Improving Your Prayer Life

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"True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that - it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth." - Charles Spurgeon

Have you ever struggled with your prayer life? We all have at some point. Do you ever find yourself saying the same things over and over again in prayer? Often times when your prayers become repetitive it is because you don’t know what else to pray about, and as a result prayer might become boring for you. If prayer becomes boring, it becomes a struggle to take moments out of your day to communicate with God. The less we communicate with God, the more we can feel disconnected to Him.

The problem is not necessarily about praying about the same things because that is normal. The problem is how we are praying about the same things. The danger of praying prayers in repetition without being intentional with God, could result in saying words that don't have any meaning. If you are having issues with prayer, don’t feel discouraged. The problem may not be you, but your method of praying. Let us review some Scripture on contemplative prayer and I will provide a few applications on how you can you use different contemplative prayer methods during your time with the Lord.

1 Corinthians 14:15 ESV
"What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also."

1. Pray with your spirit
The spirit in this verse is not referring to the Holy Spirit, but our personal spirit. The spirit in this verse could also be translated as our inner being. Paul appears to assume that our prayers should come from within our inner being. In other words, he is presupposing that his prayers are developed from his heart.


2. Pray with your mind
In this passage Paul is informing the Corinthian church that his method of prayer is not thoughtless. Prayer should not be in an attempt to empty your mind like the rituals of various new age religions. Prayer should coincide with your spirit and mind. Our prayers to God should be transparent and thoughtful. It is important to pray with your mind in order to discern between your own thoughts and what God is trying to communicate to you.  Praying with your mind will keep your prayers away from any untruthful thoughts that may enter your mind during your time of contemplative prayer. 

Now that we have laid a foundation of praying with your heart and mind, we can move to a few different contemplative prayer methods. These prayer methods will use Scripture as our guide for our prayers. The contemplative prayer methods can be used to help you become more intimate with God in your prayer life. These methods can be particularly helpful when you experience times of dryness in your prayer life.

 

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is a prayer method that means divine reading.

This is a time of reading a specific scripture, listening to what God is telling you, and praying to him. There is a four step process to this type of prayer:

Step 1: Lectio (Reading) - Read the Bible passage gently and slowly three times. Listen to words that keep catching your attention. Maybe God wants you to focus on those words as he wants to tell you something.

Step 2: Meditatio (Meditating on God’s Word) - Reflecting on the text of the passage and thinking about how it applies to your own life.

Step 3: Oratio (Respond) – Respond to the passage by pouring out your heart to God. Tell him how you’re feeling about the verse. Be honest! If you don’t understand, tell him. Just simply tell Him what is on your heart and what the verse makes you think about.

Step 4: Contemplatio (Contemplation) - Listening to God. Open your mind, heart, and soul to what God is trying to say to you in the verse you are focusing on.
 

Praying the Bible

Praying the Bible is the practice of praying to God whatever comes to your mind as a result of reading a specific passage you are meditating on. By praying the Bible you may experience praying a prayer that you have never said before. B praying through the Bible you will find yourself praying more God-centered prayers and you may enjoy praying and reading the Bible more. For an example let’s focus on Psalm 23.

Step 1: Read Psalm 23

Step 2: Go back to verse 1 and pray about what inspires your thoughts to God as you read it. For instance Psalm 23:1 states, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” You may want to ask the Lord to guide you throughout your day because he is the shepherd or pray for the desire to not want anything because he is our full satisfaction. When you run out of thoughts continue to the next verse. You will continue this process until you finish the verse that you are focused on.

Application

Below is a schedule you can start on to assist you in your contemplative prayer time. The list below can be helpful for Lectio Divina or Praying the Bible. After you have finished your time of reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation you may want to jot down in a notebook any experiences or thoughts that particularly impressed you. You may find it helpful to look back at these later. Also feel free to join us for prayer night every Monday at our church.

Day 1: Matthew 5:1-10
Day 2: Matthew 5:13-16
Day 3: 1 John 4:7-11
Day 4: Mark 4:35-41
Day 5: Romans 12:9-12
Day 6: Psalm 23
Day 7: Psalm 13
Day 8: Mark 13:33-37
Day 9: Mark 1:1-8
Day 10: Psalm 46
Day 11: Psalm 63
Day 12: Psalm 73
Day 13: Matthew 4:17-22
Day 14: Matthew 8:23-27
Day 15: Luke 11:1-13
Day 16: Luke 5:1-11  
Day 17: Zechariah 3:1-10
Day 18: Isaiah 43:14-19         
Day 19: Psalm 84
Day 20: Psalm 1
Day 21: Psalm 3
Day 22: Mark 4:35-41
Day 23: Mark 7:31-37
Day 24: Luke 12:22-34
Day 25: Luke 13:10-17
Day 26: John 3:22-4:3
Day 27: John 10:3-14
Day 29: John 15:1-12
Day 30: Romans 8:10-17
Day 31: Romans 12:1-2
Day 32: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Day 33: 1 Corinthians 13
Day 34: 2 Corinthians 12:7-12
Day 35: Ephesians 3:14-21

If you need prayer or have any questions or comments, feel free to send us an email at hello@therebornchurch.com