in Christian Ministries (Intercultural Studies).