Do you feel like you don’t know how to pray effectively so maybe some days you don’t pray at all?
Your mind is so busy and there is so much to pray for. We tell that friend “I’ll pray for you.” But do we? Our children deserve focused prayers in so many areas of their lives. Our parents are aging. We have friends going through tough trials. We know we should pray for the victims of the latest natural or manmade disaster.
But often we have our laundry list of hurts, desires, and trials.
You probably know you should pray each day, but do you find it difficult to actually set aside time each day spending time in prayer?
For years, I would pray as I fell asleep each night. That worked while growing up. But now, life seems a little too important to let my prayers be a half-formed thought before falling asleep and nothing more.
How to Pray Effectively to Keep Your Mind on Track
How can we organize all of the thoughts in our heads? Often the advice is to use a prayer journal to write it all down. If blank lines or spaces, is what your brain needs and this works for you, then great.
I’m the kind of person that needs a guide or system to help me with almost everything. That would include prayer. It keeps me accountable.
I’ve tried many systems through the years to figure out how to pray effectively. Below I’ve listed the best ones I’ve used for my prayer life.
I rotate through these since I tend to get bored easily. I don’t think there’s anything wrong in admitting that. God simply wants us to talk to him and have a relationship with us.
Resources on how to pray effectively
1. Prayer Notebook App This app lets you write out your prayers in categories and then set reminders and mark them as answered or you can archive them. You can have your prayers assigned to contacts and planned out to pray for the same people or topics each day of the week or you can skip weekends, for example. You can write out your full prayer or just notes to help remind you who or what to pray for.
2. Beth Moore: Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer This book is laid out with a short one-page devotional then space for you journal your prayers each day. The format for the prayers took me a while to get used to but once I did, it helped me establish going forward how to pray effectively in a written format.
3. Praying for your children. The book Power of a Praying Parent covers multiple topics that cover how to pray effectively for your children. I highlighted the most important and compelling pieces of each prayer (to me, personally) and made it into multiple prayers for my children. I then pray a different prayer for each month on each topic. There is a condensed version of just prayers Praying Parent Book of Prayers and also a Study Guide.
4. Make your own prayer closet. This idea was introduced to me from the Armor Of God Bible Study. However, there is a book and a movie on it as well. The book, Fervent, includes notecards that you can use to write your prayers in each area of your life to enhance the armor of God in your life. Then experiment with making your own prayer closet.
5. Take encouraging bible verses and make them into prayers over your life. I like to use spiral notecards for this. If you buy one that has a plastic cover it will keep for a very long time. Each day you can pray a different verse over your life. For example, if you like verse Ezek.36:26, ”God, thank for giving me a new heart and putting a new spirit within me, you have removed my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh.”
A format for Effective Prayers
Is there a correct way you should format your prayers?
I think the best advice is to just begin. Just like any relationship, the more you nurture it, the stronger it becomes. There are many references in the Bible to emulate. This article explains a lot of them.
However, most commonly, is to follow the format of how Jesus prayed in the Lord’s Prayer. It is broken down here.
More simplified is an acronym that has been around for while is PRAY:
P: Praise God.
R: Repent. Ask for forgiveness.
A: Ask. Ask for the needs of others and yourself.
Y: Yield to God’s will for your life.
After you have figured out how to pray effectively for your own life, you will find a system for yourself. I have a simplified version that keeps me on track. I have made it available to you.
6 Week Challenge to Jump Start your Prayer Life
If you are ready to reignite your prayer life, or if you are still unsure how to pray effectively, then I invite you to join this 6-week prayer challenge. You’ll receive the following:
- A prayer journal every week for 6 weeks, formatted with writing prompts
- Screensaver for your phone each week that corresponds to the bible verse in your weekly journal, enabling bible memorization
- Mid-week check-ins that include a youtube video that corresponds to the bible verse in your journal and screensaver. Use this to enhance your prayer and worship mid-week.